By Robert Clark, MPH
Family Engagement Network, Pima County, AZ
February 18, 2020 – Reflecting on the past year, the Family Engagement Network (FEN) is grateful to connect with peer communities in the Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW) Learning Community in person at the convenings and digitally to share challenges and small wins. We currently have 23 working families enrolled in a workforce development program that are receiving high-quality child care scholarships for their children ages 0-5. As parents enter their workforce development programs and their children are attending high-quality childcare in proximity to either their homes or workplace, Pamela, a member of FEN, has ensured program participants are ready for success.
As the network moves forward in 2020, we have clarified our mission and vision. FEN’s mission is to equip families with education and skills to decrease poverty in Pima County. Our vision is that families have the support and resources necessary to engage in workforce development in order to ascend out of poverty allowing Pima County employers to be equipped with a skilled workforce.
In Boston at the 2019 National Leadership Community Summit, it was one workshop around Human-Centered Design that provided that needed clarity in our FEN structure. A top guiding principle of the network is to value the voices of parents in the community and honor their experiences, a notion reinforced by learnings from the workshop.
The next steps include expanding our network to four new partner organizations in Pima County, AZ. Partner expansion has been a priority for FEN. After the rollout of the scholarship program, we are now preparing to partner with new workforce development programs to expand reach and provide supports for families as they enter the workforce after obtaining their credentials. JobPath (a workforce development organization), the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona (an advocacy partner in leveraging more funding for scholarships and workforce development options), the Momma Project (a community health worker program for single mothers) and the Primavera Foundation (a financial stability organization in Southern Arizona) are the four new partners that attended an FEN orientation in January.
FEN was also excited to host Vital Village extraordinaire Ronda Alexander at Pima Community College at the end of January. We hosted a second community action lab with our new partners in the room. The lab was interactive and the group enjoyed Ronda’s facilitation through a consensus building activity. We also planned our next 90 day challenge with the intent to host a parents-as-consultants feedback session on the rollout and implementation of the scholarship program. The session will include journey mapping, an interactive tool reinforced by Human-Centered Design.
(Ronda Alexander leading a consensus building activity to new partners of FEN)
This multi-generational approach would not be possible without the technical assistance and support from the NOW Learning Community. 2020 is the year of expansion and we are looking forward to a bright and unblurry future.
To learn more about the Family Engagement Network, visit: https://www.networksofopportunity.org/lc-profile-fen-az.