Replicable Ways to Support the Early Childhood Workforce in Your City

There are countless reasons why supporting the early childhood workforce is central to an economically thriving community. Much like construction workers shape our infrastructure through building our cities’ roads, bridges, and buildings, the early childhood workforce plays an integral role in shaping the development of our most valuable resource – young children. Municipal leaders recognize the importance of high-quality early childhood education opportunities and many are taking action to implement policies that support the early childhood workforce. National League of Cities reached out to the cities of Jacksonville, Florida; Long Beach, California; and Albuquerque, New Mexico to find out how their municipal leaders are supporting the early childhood workforce. Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Cities Speak

Refugee Farmer Teaching Handbook

This handbook is for staff providing training and technical assistance (T&TA) in immigrant and refugee farmer-training programs. This foundational and practical handbook provides basic explanations of certain teaching theories, as well as tips for applying them in the design and delivery of T&TA. This handbook was developed by Dani M. Scherer with the Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED Solutions). Twelve refugee farmer training programs across the country provided feedback on the content of this guide. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

The Co-Cities Project

The Co-Cities project is designed to test, evaluate, and refine the Co-City Methodology through a scientific, multi-year project focused on collecting data on innovative public policies and local projects focused on shared urban resources from over 100 cities around the world. The Co-Cities project investigates those new forms of collaborative city-making that are leading urban areas toward new forms of participatory urban governance, inclusive economic growth, and social innovation. It is rooted on the conceptual pillars of the urban commons, and it comprehends a protocol, a methodology, and five design principles that are in the process of being tested in selected European and American cities. A “Co-City” is based on urban co-governance which implies shared, collaborative, polycentric governance of the urban commons and in which environmental, cultural, knowledge, and digital urban resources are co-managed through contractual or institutionalized public-private-community partnerships.
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Sourced from: Georgetown University

American Community Survey Provides New State and Local Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau released its most detailed look at America’s people, places, and economy. New state and local statistics on income, poverty, and health insurance are available in briefs, detailed tables, data profiles, and more. The American Community Survey (ACS) also produces statistics for more than 40 other topics. “Each completed survey is important because it is a building block used to create statistics about communities in America,” said Census Bureau American Community Survey Office Chief Donna Daily. “This information provides an important tool for communities to make data-driven decisions, assess the past, and plan for the future.” Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The United States Census Bureau

Strategic Doing: Leading Complex Collaborations, The Ohio State University

In this 2.5 day training, you’ll learn how to begin thinking differently about collaboration, how to help groups have different, and more productive kinds of conversations, and how to make sure conversation turns into action. There will be a simulation for the first two days of the training, and you’ll be learning Strategic Doing by doing it – as well as plenty of time for unpacking why it works so you can make it your own. On the last half-day, you’ll have time to consider how to start using Strategic Doing to approach your own challenges, and get assistance from the instructors as well as your peers. Participants will receive a copy of the book: Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership (Wiley, 2019), a workbook, as well as access to an online library of resources. The workshop will start on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 8 a.m. and conclude Friday, November 8 at 1 p.m. Follow this link to access event details.

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Sourced from: Strategic Doing

Stewarding our Legacy Cities

In the center of Akron, Ohio’s newly developed main street, the city has plans to build a rubber statue. Not literally, of course. Instead, the city will honor its “Rubber City” roots with a 12-foot bronze statue of a rubber worker holding a finished tire. In a news release, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said the statue will, “pay tribute to the lives of rubber workers and their families. Without the sacrifices of these workers, Akron would not be the city it is today.” The statue makes for a great metaphor—not just for Akron, but for legacy cities across the country. Juxtaposed against a redeveloped main street, the statue pays homage to its history while acknowledging that times have changed and focusing on a new, modern economy. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Cities Speak

Leadership Research Grant Program

The Fisher Leadership Initiative Research Grant and Academic Conference is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students at The Ohio State University to generate new knowledge within the study of leadership and share practical, evidence-based solutions to leadership problems. The program provides ground for cross-disciplinary collaborations and discussions around leadership, aiming to uncover leadership challenges and test practical solutions that benefit leaders and managers across all industries. Since its inception in 2018, the Research Grant program has awarded over $100,000 in funding to collaborative and cross-disciplinary leadership research projects at The Ohio State University. This program is open to proposals from units and colleges throughout Ohio State and across all disciplines. All Ohio State University faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The Ohio State University

Conference Inspires Educator to Think About How to Help Residents Develop Careers

As a first-time participant of the National Urban Extension Conference (NUEC), I was delighted to be surrounded by Extension professionals who work within similarly diverse counties as the one I serve. Two specific things stuck with me from the conference. One was how D’Argagnan Scorza, from UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability and also Founder and Director of the Social Justice Learning Institute, challenged attendees to identify “what we do as Extension professionals.” After leaving us to think, he provided his answer “we develop.” The other presentation that stuck with me was a workforce development presentation by Geniphyr Ponce-Pore from Colorado State University. She connected 4-H’s Life Skill Wheel to the soft skills many employers seek as the basis of hiring. So, as an agricultural and natural resources (ANR) educator who is working to “develop” residents in the arena of agriculture and horticulture, how do I use this to inspire programing?

Building future career pools. The idea of building future career pools for nurseries, greenhouses, garden centers, and farms is exciting. Cross-programing 4-H and ANR could be a great opportunity to do so. Youth often only consider careers they are exposed to and see people like themselves in. In urban settings this doesn’t often include ag careers. I was left with the question of, how can I work with 4-H to widen those horizons, expose youth to careers they might have not otherwise considered? 4-H provides the soft skills and beyond. How can ANR provide the base of technical skills, experiences on farms and in greenhouses, and an introduction to the industry?

Working with adults seeking careers. In Cuyahoga, I already do some work to “develop people” who are seeking agricultural careers. We have a program called Market Gardener Training, and its goal is to allow people to learn what it takes to start their own farm business. The participants are interested in urban agriculture as a source of income and a way to provide fresh foods to their community. We have had more than 200 participants and continue to see interest year after year. The motivation to start a farm business is strong, however for some participants the agriculture and business development skills are not—this leaves people with an incredibly steep learning curve to climb.

After listening to the workforce development presentation, it got me thinking about methods and partners that could help participants climb fast. A review of new and beginning farmer programs advises practitioners to go beyond classroom lectures, to include on-farm experiential-learning, online resources, and support in building social and knowledge networks (Niewolny & Lillard, 2010). In the way of partners, there are workforce development agencies in Cleveland that focus on getting people into new careers quickly. I have a sense that workforce development agencies know the struggle of a steep learning curve and working with people who need to climb fast. I am interested in connecting with local workforce development agencies to better understand the strategies they use to address these struggles.

I still have much to explore. If anyone is working on building future career pools or working with adults seeking careers, I am interested to connect on the topic. Like the advice I give to beginning farmers, I am open to listening and learning from others for best practices and lessons learned. In this case, relating to developing people into agriculture and horticulture careers.

Niewolny, K. L., & Lillard, P. T. (2010). Expanding the boundaries of beginning farmer training and program development: A review of contemporary initiatives to cultivate a new generation of American farmers. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 65–88. Retrieved from https://www.foodsystemsjournal.org/index.php/fsj/article/view/11/4

 

Article Courtesy of Margaret Rivera, Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator, Cuyahoga County.