‘1,000 Links’ organization strives to connect young men with jobs


CLEVELAND — Local nonprofit 1,000 Ties hopes to set up dozens of young men in the Cleveland area with a new concert at its fourth annual event next week.

The event will take place Feb. 12 at Warrensville Heights High School from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Young men between the ages of 6 and 21 will take part in a series of workshops to teach them life skills.

This year, the theme of the event is conflict resolution. Emphasis will also be placed on helping some participants find employment.

“The handshake, the eye contact, not saying uh 1,000 times – so that’s definitely something I try to instill in any young person I talk to when I’m talking about job interviews,” said Trayvon Porter, COO of 1,000 Ties.

Porter said he learned all of these skills from his mother, Jowan Smith, who is the CEO of 1,000 Ties.

Now they are working together to empower other young men.

“We can’t remove barriers without giving them access to the tools they need to succeed. So the whole point of our program is to break down barriers by teaching them skills starting with something as simple as a tie,” Smith said. “So you can ruin an interview just by walking in and not shaking hands, making eye contact, or knowing how to address someone appropriately.”

“We teach them these basic skills and then we can put them in front of employers and then we can help them break down the barriers to figure out, ‘Hey, why did you have 20 interviews and you didn’t get callbacks? What was going on here?”

Anyone 16 and older can come with their resume to be considered by several companies, including Clean Express Auto Wash, as well as other small businesses and restaurants. Workforce development organizations like Towards Employment and Unlimited Youth Opportunities will also be present.

“We help them by providing pre-employment training, work experience and skills training,” said Kenyari Guy, Participant Recruitment Specialist at Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

Guy will be recruiting for YOU’s Young Adult Employment Program. It offers free training in areas such as construction, computers, and state-tested nursing assistant work to Cuyahoga County 18-24 year olds. Students are paid for the training.

Guy said they were delighted to partner with 1,000 Ties, which strives to prepare young men before they even show up with their CVs.

“They help us, we help them. We’re sort of serving that person as a whole, so they’re doing their thing and by the time the participant comes to us, they’ll already have a lot of the skills they’ll need to get into the program.” , said Dude.

1,000 Ties attendees will also take part in a series of workshops focusing on conflict resolution.

“I came up with this because I see all the different stories about the fights and I get the reports of all the bullying on social media and so many different things happening,” Smith said. “And we have to remember that our babies have been in the house for about a year and a half, two years. So they lack that social component. We want to be able to teach them different ways to deal with conflict before it becomes a thing. How do you eliminate the problem before it gets to a point where you make the decision to get your hands on someone? »

Smith said even parents can take something away from the event. There will also be a workshop for mothers.

With 250 young men already enrolled, Smith and Porter hope they will all walk away with not just a new job, but a new direction on how they want to lead their lives.

“It’s a lot of great things they can achieve in terms of career and lifestyle. So I hope every boy that comes in will pay attention and absorb as much information as possible,” Porter said.

More information on how to register for the 1,000 Ties event can be found here.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter for News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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