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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND WORKS INC.

CLEVELAND WORKS INC.

CLEVELAND WORKS INC., located at 812 Huron Rd., is a comprehensive training program to prepare welfare recipients for permanent employment. The organization began as Ohio Works, established in 1984 as a division of America Works, Inc., of Boston--a for-profit company with the goal of placing jobless poor in full-time jobs. When the State of Ohio refused to continue funding Ohio Works in 1986, citing its high per-person placement cost, Cleveland Works was immediately organized as a nonprofit agency under local control to continue the work. In 1994 the agency, under Executive Director David B. Roth, received about $2 million a year from Cuyahoga County and private foundations and corporations to offer education, job training, and work-related expenses to its clients, who must be heads of households on welfare and have minimum skills for the job they seek. Under the concentrated program, which costs about $4,500 per person, clients are enrolled in a job-readiness workshop, as well as 4 other classes where they improve their English, math, and basic job skills; attendance is mandatory. The agency also provides them with child care, health care, counseling, legal services, and clothing and transportation allowances. After completing the program, clients are sent out on job interviews. Cleveland Works prods its employers to pay decent wages and provide adequate health benefits; in return employers receive a temporary worker paid by the agency, who they evaluate before offering a full-time job. A program counselor monitors the employment to resolve any problems that arise. According to a 1990 study, about 75% of its placements were still working after one year. By 1992 Cleveland Works had placed more that 1,800 clients with 400 companies.