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PACE Program expanding to 10 School Districts




Starting this academic year, the Planning and Career Exploration Program (PACE) will be offered to students in neighboring school districts.  

PACE, a District initiative that was created in 2021, exposes potential career pathways to Cleveland Metropolitan School District students in 6th through 12th grade.   

Anthony Battaglia, The Districts’ Executive Director of Career and College Pathways Executive Director, says the goal was always to expand the program to more districts.  

“When PACE was created it was always with expansion in mind,” said Battaglia. “We wanted to create the framework for other districts and for employers.”  

Part of that framework included establishing the Greater Cleveland Career Consortium (GCCC) in 2022.   The consortium is comprised of public, private, education, and non-profit organizations that work together to help students in the region design a career plan that aligns with their interests and skills. 

The GCCC partners with school districts to implement and facilitate PACE with its partners, which include College Now, Junior Achievement and TRUE2U. The idea is to create career-focused experiences embedded in-school curriculum, out-of-school engagements, and career counseling. More than 50 industries and employers have  partnered with GCCC. 

The GCCC received American Rescue Plan Act money from the City of Cleveland ($2.1 million) and Cuyahoga County ($3 million) for the PACE expansion, according to Katie Brennan, GCCC Director, Development & Organizational Effectiveness.   

 “The expansion to other districts enables the consortium to give that money to our service providers," said Brennan. “That will allow them to provide services to more districts.”   

The first five school districts to participate in PACE programming this academic year will be Cleveland Heights/University Heights City Schools, East Cleveland City Schools, Garfield Heights City Schools, Maple Heights City Schools, and Warrensville Heights City Schools.  

 Additional schools scheduled to launch PACE in the 2024-25 school year will be Bedford City Schools, Brooklyn City Schools, Fairview Park City Schools, Richmond Heights Local Schools, and Shaker Heights City Schools. 

Brennen says approximately 33,500 students in sixth through twelfth grades  will participate in PACE once this expansion is complete. Roughly 14,000 of those students will be enrolled in CMSD school.

“This is a win and allows the talent pipeline to be more appealing to employers,” said Brennen. “Employers don't care where the students come from to get jobs. They care that they are prepared, and they can do the jobs. The more students we have in that pipeline, meeting the standards, the more employers are going to come on board.”