Cleveland Talent Alliance Formed

Baiju R. Shah

Nonprofits, public and private entities to coordinate efforts

By Terry Troy

In yet another example of the private/public partnerships that have been formed in the City of Cleveland and Greater Cleveland area, 11 nonprofit, public and private entities have formed an organization called the Cleveland Talent Alliance. The objective of the new organization is to develop a seamless and coordinated system to identify, attract, navigate, engage, welcome and retain the best talent in Cleveland, with an initial focus on the fast growth sectors of IT/technology (including financial services), healthcare and smart manufacturing.

The new Talent Alliance currently is seeking a director to lead the new initiative. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated experience in managing complex systems strategy and design, project and relationship management, leading others through listening and influencing shared goals. The director will ultimately be an employee of Destination Cleveland.

In addition to Destination Cleveland, other Alliance members include: Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Leadership Center, Team NEO, Cuyahoga County, Engage! Cleveland, JobsOhio, Global Cleveland, MAGNET, Fund for our Economic Future and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.

David Gilbert

“For the Cleveland region to become one of the fastest growing and most diverse, inclusive and welcoming metro areas in the Midwest by 2030, it is essential to attract and retain talent in a distinct and coordinated way,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland. “Research combined with previous efforts – including Engage! Cleveland’s Discover the CLE campaign – show that audiences are open to considering Cleveland after being introduced to the region. By leveraging the strongest capabilities of all partners, we can be more efficient and effective in achieving our goals. Our business and civic community must collaborate to attract talent to increase our region’s growth.”

“Talent is becoming a critical differentiator for regions that are growing and prospering,” added Baiju R. Shah, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “By building a system that addresses the entire talent cycle, Cleveland will be better positioned for success. The initial focus on the region’s fastest growth sectors and fields will complement business growth efforts while also providing a template that can be applied to other industries as the work progresses.”

After initial conversations in 2019, planning was placed on hold as the community focused its attention on addressing the human, economic and social toll of the global pandemic. Engagement among many partners restarted in early 2021 to provide input on the Alliance’s design, vision, goals and year one priorities. The Alliance development considered each partner’s current work, future goals, staffing model and capacity to contribute in ways that align with each organization’s mission and vision.

“A vibrant economy has a growing, diverse population with equitable opportunities for education, training, and prospects for filling good-paying, in-demand jobs in our region,” said Bill Koehler, chief executive officer of Team NEO. “These opportunities for individuals in turn support business growth and vibrancy in our communities.”

The Alliance’s work in 2022 – its first year of committed collaboration – will focus on building out the consortium’s operating model, creating processes, identifying key strategies and developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for the Alliance’s work.

“A critical component of the Alliance’s work will be engaging those who are here so they can’t imagine leaving,” said Marianne Crosley, president and CEO of Cleveland Leadership Center. “With so many students seeking degrees in greater Cleveland, we have an audience that already has some firsthand experience here; the Alliance will look to strengthen those experiences through programs that immerse students in the local professional and civic arenas. Additionally, we have a talented legion of young professionals who represent the future of community leadership – the time is now to help them connect with and develop unbreakable ties to Cleveland.”

“With world class amenities, a robust job market and a low cost of living, Cleveland is the ideal market for young professionals,” said Ashley Basile Oeken, president of Engage! Cleveland. “Our goal is to connect young professionals to these many opportunities and help them build an incredible career and life in the Cleveland area.”