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About Us

Our Story

Sarah Steele, J.D., M.A.
Co-Founder, CEO

     Sarah is a Cincinnati native who took the university route to Skilled Up Ohio. She earned her B.A. from Ohio University and six months later, moved to Cleveland, OH to begin her adult life.  She had just $2000, no job prospects, and optimism.  She made it 15 years in Cleveland.  She purchased her first home as a single woman on her 25th birthday and began the long journey of homeownership, house repairs, and figuring out how things work.  She worked in social services in various capacities, most notably as an investigative social worker and treatment specialist for abused and neglected foster children.  As a treatment specialist, she taught partial hospitalization groups in areas such as problem solving, communication, and coping skills.  She became an agency trainer and created and implemented new, goal-oriented programming.  She has also taught children on the autism spectrum and worked with the elderly population in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

     While working in social services, Sarah became frustrated by the inadequate support systems in place.  Too many people were suffering from a lack of education, lack of financial literacy, and especially foster children, from the fragmented nature of moving between multiple homes.  She became determined to correct the gaps in education and services and pursued a career in law.  She went back to school to earn her M.A. and J.D. from Cleveland State University.  She met Bob during this time, and they married and had their four children over the next six years.  During those busy years, they followed opportunities and moved often, eventually settling down back in Cincinnati. Sarah did legal work remotely and became a licensed tax preparer.  She recently passed the Ohio Bar Exam and while she moves slowly through the legal system to advocate for systems of prevention over correction, Skilled Up Ohio was created as a "Buck Stops Here" approach to teens aging into adulthood without the skills they need to succeed.  Her hope is that if we reach teens as they start their adult lives, we can fill in the gaps in education, teach them to safely and confidently maneuver adulthood, become financially independent, and prevent the level of overwhelm that is plaguing this generation.  More independent young adults means more success stories, fewer cases of addiction, less children born into unstable homes, and a stronger community overall.   

     Sarah's free time is spent enjoying time with Bob, their kids, and best dog ever, traveling as much as possible - preferably toward a beach, fighting with her garden, and learning new things.

Sarah believes in meeting people where they’re at, being honest, that gardening will teach you everything you really need to know, and that love is a verb.

Our instructors love teaching and presenting, and have worked both separately and together over the last 15 years engaging students, helping families, and training staff. They are both Red Cross certified instructors, passionate about education of all kinds, and believe in helping people build the confidence and skill set to help themselves and each other.

Bob Steele
Co-Founder, President

     Bob is a Cleveland native who grew up in the skilled trades and took the technical career route to Skilled Up Ohio. He graduated with honors with a degree in Automotive Technology from Universal Technical Institute, Orlando. He returned to Cleveland with an interest in teaching, and became a treatment specialist working with abused and neglected foster children.  He then met Sarah, and they married a few years later.  He was promoted to clinic manager at a behavioral health clinic before pursuing a teaching opportunity with children on the autism spectrum. 

     He and Sarah then started their growing family, and he decided to combine his two passions, teaching and automotive, and worked his way up from lube tech to service manager, and ultimately consultant for dealership operations where he trained, hired, and managed employees for a number of dealer groups across Ohio. After witnessing the many opportunities in the STEM fields, he became a college recruiter, acting as a bridge between students, colleges, and employers.  He has presented STEM opportunities to thousands of high school students across Ohio and Kentucky and regularly meets with families from all walks of life.  He takes pride in helping students find the career path that matches their skill set and interests, but will also be a lucrative endeavor for them and their families.  Bob's network includes local and national colleges, many STEM employers across the state, and he serves on the advisory board for multiple high schools in Ohio.  Recently, he has negotiated one of the most comprehensive tuition reimbursement contracts in the state with a Cincinnati auto group.    

     Through this work, he has identified the skills required for students to graduate and employees to excel.

He believes that anyone can create the life they imagine with the proper planning, preparation, and persistence. In his spare time, Bob is a gamer, drummer, car enthusiast, and a pretty good husband and father.

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