With a mission to lift residents in some of the poorest ZIP codes in the country out of poverty, the Get2Work Now pilot developed from a partnership between Manufacturing Works, which was trying to meet the need of its manufacturing members to fill entry-level positions, and two faith-based organizations—the Cleveland Clergy Coalition and the American Association of Clergy and Employers. Through Get2Work Now, the team connected more than 50 Cleveland residents from primarily Black neighborhoods on the city’s east side, to manufacturing jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage and offer career advancement, using church vans that sit idle during the week to transport them to and from their jobs. Volunteers from the churches served as drivers, but also as informal recruiters and mentors, providing an important social network to support riders.
“But for our outreach, grassroots recruitment and advocacy, these individuals would not have known about these opportunities and employers would have missed out on accessing critical talent,” said Miesha Headen, president of the American Association of Clergy and Employers.
Originally designed as a service that would operate between neighborhood and employment hubs, the service soon shifted to a door-to-door offering to better accommodate users. The volunteer drivers now transport individuals to interviews, training programs and jobs, no matter the shift or time of day.