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Uplift: 'Best Buddies' opens real-life pipelines to IDD community

Everyone needs a friend, particularly people whose disabilities may leave them feeling isolated and alone. Enter Best Buddies International, a nonprofit founded to foster one-on-one friendships, employment opportunities and leadership skills for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
 
Headquartered in Miami, the organization has opened a new office inside the Beachwood Adult Activities Center, located at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities facility on Mercantile Road.
 
Program supervisor Ryan Wirth, whose involvement with Best Buddies dates back to high school, has big plans for the Cleveland location. First, he and his still forming team will create "friendship chapters" at area high schools and colleges.
 
Two chapters are currently operating at Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University under the guidance of student leaders and advisors. These chapters will cultivate meet-ups between volunteer "peer buddies" and people with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other undiagnosed disabilities. Ideally, meaningful friendships will form, empowering "buddies" with all-important socialization skills.
 
"Getting everyone to meet each other and talk is key," Wirth says. "As those friendships become active, you can see them grow naturally on their own."
 
Socials outings include ordinary activities like bowling, movies and dinner, but the impact on participants is enormous, says Wirth. Since its launch in 1989, the nonprofit has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals with IDD secure jobs, live independently, improve their public speaking, and, just as critically, feel valued by society.
 
"For me, it's having that 'aha' moment in seeing someone with a disability enjoy themselves and come out of their shell," says Wirth. "They become part of this large group where everyone's welcome."
 
Meanwhile, the Cleveland-based Best Buddies office continues to grow. Wirth is planning a fundraising walk and basketball challenge featuring Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving for September. Next is an initiative funded by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council that seeks to get adults with IDD into the workforce.
 
While Wirth loves the work, it helps to have a personal investment in shepherding the group's success in Northeast Ohio, he says.
 
Best Buddies has been part of Wirth's life since serving as chapter leader in high school and college. Upon graduation from Slippery Rock University in 2013, he acted as program manager for Best Buddies Maryland for two years.  In addition, his future brother-in-law, Branden, who is on the autism spectrum, has enjoyed participating in organization events.
 
“I am overjoyed to introduce the Cleveland community to Best Buddies," says Wirth. "I want to bring that same joy and sense of belonging that Branden has experienced to all of the people in Cleveland with IDD.”

Who's Hiring in CLE: Brandmuscle, MetroHealth, Cleveland Orchestra ...

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Water Cleveland's “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
 
Engage! Cleveland
 
Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit resource for area young professionals, needs a marketing and development manager to connect talent to the organizations, events, businesses and people that will help them acclimate to the city. The individual will oversee the organization's marketing, events, development and Leadership Council group and post content for marketing collateral, website and social media. Hire will also execute corporate sponsorship programs and locate meeting space for events.

Expected qualifications include bachelor’s or advanced degree, preferably in nonprofit management, marketing, business or related field. Three to five years proven success in nonprofit sector required. Email cover letter, salary expectations and resume with the subject, “Marketing, Events & Development, Manager,” to ashley@engagecleveland.com by Monday, May 1.
 
MetroHealth System
 
MetroHealth System is seeking a full-time donor relations specialist to cultivate current donors and solicit new donors in development of system foundation programs. The position will coordinate MetroHealth's annual giving campaign and update donor recognition on a regular basis. Three years experience in fundraising, marketing or project management required. Fundraising background in a healthcare environment preferred, along with project management certification or related software skills. Apply on LinkedIn.
 
Cleveland Orchestra
 
The Cleveland Orchestra has an opening for a full-time associate in its artistic operations department. The artistic planning associate is responsible for organizing the chief artistic officer's calendar and managing internal and external communications. Candidates should have a minimum of five years of senior or C-level administrative experience. Submit cover letter and resume (PDF) with salary requirements to hr@clevelandorchestra.com.
 
FIT Technologies
 
Cleveland IT firm FIT Technologies is seeking a computer field support technician to provide technical assistance to customers housed both within the company and externally. Successful applicant is expected to perform software/hardware upgrades and other day-to-day maintenance and support. Associates degree in a technical support environment desired. Position may require evening, weekend and on-call responsibilities. To apply, email resume to humanresources@fittechnologies.com.
 
Brandmuscle
 
Brandmuscle is looking for an entry-level marketing coordinator responsible for working with the media and events buying team to plan and purchase local media. Hire responsibilities include creation of status reports and distribution of event contracts. Minimum of one year media experience in an advertising agency, media agency or corporate media buying department required. Apply on the company website.

ZooKeys return to raise awareness, evoke nostalgia

Education is key to protecting the planet's endangered animals, a mindset Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is taking quite literally.
 
This month, the zoo launched its ZooKey program, which offers young visitors customized keys that unlock recorded messages specific to particular exhibits. Kids can use the elephant-shaped keys on two dozen designated boxes scattered throughout the zoo to get fascinating facts on their favorite beastie.
 
"Our mission is about connecting people with wildlife," says Kelly Manderfield, chief marketing officer for Cleveland Metroparks. "This is a hands-on opportunity to educate the next generation and encourage them to learn more about these animals."
 
ZooKeys, part of a partnership with KeyBank celebrating Cleveland Metroparks' 100-year anniversary, are available for purchase at the zoo for $3. Pint-sized patrons can keep the keys and bring them back to access additional recordings.
 
Zoo officials expect nostalgic parents to use the keys, too, considering the program made its original debut in the 1960s. Since the re-launch, adult visitors have arrived with the old "Packey the Elephant" keys they grew up with.
 
"This has stirred lots of memories for parents," says Manderfield. "People are having fun seeing their own children participate."
 
New animal keys will be introduced over the program's current five-year timeline. Manderfield hopes the venture not only connects participants with the zoo's 2,000 animals, but inspires them to get interested in wildlife conservation as well.
 
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are now 16,306  species threatened with extinction, a figure that also includes plants. Species endangered include one in four mammals, one in eight birds, and one third of all amphibians.
 
Cleveland zoo patrons can witness efforts to stave off this trend at the Eastern black rhinoceros exhibit. This subspecies of black rhino is considered "critically endangered"  under World Wildlife Foundation guidelines due to demand for rhino horn, which has driven poaching to record levels.
 
Unlocking knowledge about rhinos and other rare creatures can be the catalyst that saves them from disappearing forever, Manderfield says.
 
"If we don't take care of these animals now, they may not be around for future generations," she says. "We're taking the idea of conservation and bringing it to the forefront."

The Cleveland Metroparks is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.
 

High tech tool helps people and families coping with dementia

The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging has launched a new program that allows early-stage dementia patients to participate in their own care planning, potentially easing the burden for both the person with dementia and their concerned family members.  
 
Known as SHARE, the program outlines a care plan for loved ones to follow as the condition progresses. Based on two decades of research by Benjamin Rose, the SHARE toolkit includes an iPad app which lists tasks in a set of color-coded circular diagrams.  Under the guidance of SHARE counselors, duties can then be assigned to caregivers, whether they're family, friends or professional service providers.  
 
"It's a pictorial expression of the communication," says Benjamin Rose president and CEO Richard Browdie. "The app captures the evolution of the conversation so you're not going to back to zero the next time you meet."
 
Browdie says SHARE enables early-stage dementia patients to contribute in planning of daily activities such as finance management, food shopping and preparation, and personal hygiene. Planning these tasks is also a stress reliever for people who feel overwhelmed by a family member's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease of other form of dementia.
 
"It builds confidence that they're doing the right thing, because they're doing all they can," says Browdie. "That can be empowering for the caregiver when guilt or self-doubt creeps in."
 
Investigation conducted by the Benjamin Rose Center for Research and Education indicates that early-stage dementia patients benefit from active participation in their care plan. Ongoing communication increases knowledge about available services, and preempts difficult questions regarding care that may be embarrassing for the recipient, such as feeding themselves or using the bathroom.
 
SHARE - an acronym for Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education — is currently available to professional organizations that serve families and individuals living with dementia in its earlier stages. Utilizing this technology, proponents say, can give people diagnosed with dementia the confidence that their needs will be met down the road.  
 
"People used to think Alzheimer's was a switch off/switch on kind of disease, but it's progress is gradual" says Browdie. "Communicating with a care recipient while dementia is advancing can alleviate some of those stresses." 

RALLY: Clevelanders to March for Science on April 22

Cleveland is becoming a powerhouse for scientific discovery and research thanks to its world-class universities and medical facilities as well as a growing tech industry. What better way to celebrate the innovative leaps happening here than with a parade? ask Northeast Ohio's science proponents.
 
That question will be answered during the March for Science taking place at Public Square on April 22. The collaboration among a coalition of local foundations and science-based organizations is expected to draw thousands of supporters downtown, and will act as a satellite event to the national March for Science held the same day in Washington, D.C.
Evalyn Gates 
"Cleveland is a science town and that's something we should appreciate and showcase," says Dr. Evalyn Gates, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, one of the sponsors for the march.
 
The free event begins at 9 a.m. and includes activities and speakers that underscore the influence of science on the world. While the speaker lineup is still to be determined, attendees can choose banners displaying beer, bald eagles and other elements of our planet that are impacted by science.
 
"People can carry these banners during the march," says Gates. "There are so many ways science undergirds our lives."
 
The list of local advocates is emblematic of Cleveland's scientific strengths, adds Gates: Along with the natural history museum, Cleveland State University, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Great Lakes Science Center, Holden Forests & Gardens, The MetroHealth System and West Creek Conservancy are just a few partner organizations on the march.

"Cleveland is a global leader in medical research and other fields," Gates says. "Then you have companies like Sherwin-Williams and General Electric employing a science-based workforce."
 
A march championing this work is especially critical in the face of proposed budget cuts to some federal science agencies, notes Gates. Among the projects at risk is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since its inception, the program has funded 3,400 projects targeting everything from the control of invasive Asian carp to pollution cleanup.
 
Marching in support of these endeavors sends a message to the nation's capital, and also serves as a strong message for future generations interested in the pursuit of science.
 
"We want this event to be a catalyst for people to talk to each other," says Gates. "It's a good starting point for conversation on science-related matters." 

JumpStart investment lures upscale talent to Health-Tech Corridor

Cleveland-based venture development organization JumpStart Inc. is helping build up the city's Health-Tech Corridor (HTC) with a $250,000 investment in Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc., maker of a special education learning software.
 
The investment comes from JumpStart's $10 million Evergreen Fund, which focuses on companies that relocate to the rapidly growing 1,600-acre district that links downtown Cleveland to University Circle.
 
Monarch's move from Shaker Heights to MidTown Cleveland will make them one of more than 170 tech firms located along the corridor, says JumpStart CEO Ray Leach.
 
"It's another example of a smaller, high-growth company moving to this section of town," Leach says. "The corridor is a good place for employers to access needed talent."
 
Monarch was founded in 2005 to develop visual learning software for children and adolescents with autism. The latest iteration, called VizZle, has been adapted for use by schools, clinicians and parents of children with varying special education needs.
 
"VizZle is a truly unique and innovative product," says Rem Harris, JumpStart's senior partner in charge of investing, in a statement. "The combination of high-quality content and ease of use allows curriculum to be customized for each student, enabling them to learn on an individual basis." 
 
The invested dollars will be utilized to strengthen Monarch's product development and sales and marketing arms, adds Leach. JumpStart's Evergreen Fund invests seed capital in similar high-potential businesses across the region, with 82 portfolio companies receiving $31 million through the fund to date. The fund also sets aside a special $2 million "carve out" fund for companies ready to move into the corridor.
 
"An increased number of people in MidTown doesn't just strengthen the economic impact of the neighborhood on a one-by-one basis," says Leach. "There's momentum now."
 
Companies doing business from the corridor have access to four world-class clinical institutions and a bevy of talent-rich universities. Add a mix of flexible office and lab space and you have reason for additional businesses to join the party.
 
"We were very attracted to the overall vibe of innovation and collaboration in the HTC," Monarch CEO and President Bob Gephart adds in the statement. "There are also so many great sources of support and new talent for a company like ours."

Ohio artists respond to 100 days of Trump presidency

On Friday, May 5, from 6 – 9 p.m., SPACES will host an opening reception of The First 100+ Days, which is an exhibition of Ohio-based artists’ responses to the initial phase of Trump’s presidency — specifically regarding his immigration policy.
 
The artworks feature stories from immigrant and refugee communities while addressing the practical application of the Trump administration’s direction. The exhibition also considers how the media influences political discourse and aims to capture the radical potential of artistic activism.
 
The hard-hitting and varied responses from artists living in Ohio — a strategically positioned swing state — will be accompanied by a timeline of actions taken since President Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration that have introduced, enacted, and protested changing immigration policies during these politically turbulent times. 
 
Participating artists include Julia Christensen, Ryan Dewey, Michelangelo Lovelace, Home Affairs (Arzu Ozkal, Claudia Pederson, Nanette Yannuzzi), Tony Ingrisano, Kelley O’Brien, Darice Polo, John C. Williams, and Megan Young.
 
The First 100+ Days will be on display through June 30 and is curated by SPACES executive director, Christina Vassallo, with assistance from Karl Anderson. The gallery is located at 2900 Detroit Ave. in Hingetown.

To complement the exhibition, SPACES is offering a number of companion events to further explore U.S, immigration policy.

FamilySPACES, Saturday, June 4, 2 – 4 p.m.: Art-making activities to help families talk with children about the changing world.
 
Sanctuary City Potluck, Thursday, June 8, 6 – 8 p.m.: Dinner and panel discussion on how to be a community ally.
 
Live Jury, Saturday, June 24, 2 – 4 pm: Artists and architects are invited to submit U.S.-Canada border wall designs to the Unofficial Global Barrier-Centric Design Competition. Shortlisted entries will be judged on this day before a live jury.
 
Fact or Fiction?, June 29, 6 – 8 p.m.: An evening of alternative fact trivia and print making, presented by April Bleakney. Attendees are invited to learn about the impact of the printing press in resistance efforts throughout history and to make a print to take home.
 
Additional events may be added. Check the SPACES event calendar for updates.

 

Who's Hiring in CLE: E.W. Scripps Company, Rockwell Automation, Engage! Cleveland...

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Water Cleveland's “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
 
The E.W. Scripps Company
The E.W. Scripps Company is hiring a broadcast engineer to perform preventative maintenance and emergency repairs of video, audio, IT and HD equipment at WEWS-TV Cleveland. Most work will be done on news equipment such as camcorders and monitors. Applicants must have at least a two-year electronic technical degree or equivalent, but a four-year degree is preferred. Candidates may apply on the company website.
 
Rexel
Electrical supplier Rexel is seeking a branch manager for its Cleveland-based Gexpro Services group. The hire will be responsible for branch operations, implementation of sales strategies, and training of the branch team. Four-year bachelor's degree and two-to-four years of leadership experience required. Candidates may apply on the company website.
 
Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation is looking for a user experience architect to design support software for its industrial automation systems. The position will engage in development of desktop, web and mobile software products from the research phase through evaluation and delivery. Bachelor’s degree in interaction/user experience design, human factors, cognitive or behavioral science, or related discipline required. Applicant must have eight or more years of experience in interaction/user experience design for interactive software products. Apply through the company's website. 
 
Cleveland
Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit resource for local young professionals, is hiring a development manager responsible for developing and executing fundraising efforts including corporate sponsorships, individual donations, special events, memberships, and grant writing. The position will also nurture corporate and community partners for the purposes of fundraising and to elevate the profile of the organization.
 
Candidates must have a bachelor's or advanced degree in nonprofit management, sales, business or other related field. Three-to-five years of fundraising success in a development field also required. Apply by sending a cover letter, salary requirements and resume to ashley@engagecleveland.com with the subject line “Development Manager."
 
True Value Company
True Value Company is seeking a warehouse supervisor for its Cleveland regional distribution center. The supervisor will lead a team of associates to ensure proper workflow within the department. Applicant should be proficient with Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel. Bachelor's degree is preferred, but candidates with equivalent combination of education and work experience in the logistics industry will also be considered. Apply through the company's website.

Spotlight: reality show illuminates Gordon Square, CLE's 'movers and makers'

Cleveland's maker economy constitutes a growing community of creators whose work is only limited by their imaginations — or perhaps the size of a screen. Here on the north coast, designer Susie Frazier helped bring maker dreams into locals' homes courtesy of a new reality-based television show.
 
"Movers & Makers with Susie Frazier," which launched March 25 on WKYC-Channel 3, illuminates local independent inventors and tinkerers with Frazier as the host. For the pilot, the 20-year design veteran and her team chose the Edison apartments in the Gordon Square arts district, developing furniture and art for a two-bedroom model suite.

View the trailer for last week's pilot:


 
Frazier worked with a local team of artists and designers to execute the project. Featured players in the 30-minute premiere were metal fabricator Alex Loos, wood craftsman Freddy Hill, woodworker Kurt Ballash, and artist/curator Hilary Gent of the HEDGE Gallery inside 78th Street Studios.
 
"The show is about my life as a designer and projects that come my way," says Frazier. "There's a synchronized process of working with the cluster of makers here, and that's what we're trying to highlight."
 
Although it aired last week, Frazier has posted the full pilot on her YouTube channel. The idea for the show germinated late last year after Frazier contracted the Edison gig. Her Los Angeles-based management firm pushed "Movers and Makers" as a vehicle for her work in creating home accessories, furniture and fine art using cast-off materials from the construction industry.
 
Filming took place in Frazier's 78th Street Studios space and in Gordon Square in late February and early March. Revealing the nuts-and-bolts progress of a complicated project is something unique to the reality design genre, she says.
 
"We're excited to share what we do and how we do it," says Frazier. "There are lots of 'before-and-after' design shows, but I'm excited to showcase the process."
 
"Movers & Makers" can be a beacon for a maker movement with approximately 135 million adherents across the U.S.," the budding TV host adds. 
 
"People want to be more resourceful and do something with their hands," Frazier says. "The show can be a model for people to get out there and do it. I have no formal training — I learned by doing like so many others."
 
Meanwhile, maker spaces represent a culture shift in how new startups are created. Cleveland's long history of mass production is transitioning into hyper-local manufacturing that emphasizes exciting technologies such as 3D printing.
 
Frazier is pleased to shine a spotlight on that ongoing evolution. While WKYC is not committed to carrying the program forward as a full series, Frazier's producers are set to pitch the show, which is in development as a nine-episode series, to various cable networks.
 
"There's so many directions we can go," Frazier says. "We want to have makers in every episode, and highlight other trades and crafts." 

The business of babies: getting new and expectant families on the right path

Parenthood is not always an easy journey for expectant families unsure where to turn for guidance on birth planning and decision-making. Luckily, navigating parents along childbirth's sometimes rocky path is the mission of a business created by Clevelander Ashley Sova.
 
CLEBaby is a full-service pregnancy, birth, and parenting agency that hosts local events, presents childbirth education classes, and, perhaps most importantly to its founder, provides postpartum doula services. 
 
Sova offers educational tools that treat parenthood as an ongoing process that begins during pregnancy and continues through a baby's first months. Classes are taught in a client's home and center on a range of topics covering pregnancy, labor and birth. Sova's clientele, mostly professional women ages 27 – 40, prefer the comfortable nature of private classes over a more sterile hospital learning environment.
 
"They can ask embarrassing questions, and find out the information that matters for their birth experience," says Sova. "People will invite their pregnant friends and make it into a group event."
 
Teaching the classes are professionally trained doulas, who act as travel guides in advising families during pregnancy, birth and the immediate postpartum period. CLEBaby's postpartum doulas are also brought on to help with infant feeding and light housework, and offer mothers critical support in whatever ways they need to recover from childbirth.
 
Sova hired a doula for her second pregnancy after a difficult birth with her first child. Having an informed, supportive resource close at hand was a revelation, she says, one that inspired her to launch CLEBaby instead of returning to her job as a cancer researcher at Case Western Reserve University.
 
"Having an experienced woman who has seen so many births and knows it inside out brings such a sense of calm," Sova says. "We've had women tell us the service has been life-changing for them."
 
CLEBaby has served 50 to 55 families over the last year, a number Sova plans to grow through new classes and events. Outings for 2017 include a mom-centric ice cream social and a "daddy bootcamp" at a local brewery where new fathers can sip a beer while learning basic baby care.
 
Raising a newborn may not be all glitz and glamour, but neither should it be overwhelming or isolating, says Sova.
 
"We're going to continue to grow our services and our team," she says. "We want to continue on the path of having the most knowledgeable doulas around."
 

NEO sons come home to help fuel CLE's tech economy

A year ago, Chad Supers was running sales for a "baby startup" out of his San Francisco apartment. Today, the Elyria native is back home to help integrate the now fast-growing company into Cleveland's emerging tech economy.
 
Growbots, a Silicon Valley sales software firm, recently opened its national sales operations office in the Tenk Machine and Tool building on the West Bank of the Flats. The company builds outbound sales platforms for nearly 500 emerging B2B companies  in the U.S., Europe and Canada, raising $4 million in annual recurring revenue.
 
Growbots has four employees stationed at its West Bank office, among them former Phenom co-founder Mike Eppich. Supers says the Cleveland firm is prepared to bring on another two dozen sales and administrative roles by the end of 2017.
 
"In Cleveland we know we can get people who are hungry, hard-working and have the right attitude," Supers says.
 
Company leaders housed in Growbots' two other locations — Warsaw, Poland, and San Francisco — chose Cleveland for a potent talent base that's far less expensive to train and hire than the employee pools on the coasts.
 
"There are engineers and other great talents here, and it won't cost you what it would in San Francisco, New York or Boston," says Eppich.
 
Cleveland's hiring pool is a bit shallow when it comes to experienced tech workers, but that challenge can be met with in-house instruction, Supers notes.
 
"Any sales person should have knowledge around our space, but most people we're hiring don't know our competitors," he says. "That's the biggest struggle, so as a leader I have to set up an infrastructure where our employees can be trained." 
 
Like many of its West Coast brethren, Growbots provides a laid-back, results-oriented work atmosphere where rounds of pool are played between work assignments. Even in such casual environs, Supers is serious about his opportunity to bring high-paying tech jobs to his hometown.
 
"To think I'd be starting a small company and bringing it to Cleveland from San Francisco is pretty crazy," he says. 

Edgy show captivates with vintage motorcycle images

On Friday, March 17, from 5 – 9 p.m., legendary local artist Shirley Aley Campbell’s rarely exhibited collection, “The Motorcyclists of the Seventies” will be on display at 78th Street Studios in the second floor corridor and Suite 215.
 
The 13 large scale oil paintings were commissioned by local businessman Joseph Erdelac in 1973 and were completed in 1981. The resulting works are utterly captivating on their own, but they take on new dimension considering the background stories of the riders, which include "The Flying Angel" Debbie Lawler, who was a noted and prolific motorcycle jumper at a time when few women could successfully compete with the likes of Evel Knievel; America's “First Lady of Motorcycling” — pink Harley-riding Dot Robinson; and John Knoble and Bob 'Laco' Lawrence of the Hell's Angels Los Angeles Motorcycle Club.
 
Gene Wirwah, legal counsel for the American Motorcycle Association, helped Campbell choose her subjects.

"The Flying Angel" by Shirley Aley Campbell
 
Campbell, a 1947 Cleveland Institute of Art grad and 1986 Cleveland Arts Prize recipient, has work in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art and Case Western Reserve University, as well as private collections throughout the United States. Her work has been exhibited at major museums throughout the country.
 
"Motorcycles" will be on view through April 8 and will return this summer. Campbell will be on hand for tomorrow's opening to meet and chat with attendees and discuss her work.
 
For more information contact 78th Street Studios director Daniel Bush at 440-503-5506 or dan@78thstreetstudios.com.
 

Medical competition set to put Cleveland at forefront of big data revolution

Healthcare is undergoing a big data revolution, with a decade's worth of research, clinical trials, patient records and other pertinent information being aggregated into giant databases. Organizing this tsunami of information is a massive industry challenge, one an upcoming Cleveland-based event is attempting to tackle.
 
The inaugural Medical Capital Innovation Competition — orchestrated by The Global Center for Health Innovation (GCHI), Cuyahoga County, BioEnterprise, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) — invites professional and collegiate teams to offer up their best big-data ideas for a chance at $100,000 in prizes along with critical feedback from Cleveland's world-renowned healthcare sector. The two-day event will be held April 25 and 26 at GCHI's Innovation Center.
 
"From a startup perspective, it's a great opportunity for companies to come up with unique solutions," says BioEnterprise president and CEO Aram Nerpouni. "We're getting applications from around the country and all over the world."
 
Big data is becoming an increasingly big deal both domestically and internationally. According to a 2016 BioEnterprise report, the healthcare IT industry outpaced biotech and medical devices for the first time since the organization began compiling the study 12 years ago. In Cleveland, Explorys, Hyland Software and CoverMyMeds have made headlines with their attempts to take on the data overload from an industry generating huge amounts of new information every day.
 
"Every community in the country has the same challenge," says Nerpouni. "We are looking for some solutions and doing it in a way that plays to a regional strength."
 
Application deadline for the competition is March 31. Ideas will focus on the management, analysis and optimization of health data and be judged upon their commercial viability.
 
Nerpouni says the competition will be attractive for startups searching for a medical innovation hub. Trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) foretell a future where even more data will need to be collected and translated in order to improve access to patient care.
 
“Cleveland continues to build upon the strengths of its health IT, biotech and medical device assets,” says Nerpouni. "The competition is a celebration of the growth of that critical mass while letting the rest of the country know what's going on here." 

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress awards $4.2M in grants with three-year initiative

Beginning in July, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) will invest a total of $4.2 million in twelve community development corporations (CDCs) over the next three years. The Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) includes nine awards, three of which are collaborative efforts. The funding will have a direct impact on 16 Cleveland neighborhoods.

“These critical investments will help improve neighborhoods across the city," said Joel Ratner, CNP president and CEO in a statement. "We look forward to working with our grantees as they develop work plans and implement the strategies they presented to the committee."

The following grants will be administered annually through 2020:
 
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and Metro West Community Development Corporation, $220,000
 
Ohio City, Inc. and Tremont West Development Corporation, $215,000
 
Famicos Foundation, $200,000
 
Burten Bell Carr Development, $200,000
 
Northeast Shores Development Corporation, $140,000
 
Slavic Village Development, $125,000
 
St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Collinwood Nottingham Villages Development Corporation, $100,000
 
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, $100,000
 
– Lee-Harvard Community Collaborative, $100,000
 
“We are also excited to invest in neighborhoods on the southeast side of Cleveland through our new capacity investment in the Lee-Harvard Community Partnership,” added Colleen Gilson, vice president of CDC Advancement for CNP. "This partnership is the result of a visioning and planning process supported by City of Cleveland Councilman Terrell Pruitt that will bring a dedicated community development entity into the neighborhood.”
 
CNP received a total of 14 proposals from a 23 CDCs for this competitive funding program. Senior staff reviewed proposals and recommended finalists to the organization’s SII Advisory Committee. Last month, that committee hosted two days of presentations during which the finalists highlighted the comprehensive community development goals and strategies they will employ during the 2017-2020 program cycle. CNP's board of directors’ final decision on funding was informed by the scoring process performed by the SII Advisory Committee.
 
“These selected CDCs will be taking on important work city-wide and we look forward to working with them as they implement community development strategies in their neighborhoods,” added Gilson of the SII recipients.
 
Over the past 10 years, CNP has committed more than $15 million to Cleveland CDCs via the SII program, funding for which is provided by the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, and Enterprise Community Partners.
 
 
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.
 

Who's Hiring in CLE: Cleveland Zoological Society, MAGNET, American Greetings...

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Water Cleveland's “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
 
 
Cleveland Zoological Society
The Cleveland Zoological Society is seeking candidates for two full-time positions: The campaign coordinator will play a primary role in organizing and coordinating a multi-year, multi-project fundraising campaign. The hire will monitor all campaign progress and work closely with the director of development and campaign co-chairs. Requirements include a bachelor's degree, two years of related experience and prior work on the Raiser's Edge database. Submit electronic cover letter and resume by March 17.
 
The major gifts officer will solicit philanthropic gifts through a portfolio of donors and prospects to support the zoo society and its nonprofit partner, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Reporting to the director of development, the successful candidate will work with both the society and zoo colleagues. A bachelor's degree and five years of development experience required. Submit electronic cover letter and resume by March 17.
 
Care Alliance Health Center
Care Alliance is looking for a family nurse practitioner for one of its patient-centered medical home teams. The position is responsible for delivering comprehensive and preventative healthcare services to Care Alliance patients who are homeless, living in public housing, or generally underserved. Candidates must be a registered nurse in Ohio and a graduate of an accredited nurse practitioner program. A master's of science in nursing and two years of formal practice as an FNP is preferred. Apply by email at careers@carealliance.org or by fax at 216-298-5020.
 
MAGNET
Manufacturing advocacy group MAGNET is seeking a full-time administrative assistant to run daily operations of its workforce and talent development office. Reporting to the vice president of workforce and talent development, the hire will also support the work of management and other staff. One to three years experience providing administrative support in a professional environment is required. Candidates are also expected to have working knowledge of Microsoft Office products including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Bachelor's degree preferred. Candidates may apply by submitting a resume to hr@magnetwork.org. 
 
FrontLine Service
FrontLine Service, a Cleveland organization that works with in-crisis Northeast Ohio adults and children, is hiring a program manager for its child mobile crisis team. Candidates are expected to develop, implement and monitor a team of professionals and support staff. Applicants should have a master's degree in social work or counseling and at least two years of supervisory experience. Candidates can email their resume to careers@frontlineservice.org.
 
American Greetings
American Greetings is searching for an assistant product development manager tasked with conducting product analysis and supporting the company's product development strategy. The position will coordinate development teams and interact with clients to obtain and share product knowledge. Three to five years of retail/consumer product analysis, marketing, communications, or other creative experience a necessity. Apply through the company's website.
 
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