Press Releases

Wadsworth, OH - Congressman Renacci (OH-16) will deliver the commencement address to Cleveland Youth Empowerment Program on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, at The Steven A. Minter Conference Center of the Cleveland Foundation, 1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1300, Cleveland, OH at 12 P.M.

Empower Cleveland Youth is a community-wide partnership managed by the Cleveland Leadership Center that supports urban youth and inspires and nurtures them to be tomorrow’s leaders. During eight full-day sessions this summer, they focused on exploring career options through visits to various organizations, mentorship opportunities, job-shadow experiences and participation in soft skills job training.

“In this great country, all of today’s youth have the potential to be our country’s future leaders no matter where their life's journey begins,” said Renacci, “I’m proud of their commitment to rise up and its incredible we have 35 students graduating through the Empowerment program.”

Empower Cleveland Youth was piloted in 2016 under the guidance and support of Renacci and other civic leaders who themselves benefitted from mentoring experiences, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson; Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, President and CEO of The MetroHealth System; Frederick Nance, Global Managing Partner at Squire Patton Boggs LLP; and Russ Mitchell, Managing Editor and Anchor at WKYC-TV.

Community leaders met with the students this summer to share their stories and offer inspiration, including Boutros, who hosted them at MetroHealth Hospital; and Nance, who welcomed them at Squire Patton Boggs. Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams and Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman also hosted students.

Among other businesses the students visited to learn about career options were ideastream, PNC, The Cleveland Browns and Hyland, Creator of OnBase. Some, like the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Cleveland Harbor, are not accessible to the public. The students also visited the Advanced Technology Training Center at Cuyahoga Community College and met with representatives from the trades.

All of the participants were employed for the summer through Youth Opportunities Unlimited through Esperanza, Inc. and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cleveland, the Mayor’s Youth Diversion program of the City of Cleveland and the Mayor’s Youth Development Program. Cleveland Leadership Center will reamin in touch with the students during the upcoming school year.

"I grew up with very little − paid my own way through school and was the first in my family to graduate college,” said Renacci. “Along the way, I was fortunate to have the advice and support of my parents and mentors to help me succeed. I am proud to join with local civic leaders to support the efforts of the Cleveland Leadership Center to develop and nurture our youth to not only see a path to success, but achieve that success.”

The summer program received funding support from the Cleveland Foundation, The MetroHealth System, City of Cleveland and The Reinberger Foundation.