In mid-May, staff from Neighborhood Partnerships attended the Northwest Area Foundation conference, Grassroots & Groundwork, here in Portland, OR. The conference was focused on strategies to end poverty and featured sessions around asset building strategies, improving state policies, partnering with employment systems, green jobs, increasing access to healthy food, and other great sessions!
All of the presentations were recorded, and are now available for downloading on the NWAF website.
NP staff attended several sessions, including:
- Innovations in Job Training & Workforce Development Programs. Presenters from New York City talked about their effort to create job training programs that really worked for their communities. There were several models discussed, including a Jobs-Plus Model that targeted public housing residents, and brought job training and intensive services on-site for residents. The New York City Housing Authority also participated in this pilot, removing disincentives to work through their rent policies for tenants participating in the program. Another model discussed was a prisoner re-entry program for youth coming from the criminal justice program. This six month program included job training, skill building, community service projects, internships, and job or education placement.
- Your Public Policy Toolkit to Reduce Poverty. This workshop presented by STEP, or Strategies to Eliminate Poverty, talked about the importance of well designed state policy as a way to create significant change. The workshop discussed federal anti-poverty efforts, including efforts to reform poverty measures; asset cliffs and barriers; coalition efforts to end poverty and increase economic security. This session highlighted several efforts around the country, including South Dakota Voices for Children, a coalition focused on child poverty. This group also participates in a multi-state Bridge to Benefits program—a benefits calculator for families.
- Effective Advocacy Campaigns through Cross-Cultural Collaboration. Portland-based leaders from three culturally distinct nonprofit community development organizations established the Housing Organizations of Color Coalition to develop joint action plans related to the housing needs, aspirations, and challenges faced by African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. Historically, these groups have approached their issues in isolation. Their outstanding presentation focused on finding strength through collaboration and the benefits of approaching policy challenges with a strong, united voice.
Grassroots & Groundwork was a great conference—thank you so much to Northwest Area Foundation for their work and thanks also for bringing it to Portland!