Community Health and Partnerships offers resources and programs that support health and wellness, and empower our youth to become the next generation of healthcare workers in Northeast Ohio.
Education and workforce development are vital to the success of students, while also promoting collective growth and sustainability within communities. These levers are essential for reducing barriers, combating structural racism (which has been identified as a public health concern) and addressing the worker shortages we are facing in the field of healthcare.
Our programs provide a wide range of authentic learning experiences at Cleveland Clinic facilities, in schools and virtually. Although the COVID-19 pandemic continued to restrict opportunities for on-site activities in 2021, we successfully continued to provide engaging programming through virtual experiences.
Youth education programs
Hiring locally is one of our goals, and we are intentional about who we recruit and develop. Our “Hire” strategy is a workforce pipeline that includes career exploration for local middle school students and internships for high school students.
Connected Career Rounds
In 2021, Cleveland Clinic Community Heath and Partnerships offered Connected Career Rounds (CCR), a free program that enabled students to virtually join a team of caregivers to learn about how they coordinate to provide patient care. The CCR program engages students in middle school and high school in virtual explorations of healthcare careers through the lens of topical health issues. One goal of CCR is to increase awareness of careers within groups currently underrepresented in medicine.
CCR sessions cover a variety of health topics and featured professions, highlighting the diversity of caregiver career paths and the ways in which each caregiver contributes to care in their unique role. The sessions have focused on in-demand and entry-level careers, including phlebotomy, paramedic and surgical and radiologic technologists. Students, teachers and educators could access an on-demand library of recording throughout the year to explore different healthcare careers and today’s most challenging healthcare issues.
In 2020, Cleveland Clinic Community Health piloted a unique program for local high school seniors interested in healthcare careers, which it continued in 2021. With a specific focus on partnering with neighboring communities and school districts surrounding Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital, the Student Pathways Program provides high school seniors the opportunity to take the first step in their career — before graduation.
Each participant in the Student Pathways Program had the opportunity to meet key hospital personnel and access learnings to help prepare them for a strong future in healthcare. Virtual learning offerings included maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing school and work/life balance, career exploration and the employment application process. In addition, each student completed a virtual shadowing opportunity prior to being paired with a Cleveland Clinic caregiver who served as a mentor throughout the program.
The program offers three paths to students: direct-to-employment, certification and Associate degree. Direct-to-employment students will begin applying for jobs at Cleveland Clinic after completing the Student Pathways Program and high school graduation. Certification path students will begin applying for jobs once they have nearly completed their training program and have met any additional job requirements. Lastly, students in an associate degree role will begin applying for jobs within our organization once they near completion of their studies.
Cleveland Clinic Community Health and Partnerships offers two annual paid summer internship programs to provide workforce readiness and career preparedness, increase employability and assist with the transition to college and/or employment. The Cleveland Clinic Louis Stokes and Science Summer Internship Programs both give Northeast Ohio high school students the opportunity to learn and work alongside world-renowned caregivers at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, regional hospitals and family health centers. Post high school and/or college graduation, participants in our programs have advanced to the world of work, higher education and/or have been hired as caregivers in clinical and non-clinical roles at Cleveland Clinic. Several have been accepted to and have graduated from Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine, and many have published and presented research with their Cleveland Clinic mentors.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we used the virtual platform we developed in 2020 once more in 2021, which allowed us to continue providing relevant programming and beneficial educational opportunities to our student participants.
Through this virtual summer experience program, students were able to:
- Gain exposure to healthcare fields and careers.
- Manage learning opportunities and responsibilities.
- Establish or continue mentoring relationships.
- Network with Cleveland Clinic caregivers.
- Refine various skills, such as project management, academic writing, presentation and professional communication skills.
The 2021 programs enabled students to cultivate their 21st century skill set through virtual learning opportunities and real-world applications for their academic knowledge. They also gained experience and learned about a variety of topics, including health and wellness, the arts, innovation, financial literacy and more.
As an anchor institution, we strive to improve community health and well-being by leveraging all of our available resources to provide an equitable, local economic impact. We expand our reach by partnering with trusted community organizations that share our commitment to creating a healthier community for everyone through our hire, heal and invest priorities.
Community partnerships & event sponsorship
Cleveland Clinic’s community outreach efforts, collaborations and sponsorships have included on-the-ground programs, health screenings and navigation, health and wellness education sessions, hands-on community service experiences and funding investments for requested programs, activities and events. While the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt many events and opportunities in 2021, these alliances typically involve and support over 250 community partners, non-profits, community resource centers and other organizations where Cleveland Clinic has a presence each year.
We connect with communities and residents through a variety of neighborhood-based partners and social organizations, schools, houses of worship and other sites to consistently engage in discussions about local health needs. We then create action plans to connect individuals of all ages with the medical, social and economic resources that empower them to transform their own health and well-being, as well as that of their communities. This is standard throughout all Cleveland Clinic locations.
Essential elements for investment include providing community education for people of all ages, enhancing economic vitality and supporting workforce development. With the ongoing evolution of health care and services, focus has been shifting from “sick” care to “health” care. As such, the health of a community is not determined solely on physical well-being, but on all the factors that go into the experience of living, working and thriving. Cleveland Clinic is committed to working with individuals and organizations that understand this reality, and we consider the ways in which requests address social and environmental determinants of health.
Community Service Time Off (CSTO)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cleveland Clinic placed its Caregiver Community Service Time Off program (CSTO) on hold in 2020 and 2021. Launched in 2019, the CSTO program gives caregivers a one-time opportunity each year to use up to four paid hours to provide service at an approved community partner organization. We provide caregivers a directory on our intranet that includes approved community partners and events in Akron, Cleveland, Dover, Florida, Las Vegas, Lorain, Medina, Toronto and Wooster.
Cleveland Clinic has a long-standing history of caring for our communities by supporting efforts to:
- Improve personal and community health and well-being.
- Expand educational and workforce development opportunities.
- Invest and participate in economic development initiatives.
Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI)
In many cities like Cleveland, anchor institutions have surpassed traditional manufacturing corporations to become their region’s leading employers. Cleveland Clinic is currently Ohio’s largest employer and recognizes the important role it plays as an anchor institution in the local economy. Through the Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI), Cleveland Clinic works in collaboration with other local anchor institutions to create “jobs, income and ownership opportunities” for all Greater University Circle residents.
The GUCI was created in 2005 when the Cleveland Foundation convened the leaders of key anchor institutions—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University—as well as the City of Cleveland and other partners to addresses the specific challenges of some of Cleveland’s most disinvested neighborhoods—Hough, Glenville, Fairfax, Central, Buckeye-Shaker, Little Italy and East Cleveland.
The leaders set four goals for the GUCI: buying local, hiring local, living local, and connecting people, neighborhoods and institutions in a vital network.
Successes since the inception of the GUCI include:
- An evolving local procurement program to funnel purchasing power to local businesses.
- The creation of the Evergreen Cooperatives (three employee-owned businesses that aim to create wealth in GUCI neighborhoods).
- Workforce training programs.
- A Greater Circle Living employer-assisted housing program.
- A comprehensive community engagement strategy emphasizing the power of networks.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars in new real estate development that have boosted the area’s commercial and residential base.
Local and diverse spending
Cleveland Clinic remains focused on supporting our local communities by sourcing products and services from diverse and local suppliers. Since 2010, we have spent approximately $1.3 billion on products and services from certified diverse suppliers.
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact hospitals and healthcare systems around the country in 2021, including ours. The pandemic continued to slow down many large and small strategic projects, with over 200 capital construction projects suspended or deferred in 2020 and 2021. As a result, we reduced our 2021 capital spend by 60% while adjusting where we focused the remaining funds. This had an impact on many of the businesses—including diverse businesses—that we use for goods and services.
Despite the reduction in spend, we proactively created opportunities to help diverse businesses grow with the goal that they emerge stronger from the pandemic. This included expanding our Mentor-Protégé program and creating education opportunities focused on enhancing business leaders’ operational, financial, technological and human resources knowledge and skills, as well as providing skill growth and networking opportunities. At the end of 2021, we announced several capital expansion projects that will total $1.3B over the next five years. We have already started to engage diverse suppliers regarding these and other projects.
In 2020, Cleveland Clinic increased its focus on our communities by joining the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN), a national collaboration of 70+ leading healthcare systems who recognize that economic disparity, racial inequity and persistent poverty are not just moral problems, but issues that must be addressed as part of healthcare’s mission. This commitment, in partnership with Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, will see our annual diverse spend double from $80 million to $160 million by 2025 as part of an overall goal of $1 billion in spending with diverse businesses. In addition to increasing our diverse spend, the five-year pledge includes:
- Focusing our collective intelligence to rebuild a more resilient supply chain in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Addressing socio-economic and racial inequities to improve health outcomes via industry collaboration and leveraging institutional assets.
- Creating industry change as an established network of institutions.
- Investing in the communities we serve through local hiring, local spend and community investments.
Through our Supplier Diversity Strategy, we focus on increasing procurement spend with businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, individuals identifying as LGBTQ and/or are Historically Under-utilized Business Zone (HUBZone) certified. Elements of our strategy include:
- Identifying and sharing procurement opportunities with diverse businesses across the enterprise (including Tier II opportunities with our contracted vendors).
- Providing mentorship and learning resources to diverse suppliers to support the continued growth and development of their businesses.
- Collaborating with professional organizations and leadership at the local, state and national levels to create a network and targeted programming that supports diverse businesses.
Learn more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives.