In mid-March 2020, the Old Brooklyn Development Corporation identified a real and immediate problem. Many of the brick-and-mortar businesses in its community had little or no online presence, and were struggling to operate in the increasingly socially distanced and virtual world brought by the pandemic. In response, NeoSTEM leaders developed WIR’ED, a simple, straightforward, and impactful solution to the problems shopkeepers face operating online.
With coordination from the NeoSTEM ecosystem and numerous other partners, WIR’ED teams students with marketing professionals and business owners to create and expand businesses’ websites and social media, and teach business owners how to manage their online presence during the pandemic.
WHAT IS WIRED?
WIR’ED addresses the pandemic’s effects on students and shopkeepers by: 1) closing the learning gaps caused by shifting and uncertain school schedules; 2) helping shopkeepers combat the effects of business shutdowns and social distancing measures; and 3) giving students confidence that they have skills and knowledge that are valued by “adults.”
In its two successful pilots, WIR’ED has paired tech-savvy students from CMSD and East Cleveland with local businesses in need of an online overhaul. Students lend their tech expertise to businesses, and businesses provide students with real-world opportunities to problem-solve.
For its second pilot, which launched in February 2021, CMSD and East Cleveland students are partnered with Bill Kap Piano, David’s Challenge Young Achievers Ohio, the East Cleveland Neighborhood Center, Falafel Café, Gus’s Old Brooklyn Restaurant, the Historical Society of Old Brooklyn, JLD Treat and Flower Shoppe, and the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope.
In its third pilot, which launches in Summer 2021, NeoSTEM is proud to partner with Verizon and Youth Opportunities Unlimited to continue the WIR’ED mission of connecting students and businesses throughout northeast Ohio.
The students’ successes in WIR’ED speak for themselves.
Logo produced by Cleveland School of Science and Medicine student Ryckia Sutton and John Marshall School of Information and Technology student Abdullahi Muhamed, on behalf of the Historical Society of Old Brooklyn.