This is a place where U researchers, staff, and students can post interests related to local government, particularly, Hennepin County, and vice versa. Participants can pose questions, offer suggestions, refer people to materials and contacts, and generally exchange ideas.
The 2014 MESI Spring Training event will be held on the St. Paul campus of the UofM during the week of March 10. MESI is the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute. This is their 19th annual conference. The conference theme is Learning by Doing: Evaluator Competencies for Diverse Settings. See the above link for conference details.
The event actually has two components:
Conference: March 12-14
Workshops: March 10-11
CURA will provide partial scholarships to non-profit organizations wishing to attend one of the workshops. These scholarships are not available to Hennepin County staff, but could prove useful to many of the organizations that work with the county.
The Taxpayer Services Department (TSD) and the University are engaged in a joint review to evaluate current processes of the County’s Tax-forfeited Land (TFL) Program and make improvements while considering statutory requirements and constraints. The department has partnered with Assistant Professor Ryan Allen of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to develop and provide recommendations and proposed policy changes for its TFL Program to County Administration and the County Board. Professor Allen has developed a preliminary data cohort for the last ten years to identify trends and outcomes for the lifecycle of TFL and properties in Hennepin County. Jeff Strand of TSD has developed and vetted a stakeholder engagement plan (not yet implemented), which involves interviewing and conducting focused conversations and focus groups with key stakeholders (e.g., City Council President, Board members, suburban elected officials, key staff from Regulatory Services).
Neeraj Mehta, director of Community-Based Research at CURA, will be giving a presentation February 21 on this topic: Stories we tell ourselves: Twin Cities Poverty.
He is presenting at the Department of Geography's* Coffee Hour at 3:30 in 445 Blegen Hall on the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota. The Department's Coffee Hour is a Friday afternoon tradition, meant to get people together and hear from experts from across the University and around the world.
* The full name is now Department of Geography, Society and Environment, but I'm a traditionalist.
Heads up, Hennepin Folks! While County staff cannot apply for funds from CURA for community-based research, community groups that you may be working with can. So if you are working with a community group that could benefit by working with a part-time student for one semester or over the summer to work on research-related activities, consider helping them submit a proposal to CURA.
Proposals are due March 15th, 2013. Approved projects will run from May 26th to August 24th, 2014.
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) launched their new website with a new look and a user-friendly layout this month! Please visit the site at: http://cascw.umn.edu to learn more about publications and projects, upcoming events, and their integrated blogs!
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” - Nelson Mandela
Hennepin - University Partnership (HUP) Child Welfare Collaborative:
The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work collaborates with Hennepin County Social Services through HUP to provide a learning opportunity for a small group of MSW students with a specialization in child welfare and supported with stipends through Title IV-E dollars. The purpose of the HUP Child Welfare Collaborative is to support students in having an integrated, in depth learning experience in child welfare and to build a highly-trained future workforce for Hennepin County. Students work with both a University of Minnesota Title IV-E Field Coordinator and Hennepin County social workers to learn about the current issues, challenges, practices, and policies of working with families involved in the child welfare system. Students involved in the Collaborative have field placements in units such as child protection intake, investigations, field, family group decision making, kinship, adoption, extended foster care, etc. In addition to the work and learning within their units, students are able to connect and learn from social workers in other units through shadowing and bi-monthly county seminars. In these seminars, social workers from various units meet with students to discuss social work practice in their child welfare units in an informal environment which encourages students to ask questions and learn. In addition to regular supervision provided by their Hennepin County social workers and within their unit team meetings, students have regular supervision with the Title IV-E Field Coordinator who is on-site. For interest in the HUP Child Welfare Collaborative please contact Melissa Mendez at email@example.com for further information.
Hello! My name is Rachel and I just wanted to introduce myself as the newest HUP Graduate Assistant. I am a first-year graduate student at the Humphrey School studying Public Management. I have been with the HUP since mid-November working with Kathie and Vanee. It has already been a great experience for me and I'm looking forward to the events we are planning for this semester!
See a video clip of Hennepin County's Carol Miller speaking at the 40th Anniversary celebration, held at the McNamara Alumni Center on November 7. Carol talks about her long and productive connection with this important center, and how this collaboration has helped advance county goals around early childhood education. For more about the Center for Early Education and Development, check out this link.
The Humphrey School is offering an excellent opportunity to take a course this spring taught by Vice President Walter F. Mondale and Professor Lawrence Jacobs. The course is entitled "Great Debates of Our Time and it is open to the public who can register to audit the course!
Click the link below for more information about the course, including information about how to register:
There are close to 1500 families who use Hennepin County’s emergency family shelter each year. It is important to think critically and creatively about what are the best policies and practices that can help the goal to end homelessness? What should the shelter system look like? To help with these important questions, HUP is currently collaborating with Hennepin County Office of End Homelessness to host a discussion session to bring together University faculty and Hennepin County staff and leadership around the important topic of family shelter entry in Hennepin County. We are inviting faculty members from diverse set of disciplines to help look at this issue from many angles. The event is set for December 9, 2013 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Let us know if you are interested in joining this conversation, your participation is highly encouraged and welcomed! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approximately 1 in 6 Americans is food insecure. While rates of food insecurity have risen in the past few years, federal support for food assistance programs has decreased and is likely to decrease dramatically in the next few years. This will place a greater burden on emergency food programs such as food shelves. Faculty and graduate students from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Medical School examined how well current food shelves and food banks funded by Hennepin County meet the needs of low income county residents. A report was generated which made recommendations for changes in funding, policies and contract language that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food assistance programs and services funded by Hennepin County.
Community service learning classes provide a great way to incorporate community involvement into the coursework! This fall semester nine U of M classes worked with various departments at Hennepin County on issues ranging from social justice, immigrants, adult corrections and even technical issues such as website testing.
Just recently, Amy Luedtke, from Hennepin County Library (HCL), worked with Professor Lee-Ann Breuch and her class titled “Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication.” The testing has helped HCL articulate and focus on best practices for web site usability, informing their current, daily work and future projects.
Want to learn more about Community service learning? Click here!
Internships provide great ways for students to gain professional on-the-job experience while simultaneously providing their unique skills and expertise for mutual benefit.
Two students from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs shared their thoughts about their unique experience working with the Human Services and Public Health Department’s Operation Resources and Support (ORS) unit this summer.
Amanda Koonjbeharry, currently pursuing two graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota; a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Social Work, shared:
My experience working with Hennepin County-HSPHD has been truly amazing so far. I have been fortunate to work with so many kind and helpful people and have had many opportunities to expand my knowledge by working on various projects with various people in the organization.
Dom Rolando, another student pursuing a Master of Public Policy expanded on his experience:
“As a Public Policy student, working with the county on the implementation of the healthcare reform has given me front row seats on the implementation of a major policy. I feel that through this experience I am not only gaining more understanding of the discipline of policy analysis and implementation but I am seeing the people and groups of people working very hard on making things happen, their struggles, strategies and successes. No textbook can illustrate that.”
We also spoke with their supervisor Bina Thompson Nikrin who noted:
“This has been a wonderful experience. These students are "regular" employees, in that they are highly/fully qualified for the position of planning analyst that they were hired to fill. Yes, they are students, but that makes it even better, because they are eager to take on new assignments and solicit feedback and direction.”
The number of families in our county contracted shelter is nearing capacity. In order to reduce the number of families coming back into shelter (roughly 25% of all shelter entrants), we are developing a series of proposals under "Stable Families." As we implement these stratgies in 2014, we will have the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) evaluate the process and outcomes through a HUP agreement.