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New Cleveland hotline wants to pair job seekers with employers

Residents can begin calling 216-399-3550 on April 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

CLEVELAND — Operators are standing by for job seekers, as a new partnership of community organizations has developed a new neighborhood career hotline. The goal is to link people looking for work with employers looking to hire — and employers want to hear from you regardless of your experience or education.

Ronnie Cannon works with Towards Employment, a nonprofit that helps the underserved find jobs. Together with community groups MidTown Cleveland, Burten Bell Carr and Metro West, they've created a neighborhood career hotline: a sort of one stop shop to give residents from eight emerging neighborhoods the tools to get living wage jobs.

"There's lots of different ways to get support, to pay for the tuition to pay for things like childcare assistance, transportation assistance, all these resources are out there," Cannon said. "But it can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate."

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Using the hotline, job seekers 18 and older, including those who've been through the penal system, will be paired with a counselor to explore career options, and help find jobs. Counselors are looking to help fill jobs particularly in the tech, healthcare and manufacturing sectors, which are in need such need of workers that many employers are paying for training. But residents can also learn the soft skills needed to get them in front of any employer.

Cannon says the hotline and its counselors offer a bunch of different resources, including "helping individuals to say update their resumes; we do a lot of interviewing practice, or something as simple as the ability to fill out an application correctly."

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The project is being bankrolled by the Fund For Our Economic Future, a public private partnership that focuses on advancing economic growth in Northeast Ohio. In this case, the emphasis is on Black and Latino residents from economically disadvantaged areas, which is why there is also an option for Spanish-speaking residents. It's also important to note that no job seekers from any neighborhood will be turned away.

Job seekers can start calling the hotline Thursday, April 1 at 216-399-3550. Operators will be answering calls between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. There's also a virtual kickoff event on the same day at 6 p.m. You can register for the event here.

"We all must play a role in getting Cleveland back up and running because the pandemic has really impacted our livelihood," Cannon said. "And our way of giving back is helping residents."