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CMSD’s new PACE curriculum connects students’ interests with future careers in NE Ohio | News

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The Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Cleveland Foundation are launching a new school curriculum to better help guide CMSD students on a career path after graduation.

It’s called the Career Planning and Exploration Approach – or PACE -.

The goal is to give students the “next steps” toward their careers, CMSD CEO Eric Gordon said at a kickoff on Monday.

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“Depending on the profession, that could include college, mini-degrees, apprenticeships or even straight into the workforce,” Gordon told the crowd at the Garrett Morgan School of Engineering and Innovation. “We also want students to graduate with the confidence, tools, and agency to achieve these goals.”

The PACE curriculum will begin with sixth graders and continue into their last year of high school.

The idea behind the PACE program is to expose students to all kinds of jobs and “livelihood jobs” that match their skills and interests, and ultimately help them create a roadmap to achieving their goal.

In sixth grade, students might get an on-campus visit from a company representative to hear what the company does and what kind of jobs they have, or that student might go on-site to a company to see what he’s doing first-hand.

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As students get older, the curriculum will “narrow and deepen,” depending on the student’s interests and abilities, according to Anthony Battaglia, executive director of the career and undergraduate pathway at CMSD. Students will participate in internships and job shadowing.

It’s about supporting every student’s future, whether they want to go to college or not, according to Battaglia.

“Transitioning really into an in-depth experience, where each student will have three and four career shades before graduating. Think about those, so they can build on what they want their careers to look like after we leave,” Battaglia said.

Students will lead the process, and will be asked to do things like journal and answer questionnaires about PACE-related experiences they have had. They will be asked to share whether or not they were interested in a particular job or field, why they liked it and whether it matches skills they think they have or enjoy using.

CMSD has six founding partners in the PACE Initiative, including Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), College Now Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Neighborhood Leadership Institute (True2U), Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, and Our Economic Future Fund

Giving an example of how CMSD partners are involved, YOU CEO Craig Dorn said that younger teens at CMSD will have the opportunity to get an “essential summer job.”

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“You have to be successful in the workplace, be on time, and work hard,” Dorn explained. “Young people who continue their journey will have more opportunities for either individual training or group summer academies, where they can dive deeper into an understanding of a very specific professional career, anything ranging from healthcare to construction and anything else you can imagine.”

The Cleveland CMSD Foundation and its partners are providing a grant of $950,000 to help implement the PACE program.

Shanna Marbury spoke with students at the opening ceremony, with the Greater Cleveland Partnership serving as the district’s chamber of commerce, said that PACE participants want to develop young talent as a “pipeline for skilled talent emerging in our region.”

“Right now, there are thousands of high-skill and good jobs on the market,” Marbury said. “People like me are getting older. Therefore, we need you to fill these positions and continue to make our society grow and prosper.”

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