inside out: global cle's talent attraction campaign aimed at filling jobs, repopulating city core

What do you love about living and working in Cleveland? Is it the low cost of living? The availability of good jobs? The beautiful old neighborhoods? The diversity? The truth is, there are many things to love about this city, and Global Cleveland wants residents to share that love.

On Thursday, May 1, Global Cleveland will officially launch its newest talent attraction campaign, and the organization is asking for the city's help. The event will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center ballroom and is free and open to the public.

The Talent Attraction campaign is the evolution of Global Cleveland’s work and understanding of how to increase the population and strengthen the local economy. Founded by the city’s civic, business, community and government leaders to address the city’s population decline following the 2010 census, Global Cleveland is a non-profit economic development organization dedicated to attracting newcomers -- young professionals and entrepreneurs from both inside and outside the US -- to Cleveland.

After struggling at first to establish an effective path, Global Cleveland has redefined its goals with a plan to attract 60,000 newcomers to greater Cleveland by 2020.

The organization is now focused on connecting businesses, colleges, universities and multicultural organizations to better attract newcomers, both foreign and domestic, who will support the growth and talent needs of the entire region. Other goals include assisting newcomers in establishing roots in Cleveland neighborhoods, connecting students to area employers in the region, and creating a best-practice model for talent attraction for the entire state.

“On May 1, we are inviting the community to join us in our efforts to add to Cleveland's revitalization by attracting, welcoming and connecting newcomers of all types to our region,” explains Baiju Shah, Global Cleveland’s board chairman. “We will be launching a talent attraction campaign and describing additional strategic initiatives designed to advance the mission. We invite all to participate, as we recognize success will require collaboration with many individuals and stakeholder organizations.”

Global Cleveland will rely on the city’s residents to attract newcomers here. The organization realizes that word of mouth is the most effective way to promote Cleveland’s assets. But the group also has a powerful tool to help promote the city through its newly expanded web portal.

“When people ask how they can do something to attract people to Greater Cleveland, our answer is: Go to,” says Global Cleveland president Joy Roller. “That’s one-stop shopping for everything you want to know about Cleveland. Everybody’s got the answer to the question, why should I move to Cleveland? Go to”

Global Cleveland’s website is a portal that connects visitors to everything someone might want to know about Cleveland. More than 500 local organizations are represented there. It has tools to find a job, a neighborhood and a home.
And Global Cleveland speaks your language. Users can click on country flags to transform pages into seven different languages, from English and Spanish to Chinese and Portuguese.

The portal informs users that the largest of Cleveland’s 117 ethnic communities is Latino, while the fastest growing population is the Asian community. Users can click on an ethnicity they are interested in and research Cleveland neighborhoods or even get help with immigration issues.

There are 50 to 60,000 open jobs in Northeast Ohio, 3,500 of which are in IT. The jobs section of the website lets users connect to Ohio Means Jobs to search these openings, sign up for email job alerts or uncover networking opportunities.
Also on this all-encompassing website geared to newcomers is info on the local dining scene, world-renown arts and culture scene, and the region's professional sports teams and recreational opportunities. Now, Roller and Shah are asking those who know the city’s assets best -- local residents -- to help spread the word.

“What we want to do is attract newcomers, immigrants, refugees,” says Roller. “We want a very vibrant culture in Northeast Ohio and we’re looking to newcomers to create businesses and buy new homes in some of the older neighborhoods. We want to build Cleveland from the inside out. We need to rebound our core and bring people back to our city.”

Roller and Shah speak about Cleveland’s assets from experience. Roller lived in nine other cities before settling in Cleveland. “It’s a wonderful quality of life and low cost of living,” she says. Shah’s parents immigrated to New York from India in 1969, before moving to Cleveland in 1970 after hearing about the city from friends.

“The most effective marketing for our community is word-of-mouth through personal connections,” explains Shah. “It's the story of how many different individuals and groups have settled in this area. It's the story of my own family, who settled in Cleveland because my parents knew others here that encouraged them to consider it. My parents, in turn, encouraged other family members and their friends to move here.” 

Clevelanders must continue to take a proactive role in attracting others to the city. “This example, repeated many, many times, is what leads regions to become destinations for individuals, whether they are migrating or immigrating,” Shah says. “We can only be successful if the community actively participates in attracting, welcoming and connecting newcomers to the Cleveland region.”

The multi-media event will feature Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Ohio Governor John Kasich and JobsOhio president John Minor. “They will explain that Global Cleveland is working with the community to attract talent and diversity to Greater Cleveland,” explains Roller.

The day kicks off with 20 different performance groups lining the entrance to the ballroom. Guests will feast on international cuisine. Screens will line the walls highlighting jobs, education, housing and ethnic communities in the city, while a Cleveland-themed soundtrack curated by the Rock Hall plays.

Also up for grabs are door prizes like a downtown staycation, a year’s supply of Mitchell’s ice cream and a private tour of the Rock Hall’s vault.

“Baiju Shah will highlight what it is we need to do to attract newcomers to Cleveland and increase the population,” says Roller. “And there will be announcements about how we’re going to do that.” The talent attraction campaign kickoff runs from 5-9 p.m. on May 1. The event is free but registration is required.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.