Archive for the ‘ Partnership ’ Category

Twin Cities RISE!

Twin Cities RISE! St. Paul location

Twin Cities RISE! St. Paul location

About Twin cities RISE!

460 Lexington Parkway N., Saint Paul
(651) 603-0295

Open House

Twin Cities RISE! will host an open house in St. Paul Nov. 4 from 3 to 6 p.m.

As a result of extreme poverty and negative self-image, many struggle to find suitable employment. Since 1994, Twin Cities RISE! has helped to end the cycle of failure for individuals lacking education, resources and self-esteem, especially those battling with criminal histories or patterns of substance abuse. The belief at RISE! is that every person deserves a chance to soar. With a program that is free for participants, RISE! trains clients in job skills, helps them get GEDs, and places them in internships in the areas of office support, warehouse operations, and construction, with the goal of achieving permanent job placement.

Where RISE! differs from other job training programs is its focus — not strictly based on technical or “hard” skills, this program is rooted on teaching empowerment, meaning the cultivation of the “soft” skills of self-esteem, respect for self and others. Participants work one-on-one with a coach, learning skills for permanent placement in a career that pays living wages, benefits and offers opportunities for advancement. The goals are set by the clients, who learn they control their own destiny.

We spoke with both Shelly Jacobson, Chief Operating Officer, and Cynthia Micolichek, Director of Human Resources and Special Projects. Jacobson said the biggest challenge has been the time and commitment it takes to complete the program. “When you are hungry and need a job, you need a job. It is a real commitment to wait six, eight, or 18 months [clients choose from several options]. We do encourage participants to work part-time and offer day and evening classes for this reason. But people get nervous and scared,” she said. To make the program more accessible, RISE! partners with other agencies to deal with issues of transportation, childcare, housing, health and psychological care. “We want to bring positive things and be an anchor to help the community thrive,” added Micolichek.

RISE! serves those facing many obstacles with 58 percent of their clients having a criminal history. Many of the women have come from abusive relationships and are single parents. But the success rate has been astonishing with 82 percent of graduates still holding their jobs after one year, and 72 percent after two years. Graduates of the program also have an extremely low recidivism rate of 12 percent — compared to the national average of 61 percent. Even with the recent layoffs and economic downturn, RISE! steadily placed graduates in jobs in 2009 and 2010 with an average yearly income of $24,488.

“We strive to develop leaders in the community and in the marketplace. The graduates really stand out — we look for problem solvers, team players, people who seek solutions and have internal reflection,” said Jacobson. The most rewarding moment, both women agreed, is when a client achieves final job placement — a large bell rings in the hallway at RISE! to mark the occasion. “Everyone stops what they are doing and goes to celebrate,” said Jacobson, “and that is the most satisfying moment.”

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JUST Equity

Veronica Burt

Veronica Burt

Veronica Burt, public policy advocate and organizer for JUST Equity, works diligently with other community organizations within the African American community in the historic Rondo neighborhood. Their shared passion for racial justice and equitable development brings awareness to community members so that they can voice their questions and concerns.

“We look at the large development projects and the impact they will have on the communities around them,” says Burt. “I look at the policies that exist on the books, to see if they will be beneficial or harmful to the community and then work to organize our communities to take action.”

JUST Equity is a network of several local community development groups, including the Aurora/Saint Anthony NDC, North Side Development Council and the NAACP (Saint Paul Chapter), all African Americans working for the betterment of their communities.

They are looking at the Central Corridor light rail line as one such project, with the hindsight of the construction of Interstate 94, in the 1960s through the Rondo neighborhood; they are hoping to see something different with this transportation project.

Community members were made aware of the project when it was still in the beginning stages and were able to ask questions about positive and negative impact on their communities and livelihoods.

JUST Equity has set out with the goal of “Lifting our community members out of poverty and not out of the community,” Burt said.

“We want to stay in our neighborhoods and we want to thrive,” says Burt. “The end goal to our particular effort and emphasis is essentially, development that takes place in this community that would be a benefit to the African American community. … What we want is a Rondo Renaissance … a revitalization vision that honors our community’s history, helps preserve what we have left in Rondo, helps restore components of the Rondo community, and builds wealth for our community members.”

JUST Equity seeks to be a partner with government agencies so that, together, they may be thoughtful planners of projects that lead to restoring and healing our communities.

About JUST Equity

JUST Equity is a network of several local community organizations, including Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, North Side Development Council, and the Saint Paul Chapter of the NAACP.

More info

Veronica Burt, Public Policy Advocate/Organizer
Email

Ordway Wants Your Input

Building a Federal Infrastructure for Nonprofits

Please join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, the Minnesota Council on Foundations and special guest Congresswoman Betty McCollum for a conversation about the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act on October 14 at “Building a Federal Infrastructure for Nonprofit Organizations” in St. Paul.

Despite the importance of the nonprofit sector to the U.S. economy and to the success of many policy initiatives, no federal body has responsibility for promoting or building the capacity of the nonprofit sector, or for collecting data on nonprofits. The Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act (H.R. 5533) is intended to make the federal government a more productive partner with nonprofit organizations by improving communication and coordination within government and enhancing knowledge about the sector.

Minnesota nonprofits have a unique opportunity to learn about and engage with the chief author of this initiative on October 14. Join special guest Rep. Betty McCollum (4th Congressional District, MN) and a panel of nonprofit leaders to discuss the bill and provide feedback on how this opportunity can advance the interests of Minnesota and U.S. nonprofits.

Date: Thursday, October 14
Time: 1:00 p.m.– 2:30 p.m.
Location: Neighborhood House, 179 Robie Street East, Saint Paul 55107-2360
Fee: Free, but please RSVP
RSVP: Register online now and select “RSVP for Free Events, Briefings and Convenings.”

Read a summary of the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act.

Bethel in the Neighborhood

Photo courtesy of Bethel University

Bethel University has been partnering with the Frogtown/Summit-University area of St. Paul for 12 years, providing early childhood education through a Bethel-owned preschool, offering tutoring and mentoring at Frogtown/Summit-U sites, sending students on service learning assignments, and even offering courses in the area through Bethel’s College of Adult & Professional Studies. This summer, 7 Bethel College of Arts & Sciences students are spending 12 weeks serving in Frogtown/Summit-U. Read about them and their works in the community on Bethel’s News & Events page.

Women’s Health Screening

FRAN Partner Profile: Social Justice in Action

Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director of Jewish Community Action, knows how beneficial it is to partner with other organizations to meet a common goal. That is why he and other dedicated, passionate people at JCA are collaborating with Frogtown Rondo Action Network, not only during the upcoming construction on the Central Corridor Light Rail project, but also well beyond that for the health of a multicultural community a long way down the road.

Vic Rosenthal

Vic Rosenthal of JCA

JCA is one of 10 community-based organizations working together as FRAN. With a heart and passion all their own, JCA makes up a key element to this group. JCA’s members have strategically placed themselves inside and outside of synagogues for all Jews who are interested in social justice, no matter where they are. The door is open to everyone, Rosenthal said. The hope was, when they started 14 years ago to be a “Jewish voice for social and economic justice in the community … to be able to put their values and religion into action,” said Rosenthal. “There were a lot of other religious voices in the community and this seemed to be missing.”

JCA’s very mission plays perfectly into what they have begun doing with FRAN, building power within Frogtown and Rondo by forming alliances or collaborations with other organizations and government. By creating and being a part of these alliances, “people who think alike and care about the same issues, are able to work together to advance a common agenda,” Rosenthal said.

To read more about Rosenthal and the JCA, pick up the Aurora/St. Anthony spring newsletter, which should hit the streets in about a week.