Written by Jennifer Hedinger
My role within the OhioGuidestone Workforce 360° program is Senior Manager of Workforce Development. I work with school districts, educational institutions and employers in Cuyahoga and Lake Counties to create opportunities for our participants. Most of these programs specifically serve youth ages 14-19, but some of our work also includes adults and families of the youth we serve.
I directly work with several community initiatives to create opportunities for our participants. These initiatives include Great Lakes Bridges, R Rules, PREP and OSU Extension. Each initiative serves its community in unique ways:
Great Lakes Bridges
Our Great Lakes Bridges program is a collaborative Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative with multiple partnerships including:
- Case Western Reserve University
- Cuyahoga County Board of Health
- East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church
- Cuyahoga Community College
- MetroHealth Hospital
We present workshops and training programs to these partner organizations to help provide a better understanding of generational poverty and examine systemic approaches to providing tools, resources and strategies for people in transition. I also Co-Chair the Steering Committee for Bridges Out of Poverty work across 11 Northeast Ohio Counties.
The R Rules curriculum is based on Bridges Out of Poverty and the Framework for Understanding Poverty philosophy. This program supports underserved youth who often face tremendous barriers to achieve educational and economic opportunity. This curriculum supports these youth by building tools, resources and strategies for lifelong learning in career readiness and life skills. I provide the R Rules Curriculum with three partner high schools in North East Ohio.
The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) focuses on educating OhioGuidestone’s foster care youth and juvenile justice youth in sex education and healthy relationships. PREP empowers youth to make positive choices and decisions. We deliver and support other organizations in the execution of the PREP initiative through a partnership with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
OSU Extension was created by Ohio State University (OSU) as a non-formal education system where professionals can address the needs of local communities by presenting research and technical information gathered by OSU faculty and staff. Through our partnership with OSU we participate and help coordinate a youth led initiative for drug education and prevention. We are planning a Youth Summit in partnership with several organizations including Baldwin Wallace University, Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Berea Police Department.
I have had the opportunity to work with amazing people who share my passion for collaborating with individuals, organizations and communities to support youth in transition. That is why I love my job. Working with our participants has given me the chance to learn from them. They have opened my eyes to the talents, skills and problem solving abilities that sometimes go unnoticed. I love seeing the transformation of our students, families, staff and organization as we work together and learn from each other. OhioGuidestone’s Workforce 360° is an exciting place to work because I am able to help our students build sustainable futures.