Two universities to lead major health initiative in Ohio

Along with three partners, Cleveland State and Case Western will be at the forefront of helping developing a STEM talent pool and exploring research in new Innovation District.

Over the next decade, Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University will be helping to create a 10,000-person workforce and perform research that will serve a new Cleveland Innovation District during and after the COVID-19 pandemic under a new agreement sealed on Monday.

Along with partners The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and The MetroHealth System, this $565 million collaboration will help spur the next wave of talent in STEM education to use research and technology to address the longterm impact of infectious diseases and other health initiatives.

The goal of the combined effort, forged by Gov. Mike DeWine and JobsOhio, is to infuse the area with rich talent that will “advance health care, advance research, create job growth and drive economic growth,” making Cleveland a hub for business and information technology. The state is hoping to add an additional 20,000 jobs through the partnership.

Cleveland State said it is looking forward to building that talent pipeline – from recruitment through graduation – though the creation of a Public Health & Education Institute. This new Higher Education Pathway initiative will be driven to address employer needs specifically for careers after COVID-19 in “emerging technologies, life sciences and data-intensive fields.”

“We are thrilled to be joining Cleveland’s most respected health care leaders in this transformational partnership,” said Harlan Sands, Cleveland State University President. “As the largest producer in the state of four-year college graduates who live and work in Northeast Ohio, CSU is uniquely equipped to grow and prepare talent this program will need. We welcome the accountability that is central to this partnership.”

The University of Cincinnati helped launch a similar partnership last March with health centers in that city that it hopes will fuel 15,000 students to pursue STEM-based degree pathways, according to

For Cleveland State, this is an opportunity to build on a base of students that largely come from Northeast Ohio to serve their community in advancing fields. It says the collaboration will help increase its degree offerings and certificates, as well as opportunities beyond the walls of campus – with virtual programming, internships and co-op potential for its students.

“Many of the students we serve are underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students or those who work multiple jobs to support their families,” Sands said. “Education is the great equalizer and urban research universities have a special role to play in filling the talent gap. In fact, it is core to our mission. Cleveland and our state get a double win with this partnership – the talent pipeline needed to support and sustain our region, and promising careers for our graduates.”

Cleveland State says it will utilize some of the funding toward improving infrastructure throughout its campus to meet the needs of the Innovation District.

Epidemiologist Dr. Daniel Tisch and his team from Case Western’s Master of Public Health Program are expected to continue their work with the Cleveland Department of Public Health, adding expertise on data analysis related to infectious diseases. According to DeWine, Case Western’s Next Generation Health Care initiative will also expand on the university’s work in research in other areas such as biomedical technologies and treatment exploration for cancer, neurological, cardiac other diseases.

“To see such strong collaboration among our five institutions bodes well for the future,” said Scott Cowen, interim president of Case Western Reserve University. “We are grateful to the State of Ohio and JobsOhio for this investment, and look forward to working with our partners to create jobs and businesses that not only contribute to Cleveland’s economy, but also enhance the health and well-being of our region.”

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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