New partnership will help National Guard members advance their education and careers through coaching and scholarships
CLEVELAND (SEPTEMBER 19, 2023) — The Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced the launch of a new program that will pair scholarship benefits with one-on-one success coaching to improve educational success and career transitions for Ohio National Guard members. The program—called Coach to Complete—will focus on Cuyahoga County, but services will be open to Guardsman from Northeast Ohio. The pilot program was created in collaboration with InsideTrack, a nonprofit that has coached more than 3.1 million students during its 20+ year history. Participants will receive up to four years of one-on-one success coaching to help them to access and complete a certificate or degree.
“Our state’s higher education leaders recognized long ago that military education benefits could play a critical role in meeting our state’s workforce needs,” said Jessica Hector, a Dublin, Ohio resident and associate vice president of partner success at InsideTrack. “This collaboration will help us to make good on the promise of higher education and economic opportunity for the men and women who have answered the call to service.”
Nationally, there are more than 443,500 members of the National Guard, including nearly 16,000, in Ohio. According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense, a majority of Army and Air National Guard members (59.3%) have at least a high school diploma and some college experience. However, just 29% have completed an associate degree or higher. In Ohio, 24% of Army and Air National Guard members have an associate degree or higher.
“Service in the National Guard has long provided a pathway to career and education advancement for the millions of men and women who serve their nation and communities in uniform on a part-time basis,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris, Jr., Ohio adjutant general. “This strategic initiative will help Guard members maximize their state education and scholarship benefits, succeed academically, and stay on track to earning a degree or credential that will advance their career.”
The launch of the coaching program will help to boost career and educational outcomes for Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program (ONGSP) recipients who are residents of Cuyahoga County, Geauga County, Lake County, Lorain County, Medina County, Summit County or studying at an institution of higher education in Cuyahoga County. In its pilot phase, the program will serve current members of the Ohio National Guard who are enrolled or considering a degree or certificate program—as well as those who may have dropped out or paused their education.
Initially, up to 510 eligible Ohio Guardsmen will receive one-on-one coaching to help set goals, build skills to balance family, education, financial and work commitments, and develop individual plans to help make completion a reality. InsideTrack coaches provide personalized, virtual support to each student, utilizing a blend of live coaching sessions that provide real-time support, structured and on-demand communication through voice, text messaging and email nudges.
“Supporting the military has long been a priority for the state of Ohio. Investing in the educational and career success of those who serve in uniform is essential, and we owe them no less,” said Randy Gardner, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. “Our vision is to increase educational attainment within the ranks of the Ohio Guard as part of our broader strategy to build the pipeline of skilled talent that regional employers need.”
Through its collaboration with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program covers 100% of tuition charges for a range of degree, certificate, trade school, and licensure programs at participating public colleges and universities. However, the Ohio National Guard will not be responsible for the funding of this pilot coaching program.
The new initiative is the result of a unique public-private partnership between ONG, ODHE, the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Maycomb Capital, an impact investing platform. The partnership leverages a Pay for Success funding model—developed in partnership with Third Sector—that aligns public investment in the coaching program with the achievement of specific, measurable goals. Through a performance-based contract, Cuyahoga County will release funds for the program based on how many guardsmen enroll, persist, and complete their programs.
“Public-private partnerships like these can meet residents’ needs and achieve meaningful change,” said Chris Ronayne, Cuyahoga County Executive. “This program allows members of our Ohio National Guard to get a higher education as they continue to serve our country. I want to thank County Councilman Jack Schron for his leadership on this initiative and for helping to make it possible here in Cuyahoga County.”
About the Ohio National Guard: The Adjutant General’s Department/Ohio National Guard serves the Citizens of Ohio and the nation by fulfilling the state and federal military role of providing public safety when directed by the Governor, or supporting National Defense Strategy, when directed by the President. Our commitment is “Always Ready, Always There.”
About the Ohio Department of Higher Education: The Ohio Department of Higher Education is a Cabinet-level agency for the Governor of the State of Ohio that oversees higher education for the state. The agency’s main responsibilities include authorizing and approving new degree programs, managing state-funded financial aid programs and developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens. As a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education advises the Governor on higher education policy and implements the Governor’s plan to make college more affordable for Ohioans and drive the state’s economic advancement through the public universities and colleges of Ohio, the state’s network of public universities, regional campuses, community colleges, and adult workforce and adult education centers. The Chancellor is responsible for carrying out the responsibilities of the agency, including authorizing and approving new degree programs and managing state-funded financial aid programs.
About the Cuyahoga County Dept Health & Human Services: Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services is here to make a positive difference for the residents and customers we serve, as well as the partners and employees with whom we serve. Our ultimate challenge as a community is that the need far surpasses our resources. At the same time, there is great opportunity to break this cycle and build a brighter future together if we all do our part. Residents often have unique and varied needs. Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services takes a holistic approach to services, addressing both basic needs and prevention. Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services believes in greater collaboration and mobilization of resources to meet immediate needs while addressing the root cause of crisis and provide prevention services needed to break the cycle. Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services is focused on achieving outcomes, not just providing services. We will look beyond the numbers to determine if individuals or families participating in our services are any better off and on a path to live their best lives.
About InsideTrack: InsideTrack is a mission-driven nonprofit that fuels positive change by empowering and advancing all learners to achieve their educational and career goals through the transformative power of coaching. We help people get the education they need to enhance well-being, create opportunity and secure meaningful employment — ultimately facilitating economic and social mobility. Since 2001, we have served over 3.1 million learners, partnering with more than 350 institutions and organizations to directly improve enrollment, retention, completion, and career advancement – tailoring our coaching outcomes to fit the needs of our partners and the learners they support. Our coaching methodology is evidence-based and research-confirmed, supporting all types of learners at every stage of their journey — especially those who face systemic barriers to postsecondary success. We are a catalyst for transformational impact, ultimately empowering learners and the organizations who serve them.
About the Community Outcomes Fund at Maycomb Capital: Maycomb Capital is the project’s impact investor, providing outcomes financing in the form of a working capital loan to fund service delivery. The Community Outcomes Fund seeks to transform the way that government funds services for individuals and families by enabling government and its partners to align spending with outcomes rather than process and compliance. It is the largest pool of dedicated capital for outcomes financing in the United States, pioneering a new model to accelerate the market and help scale outcomes financing investments across the country.