Innovative apprenticeship program bridges employment and diversity gaps to build inclusive IT talent pipeline

Exclusive cost-saving benefits available to COSE and GCP members utilizing nationally-recognized program

In 2021, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) partnered with Seattle-based Apprenti to launch apprenticeships designed to build an abundant and inclusive tech talent pipeline in the region. Available as a plug-and-play solution for employers seeking talent for in-demand tech jobs, companies in Greater Cleveland are leveraging the program to fill entry-level IT roles such as Computer User Support Specialist, Cloud Computing Specialist, Cybersecurity Analyst, Software Developer and IT Business Analyst, through registered apprenticeships that help them meet their evolving workforce needs while training the next generation of talent. 

The program typically consists of 12-16 weeks of technical instruction and 12 months of paid, on-the-job training where apprentices gain the skills and experience of a fully-qualified professional in their field, as well as credits that can be transferred to 2-year or 4-year degree programs. Across the country, 9 out of 10 Apprenti participants are retained and hired after their apprenticeship. There are also state and local incentives that are available to offset some of the costs associated with registered apprenticeships. 

Companies interested in learning more about the program, or the benefits available to COSE and GCP members, are encouraged to reach out to GCP by emailing Akeem Perry, Sr. Manager, Talent Initiatives at GCP, or calling (216) 592-2235.  

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  • Next up: Month in Review: July 2021

    Month in Review: July 2021


    COVID has created some significant turnover in the workplace—resulting in many employers taking a closer look at the way they run their businesses and lead their teams. Many of the articles from last month can be useful if your small business—and leadership skills—are due for a refresh. Check out some of our favorite articles from July:

    Employees Are Not Commodities
    Employers likely do not even realize this, but they often treat employees as commodities, acting as though they are expendable and only worth the price they cost in exchange for the work they do. Learn why it's important to prioritize safety and respect with your employees and how your business will benefit when you do.

    I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and Best Practices for Ohio Businesses
    Your stack of paperwork seems bottomless, including piles of government forms related to licensing, taxes and employees. Yet however tedious that paperwork may be, it is crucial to understand the purpose of each form and ensure you complete it correctly.
    Form I-9 is one of the more important employment documents in that stack. As a business owner, it's your responsibility to ensure your employees are eligible to work in the United States. Here are seven essential tips for completing the I-9 form and avoiding mistakes that can lead to audits.

    How to Tell if an Employee Might be Quitting
    Employee turnover can mean lost productivity and extra expenses—both of which can have a big impact on your small business, especially when you're caught off-guard.
    There are many signs that an employee might be getting ready to quit, such as more time spent on personal calls or a reluctance to commit to long term projects. Or maybe you just have a gut feeling.
    When you know the warning signs, you might be able to talk with your employees and help work things out—or at least be better prepared when they decide to leave. 

    FAQs With Phil: Why are Some Leaders Poor Communicators?
    Sometimes it can be painfully clear when good communication skills aren't a priority in the business world. In this recent edition of FAQs with Phil, we explore reasons why you might find yourself working for a boss who is a poor communicator.
    But wait, there's more. Stay tuned for the other two articles in this three-part series. We will discuss the reverse situation: Why sometimes you find yourself with employees who are poor communicators. And, finally, what you can do to improve communication skills across all levels of your team.

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from July? Let us know on Twitter!


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  • Next up: Month in Review: June 2021

    Month in Review: June 2021


    Things are heating up on the blog this summer as we explore topics such as future-proofing your website and providing five-star customer service. Check out our favorite articles from June.

    What is Appropriate Small Talk at Events?

    The weather, local sports teams, and now COVID... these are all topics awkwardly thrown into small talk when attending networking events. We all hate it, so why do we do it?
    In this installment of FAQs with Phil, our resident communications expert Phil Stella discusses how to change that repetitive small talk into effective Big Talk, and achieve big results.

    Good Customer Service is Key to Small Business Success

    Behind every great business is an excellent customer service team. And with superior customer service, comes customer loyalty—something every business owner strives to achieve.
    Learn how to provide the five-star customer service treatment with these five easy steps.

    Future-Proof Your Website with these Seven Easy Tips
    Changes in technology are about as frequent as changes in Cleveland weather. And you don't want to have to completely re-imagine your website every time a new technology emerges.
    From focusing on evergreen content to investing in SEO, here are seven tips to future-proofing your website.

    Start Delegating Your Way to Success Today
    The items on your to-do list are growing. You think nobody can handle your tasks as well as you do and that explaining them to someone else takes longer than doing them yourself. So you keep at it, spreading yourself thin and wearing yourself out.
    We're taking a deep dive into the art and science of delegation—a key to any entrepreneur's success. Learn why and how delegating is critical to your small business.

    Let us know your favorite articles on twitter.

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  • Next up: Key American Rescue Plan Provisions Will Help Advance GCP Priorities

    Key American Rescue Plan Provisions Will Help Advance GCP Priorities


    Last week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act - a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill. Here are some key provisions that will help advance our priorities:


    - Public Transit: Provides $30 billion for transit agencies who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and forced to cut service and jobs in 2020.


    Our 2021-2022 Public Policy Agenda calls for revitalizing development around our existing transit hubs and funding multimodal transit that better connects residents to jobs, goods, and services. 


    - Broadband: Invests $7 billion in broadband so millions of public school students will receive the internet services they need for their education.


    We are a strong advocate for affordable, high-quality broadband in digitally divided communities, understanding that Cleveland’s unaffordable and unreliable internet service options prevent economic progress. Our long-term success hinges on a strong partnership with local governments, the state of Ohio, federal partners and the private sector. 


    - Small Business Support: Provides $15 billion in additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries through increased funding for Targeted EIDL grants; $25 billion in funding for a new dedicated grant relief program for restaurants; $7 billion for expanded PPP assistance for nonprofits and digital news services; and $1 billion in Save Our Stages grants for independent live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.


    Our agenda lays out our federal priorities to build wealth for minority entrepreneurs and small businesses but doing so will mean addressing disparities in lending. 

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  • Next up: Make a great impression every time

    Make a great impression every time

    We are slowly returning to in-person events and we will soon be networking face-to-face again. Check out these six tips to making a great impression.


    Now that we’re getting back into more in-person business and networking events, it’s time to revisit best practices for making a Great Impression with the people you meet. The strategy is really simple and easy, yet the devil is in the details of execution.

    Here are six tips to making a great impression.

    Tip no 1: Talk less, listen more. Tell less, ask more. Actively listen to their words, tone of voice and vis-ual cues.

    Tip no. 2: Value their time. Keep the conversation short and focused. Defer to a later time if it gets overly interesting or complicated.

    RELATED: What is appropriate small talk at networking events?

    Tip no. 3: Ask focused questions. These questions can be about them on a personal or business level. Let them know that you value them enough to remember what to ask about.

    Tip no. 4: Compliment. You can give a compliment on a recent award, mention in the media, etc. This approach also subtly lets them know that you read and are interested in their accomplishments.

    Tip no. 5: Givers always gain. Be sure to ask if there’s anything you or someone you know can do to help them with a particular problem or challenge. I promise giving of your time and talent in this way will come back around to benefit you at some point down the road.

    RELATED: Read more from Phil Stella

    Tip no. 6: Follow up. After the conversation, send a brief email or hand-written note indicating that you enjoyed the chat and look forward to next time.

    And if it isn’t obvious by now, each of these tactics works with networking via email or over the phone. The medium of the communication may change, but the strategy of striving for positive first or ongoing impressions remains the same.

    Like I said, easy and simple. And don’t tell me these strategies won’t work until you try them and can tell me they didn’t work for you.

    Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication,, 440 804-4785, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, communication styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.   

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  • Next up: 3 things to know: Marketing your business during COVID

    3 things to know: Marketing your business during COVID


    While we are still facing a global pandemic and the accompanying economic impact, your business might need a marketing boost. Here are three things we think you should know when it comes to marketing your business during COVID.

    1. You’ve got to go with SEO
    Getting your website up and running took a lot of time and effort on your part. Now that it’s where you want it, don’t hit the brakes—it’s time to get your website seen. Enter search engine optimization marketing—the best way for you to stand out to potential customers in a sea of other businesses. Still not convinced? Here are five reasons to invest in SEO, as well as 9 SEO tips to get your website noticed. We promise it’s not as overwhelming as you might think. In fact, you can set up an effective SEO strategy in just four steps. 

    2. Take it to the next level with an elevator speech
    An elevator pitch is about as outdated as handshakes. It’s time to turn it up a notch with an elevator speech—keeping the mindset that these opportunities are for sharing information, not making obvious sales pitches. Here are some tips to improving your elevator speech so that—whenever you’re ready to take elevators again—you are prepared with this effective marketing tactic. 

    3. Outshine, don’t outspend
    Your budget might be a little tighter these days, but that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on marketing. One excellent and free marketing tactic is to become an MYB contributor! As an expert in your field, what better way to share your knowledge and promote your business than writing for a small business blog. Email Marie Zickefoose at for more info and to get started.

    More tips for branding on a budget include doing pro bono work and promoting customer testimonials. And, don’t forget that as long as you have your cell phone and a social media account, you can produce engaging content and free videos to amplify your marketing and drive results

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