Region 5 Initiative Aims To Create Inclusive, Welcoming Communities

Region 5 Initiative Aims To Create Inclusive, Welcoming Communities


>>>A PROGRAM IN THE REGION FIVE AREA IS WORKING TO ENSURE THAT AREA COMMUNITIES ARE WELCOMING TO ALL INDIVIDUALS, NO MATTER THEIR BACKGROUND OR DEMOGRAPHIC. THE WELCOMING COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE HOSTED AN EVENT TO CELEBRATE THE PROGRESS THE PROGRAM HAS MADE SINCE IT FIRST LAUNCHED A YEAR AGO. REPORTER RACHEL JOHNSON HAS MORE.>>EVERYONE AIMS TO LIVE AND WORK IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE WELCOMING. A NEW PROGRAM FACILITATED BY THE REGION FIVE DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION IS WORKING TO ENSURE THAT THAT IS POSSIBLE FOR EVERYONE NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE.>>THERE’S SO MANY WAYS TO SAY WE WELCOME YOU AND WE REALLY WANT YOU TO — YOUR LIFESTYLE AND YOUR CULTURE AND YOUR VALUES TO BE PART OF THIS COMMUNITY.>>THE WELCOMING COMMUNITY’S INITIATIVE KICKED OFF ONE YEAR AGO, BUT THE IDEA FOR THE PROGRAM ORIGINATED IN 2017. THE PROGRAM IS FUNDED BY A FOUNDATION, THE NORTHWEST AREA FOUNDATION AND SOURCEWELL.>>WE STARTED REALLY DIGGING INTO WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS BE DOING TO BE MORE WELCOMING TO EMPLOYEES BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THERE’S A WORKFORCE SHORTAGE. ONCE YOU GET THE EMPLOYEES HERE, IT IS THE COMMUNITY THAT’S GOING TO KEEP THEM HERE, NOT JUST THE JOB >>THE INITIATIVE AIMS TO ENHANCE WORKFORCE ATTRACTION, HELP COMMUNITIES BE COMPETITIVE AND PROVIDE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROSPERITY FOR EVERYONE.>>THIS IS A TIME WHEN WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LEAVE ANYBODY BEHIND. COMPANIES IN RURAL AREAS NEED WORKERS. COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS NEED ENGAGEMENT.>>THE PROGRAM AIMS TO ACCOMPLISH THIS BY BRINGING TOGETHER COMMUNITY ADVOCACY GROUPS FROM ALL AREAS AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF — OF THE COMMUNITY.>>OVER THE COURSE OF 18 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS WE WILL MEET WITH COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THEIR COMMUNITY LOOKS LIKE AND MAYBE WHAT THEY COULD BE DOING DIFFERENTLY >>AS DIVERSE AS MUCH AS WE CAN BE IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA, PUBLIC, PRIVATE, NONPROFIT VOICES AND STUDENT VOICES.>>PEOPLE WHO WANT TO STAY WILL BUILD A FUTURE AND INVEST BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY ITSELF >>THIS APPROACH IS ABOUT WHERE WE CAN MEET IN THE MIDDLE. LET’S NOT LEAVE ANYBODY ON THE SIDE LINE. LET’S NOT SIGNAL ANYONE THAT THEY ARE NOT A PART OF THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMUNITY. LET’S BRING EVERYONE INTO THE ROOM, SHARE OUR PERSPECTIVES AND HOPE AND FIGURE WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER >>THE WELCOME COMMUNITY INITIATIVE HAS BEEN OFF THE GROUND FOR THE YEAR, AND THEY ARE ALREADY SEEING ITS POSITIVE IMPACTS AND ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE IT MAY HOLD. REPORTING FROM BRAINERD, RACHEL JOHNSON, LAKELAND NEWS.>>IF ANYONE HAS AN IDEA FOR A COMMUNITY PROJECT THAT WOULD BENEFIT THE WELCOMING COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE, THEY ARE

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