Posts Tagged ‘ Saint Paul ’

Toni Carter

Toni Carter

Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter

In 1971, Toni Carter moved to Northfield, Minn. to attend Carleton College — a liberal arts school located near the Twin Cities. Upon graduating, she moved to St. Paul, where she became an active member in the community.

“As a young person coming here from Carleton, I was active in a lot of ways,” Carter said of her beginnings, “I was an artist and a performer who became very involved with theatre.”

Upon entering her mid-twenties, however, her lifestyle began to shift. “My activities changed as I grew up and had children,” Carter said, “and I became involved with business and the community in a much deeper way.” Now, after more than 30 years of service to Ramsey County, this deep involvement has not gone unnoticed.

Carter is currently the Commissioner of District 4 in Ramsey County and has been since 2005. In the years since her term began, the Commissioner has dedicated herself to a variety of issues and hopes to continue doing so through re-election in November.

One of the Commissioner’s top priorities is the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line — the transportation corridor that will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. While the construction continues on this project, the Commissioner plans to focus on support for local businesses and neighborhoods, and resolve outstanding issues such as parking.

“The Light Rail Transit is really good for a number of reasons,” the Commissioner said. “We know for sure that it will create jobs — at least for a period of time.”

Other county projects that will allow for job expansion include the restoration of the Roseville Library and the creation of new buildings around the city. “We hope to have a continual flow of work in order to ensure jobs for years to come,” she said, “we want to create living wages for the people in our community.”

The Central Corridor Light Rail will also create new opportunities for quality, affordable housing — a change that can already be seen in many areas of the community. “People can see the structures being built and they get amped up because of it,” she said.

The Commissioner believes that new jobs and more housing will have a positive effect on youth in the community. “Making jobs available is key to creating a vibrant home environment,” she said. “We need to work together in order to provide the best for our children.”

One program the Commissioner uses to reach youth is the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative — a systems reform that reduces the number of detained youth in detention centers in Ramsey County. Since 2005, the number of detained youth has decreased by 70 percent. The Commissioner plans to continue building support and spreading the initiative statewide.

Along with her duties as Commissioner of District 4, Carter also serves as chair of the Association of Minnesota Counties Human Services Policy Committee, and of Ramsey County’s Legislative, Human Services and Workforce, and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Stakeholder Committees. Commissioner Carter also serves on the leadership teams of Ramsey County’s Workforce Investment Board, the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative and the Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative.

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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.”

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

Sustainable Development Events

Central Corridor light rail station rendering

From St. Paul City Council Member Russ Stark:

I’d like to invite you to an upcoming visit to Saint Paul by Brian Coleman from the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center in Brooklyn, NY. He will be coming to share his experiences and insights on providing space for small manufacturing enterprises, artisans, and artists. GMDC currently owns and manages five rehabilitated properties occupied by more than 100 businesses that employ more than 500 people.

There will be two events on Thursday, November 4, that are open to the public — one a working lunch and the other an evening session.

University United, Public Art Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Port Authority, the Asian Economic Development Association, and the Midway Chamber, and I have put up funds that will be matched by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative to make this visit possible. The topic to be discussed dovetails with the current efforts of the West Midway Study and Creative Enterprise Zone Study (University and Raymond area), as well as larger city-wide economic development conversations.

For more information and to register for the November 4 lunch, please click here. Please register soon, as space is limited

If you plan to attend the evening session on November 4, please go here for more information and to RSVP.

Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to this upcoming opportunity for dialogue about the Greenpoint model and similar possibilities for our local economy. I hope you can join us.

Questions? Contact:

Samantha Henningson
Councilmember Russ Stark’s Office
Email
(65) 266-8641

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.

Saint Paul Receives $50,000 Green Jobs Grant

The Saint Paul City Council has accepted a $50,000 Green Training Grant from the Minnesota State Energy Sector Partnership. The City of Saint Paul, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research, will use the grant to develop a curriculum and provide training on the Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy.

The Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy is the first policy in Minnesota that requires compliance with energy efficiency and sustainable development standards for new municipal buildings and private construction receiving $200,000 or more in City or Housing and Redevelopment Authority funding. The Minnesota State Grant will fund training for developers, architects, contractors, city staff and others in the private and public sectors on how to comply with The Sustainable Building Policy, in addition to providing green development skills in general.

The Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy was developed with the goal to serve as a model for other local governments in Minnesota and beyond. Following the successful implementation of the training program in Saint Paul, the City and CSBR will offer the training and materials to other municipalities and organizations.

For more information, contact Keith Hovis by email or by phone at (651) 266-8571.

Mayor Coleman Seeks Interns

City of St. Paul LogoA message from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman:

As the summer draws to a close, I would like to invite any college students from around the metro to apply for a fall internship with my office.

This summer we had an incredible batch of interns, spending their summer helping my staff research policy, assist the communications staff and perform various administrative tasks. They were outstanding, and I wish them the best of luck.

I am always amazed at the young men and women who come participate in our internship program. Each one has been actively engaged with their community and poised to become a strong civic leader.

lf you or someone you know are interested, here are the details:

To apply for an internship in the Office of the Mayor, please submit the following materials listed below in one package.

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • List with references (2 minimum)
  • Writing Sample (one page maximum)

Only complete application packages will be accepted for consideration. Please submit your completed application to Keith Hovis. You can also send your application by mail:

Office of Mayor Christopher B. Coleman
Attn: Keith Hovis
390 City Hall
15 West Kellogg Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55102