Summary: NACo Podcasts offer a new way to learn about all the important issues to counties. The podcasts tell the stories of innovative counties, covers new local government best practices, and provide legislative and policy updates from NACo.
NACo recently released a new podcast focusing on economic diversification and transition in coal-reliant communities. Due to the recent downturn in the coal industry, communities that have been economically reliant on the coal industry for generations are facing severe challenges and uncertainty. In 2014, NACo formed a partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (mailto:https://www.eda.gov) and the National Association of Development Organization Research Foundation (mailto:http://www.nado.org) to assist county and regional leaders in places seeking new approaches to economic development. This partnership launched the Coal-Reliant Communities Innovation Challenge (http://www.naco.org/resources/programs-and-initiatives/coal-reliant-communities-innovation-challenge) , the centerpiece of which was three training workshops held in 2015 in Kentucky, Colorado, and West Virginia. These team-based training workshops provided counties and regions with technical assistance to create strategies for economic diversification and job creation. This podcast highlights innovative approaches to economic diversification that developed from this program, and features three communities that are implementing strategies to diversify local and regional economies. The podcast participants include: * Erik Pages, President of EntreWorks Consulting, joins the podcast to discuss national trends in economic diversification and identify common community strategy themes. * Duane Miller, Deputy Director of LENOWISCO Planning District Commission(VA), outlines how Wise County, Va., is focusing on developing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry cluster. * Sandi Curd of the Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone describes Harlan County, Ky.’s plan to focus on critical infrastructure, including preparing for broadband development. * Katelin Cook, Economic Development Director for Rio Blanco County, Colo., discusses the county’s proactive strategies around branding and recreation; downtown revitalization; and broadband development. More resources for any community--not just coal-reliant communities--interested in diversifying and transitioning economies can also be found at the new web portal developed through these efforts: www.diversifyeconomies.org (http://www.diversifyeconomies.org/)
With the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, Counties Connect America – NACo’s 2016 U.S. Presidential Initiative – provides a look at how county officials underscore the importance of a strong intergovernmental partnership.
From 2014-2015, 26 government leaders from across the country participated in the White House’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, with the goal of providing President Obama with in-depth information about how the federal government can help local governments better prepare for and address climate resilience issues. Many of the task force members are governors and mayors, and three county officials were also invited to participate. They include Commissioner Paula Brooks from Franklin County, Ohio and Supervisor Salud Carbajal from Santa Barbara County, California.
In 2015, NACo worked with five counties across the country (Titus County, Texas; Shasta County, Calif. Scott County, Ky.; Cheatham County, Tenn.; and Cape May County, N.J.) to host County Prosperity Summits. At these one-day summits, national experts joined with local leaders to generate creative solutions around local economic opportunities using the WealthWorks framework, which focuses on using local assets to grow local wealth. In each county, we spoke with summit participants to learn about their reasons for hosting a summit and how they plan to use what they learned to build wealth in their communities.
The term ‘food system’ refers to all of the elements involved with food in a community, including growing, harvesting, processing and distributing, as well as food consumption and disposal. Counties are focused on building thriving food systems which include healthy, locally grown products, nutritious meals and equitable distribution of high quality foods. This podcast explores how Yolo County, Calif. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are strengthening local food systems by improving food security, ensuring access to nutritional food and bolstering the viability of America’s agricultural industry.
Many counties are collaborating across political boundaries to share services, resources, or capacities with neighboring counties, cities, or local tribes. Collaboration can result in economies of scale that increase effectiveness and efficiency. This podcast explores this approach, which is called cross-jurisdictional sharing. The Center for Sharing Public Health Services is a national resource on cross-jurisdictional sharing. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and managed by the Kansas Health Institute. For more information, visit the Center’s website at phsharing.org.
New research (http://www.naco.org/research/Pages/countyadministrators.aspx) shows that many county governments turn to county administrators to help deliver core services like health care, criminal justice, public infrastructure and economic development. Peter Austin, McHenry County, Ill. Administrator discusses his experience with the responsibilities, challenges and successes as an appointed county administrator.
Counties in states that have expanded Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have the opportunity to enroll newly eligible detainees or inmates into Medicaid coverage, which can reduce recidivism and lower county health care costs. One county that has embraced this opportunity is Cook County, Ill. In October 2012, Cook County received permission from the federal government to start early enrollment of newly eligible individuals into Medicaid—and in April of 2013 began the Jail Enrollment Project for newly eligible detainees and inmates at the Cook County Jail. Leaders from the County Board, Sheriff’s Office and Health and Hospitals System came together to develop a plan to enroll individuals in the jail and connect them with health coverage and services. In this episode, we hear from several of those leaders – Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and CEO of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, Dr. John Jay Shannon – about why jail enrollment is so important to each of their systems.
As part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, Roadmaps to Health Community Coaching is available to local leaders across the country to strengthen their capacity to address health in their communities. Community Coaches bring experience and knowledge with a host of different backgrounds to assist local leaders in advancing their efforts to build a Culture of Health. In this episode we sit down with County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program Co-Director Julie Willems Van Dijk to discuss the Roadmaps to Health Community Coaching program. We are also joined by Commissioner Bill Butticci from Gem County, Idaho and Kate Konkle, the Roadmaps to Health Community Coach that worked with Gem County, to learn about how the program works in practice. This podcast features music from Broke For Free and Chris Zabriskie.
Employers across the country are exploring employee wellness programs as a way to improve the health of their employees while mitigating health care costs. What type of employee wellness programs do counties have? What does it take in terms resources to develop a comprehensive program? Have any counties seen a return on their investment? To answer these questions, we sat down with officials from Hopkins County, Ky. and Santa Fe County, N.M. to discuss how each county implemented an employee wellness program. This podcast features music from Broke for Free, The Underscore Orkestra and Monk Turner.
Rural county leaders across the country use strategic planning to tackle local challenges. Through innovative best practices in community planning, counties take advantage of their place-based assets to address community needs and encourage economic growth. NACo recently spoke with Jamie Hart, senior planner with the Madison County Planning Department in New York, and Kate Somers, program manager at the Randolph County Housing Authority in West Virginia, to discuss new strategies for community planning that address a variety of topics including smart growth, the aging population and workforce development. This podcast features music from Broke for Free, Christian Bjoerklund and Digital Primitives.
The first few years of life are among the most important years of an individual’s life. According to UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/earlychildhood/index_40748.html), “the early years of childhood form the basis of intelligence, personality, social behavior, and capacity to learn and nurture oneself as an adult.” Because of this critical role, counties are taking a leading role to ensure children have a healthy development by investing in programs and services that strengthen access to quality care, education, and will lead to children growing up in safe and thriving communities. In this podcast we sit down with county leaders from Palm Beach County, Fla. and Arapahoe County Colo. to learn what they are doing to help strengthen the lives of the next generation. This podcast features music from Broke for Free. The post image comes from Howard County Library System (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hocolibrary/).
Every year, more than 2 million children, youth, and young adults formally come into contact with the juvenile justice system. As many as 65 to 70 percent of these juveniles have at least one diagnosable mental health need, and 20 to 25 percent have serious emotional issues. An effective way to meet the mental health and related needs of this population is through what’s called a “system of care.” System of care communities offer comprehensive community-based services and supports and are built on planned and thoughtful programming, strong interagency collaboration, and sustained funding. In this podcast, we provide an overview of systems of care, and sit down with several counties who have implemented systems of care in their communities. This podcast features music from Broke for Free, Chris Zabriskie and Gabl.
Counties play an essential role in the development and maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure. They are responsible for building and maintaining 45% of the public roads, 230,690 bridges and are involved in a third of the nation’s transit and airport systems that connect residents, businesses and communities. Without a resilient and functioning transportation system, a functioning economy – and a functioning county – simply can’t exist. At NACo’s 2014 Annual Conference and Exposition, we were joined by David Cole, who is a former Transportation Commissioner for the State of Maine from 2003-2011, and who has spent his career focused on economic development. During this podcast, he discusses how transportation and infrastructure investment shapes economic development. This podcast features music from Broke for Free, Christian Bjoerklund and Yacht.
This year, NACo is celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Achievement Awards program. Started in 1970, the annual NACo Achievement Awards program recognizes the innovative work that counties do every day to modernize government and increase services to citizens. We sat down with NACo ‘s First and Second Vice Presidents, Commissioners Sallie Clark and Bryan Desloge, to discuss the value of the program to both our members and the organization. This podcast features music from Broke for Free.