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Northeast Ohio Hospital Systems Commit to Increasing Workforce Diversity

Health systems sign Healthcare Anchor Network's 'Impact Workforce Commitment' to support increasing hiring, training and promotion of diverse talent


Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals are among 17 U.S. health systems to sign the “Impact Workforce Commitment,” designed by the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) in partnership with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Signing the network’s commitment supports the health systems' hiring and workforce development programs. Those programs identify opportunities to increase hiring, training and promotion of diverse talent.

The Cleveland health systems have often collaborated on various projects and initiatives including the Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector partnership which launched a new training program to connect Cuyahoga County residents with job opportunities in the healthcare field in Northeast Ohio.

“Employment is one of the most critical determinants of health that impacts a person’s quality of life,” says Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., Cleveland Clinic CEO and President, and holder of the Morton L. Mandel CEO Chair. “Our continued efforts to be intentional in hiring, training and promotion of diverse talent are key to creating opportunities that support the overall health of the communities we serve. This commitment reinforces our core value of inclusion, which we are proud to take actions each day to support.”

Other initiatives Cleveland Clinic has undertaken to help increase a more diverse workforce include:

  • becoming a founding member of  OneTen, a national coalition of top employers to hire Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs, which has thus far resulted in more than 2,000 hires and promotions; 
  • offering the THRIVE program to support patient care nursing assistants (PCNAs) during their first year on the job, and the ASPIRE Nurse Scholars and the ASPIRE Pathways, local high school and college programs designed to increase diversity in healthcare, address opportunity gaps and reduce health disparities in the community; 
  • creating learn-and-earn programs such as apprenticeships in pharmacy, ophthalmology, epilepsy and sleep;
  • hosting successful career expos in the City of Cleveland that offer on-the-spot hiring to help fill vacant positions within the health system.

The HAN “Impact Workforce Commitment” includes aligning hiring with clinical and community efforts to provide opportunities for individuals who may have faced barriers to employment due to factors such as low income, lack of access to education and training, or other socio-economic challenges.

“At MetroHealth, we are steadfast in eradicating healthcare disparities and giving the individuals we serve the best chance at a happy, healthy life. Improving the health and wealth of our community go hand in hand, which is why our hiring practices and workforce development programs must be anchored by a commitment to equity and inclusion,” says MetroHealth President & CEO Airica Steed, Ed.D, RN, MBA, FACHE. “Nobody should ever be denied opportunity because of the color of their skin, their ZIP code, the language they speak or any other demographic that has been used to make people feel less than. We are proud to join our colleagues from around the country in signing the Impact Workforce Commitment.”

As part of its commitment to equity, MetroHealth:

  • recently pledged $125,000 to the United Negro College Fund to support scholarships and internships for underrepresented students planning careers in healthcare.
  • recently launched a Medical Assistant Training Program to remove barriers to higher education. Trainees are paid to participate in the program and, upon successful completion, will be offered jobs within the system. A similar pilot program for dental assistants successfully prepared apprentices to work at MetroHealth dental clinics. 
  • is home to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health – the only high school in the country inside a hospital – where students are mentored by MetroHealth staff and exposed to careers in the health care field. Lincoln-West students also have access to programs that can prepare them upon graduation to work in critical roles such as state tested nurse aides (STNAs).

The “Impact Workforce Commitment” aims to improve social determinants and well-being to create economic opportunity and address racial inequities in the communities served.

“During the most recent period measured, University Hospitals (UH) contributed more than $10 billion to the regional economy, guided by a strong commitment to civic and social responsibility and its role as an anchor institution in Northeast Ohio,” says University Hospitals CEO, Cliff A. Megerian, M.D., Jane and Henry Meyer Chief Executive Officer Distinguished Chair. “Just as the system has cured disease and innovated new standards of care over the decades, UH has also steadfastly worked to create economic opportunity and prosperity for our communities. We are proud to join with our health system colleagues and the Healthcare Anchor Network to promote initiatives that will advance health equity. Our workforce development philosophy aims to connect NEO residents to jobs in which they can develop their professional potential and increase aspirations; increase their earning potential; and help move their families out of poverty.”

University Hospitals has launched numerous initiatives over the years to promote workforce diversity, including:

  • its signature Step Up to UH program that recruits chronically underemployed or unemployed individuals from seven Greater University Circle neighborhoods for workforce-readiness coaching, job-specific training and, ultimately, jobs at UH; Earn and Learn Apprenticeship programs for in-demand positions; 
  • Pathway Program for UH non-degreed and non-credentialed employees earning less than $25/hour and provides coaching, career management workshops, job shadowing as well as job training and education; 
    Bridge to Your Future and College Readiness programs that help educate the next generation of caregivers and supports movement into higher level positions for UH clinical caregivers; 
    the UH Health Scholars Program, a five-year educational opportunity for under-represented, minority Cleveland-area students who are in high school. Through its various workforce development programs, UH hired or promoted nearly 300 caregivers in 2022.

The health systems will collect and submit data on their progress toward these goals to HAN to ensure accountability and transparency.

About The MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit