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County Solutions and Innovation Blog​​
Launch of Second Round of 100 Resilient Cities ChallengeNew

Written by Kathy Nothstine​, NACo Program Director.
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The application period for the second round of the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open.  NACo encourages counties to collaborate with municipalities to engage in this program and foster greater resilience amid ever-changing conditions.

Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.  100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks — such as earthquakes, fires and floods — but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. 

In 2013, the inaugural class of 32 cities was selected to form the first part of this network.  100RC is seeking applications from additional cities this year to facilitate information-sharing and build a core global practice of resilience among governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and individual citizens.  Cities identified during the 2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge will be eligible to receive:

  • funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer,

  • assistance in developing a resilience strategy,

  • access to a platform of innovative private- and public-sector tools to help design and implement that strategy, and

  • membership in the 100...

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2 days ago | 0

NACo Past President Chris Rodgers: Counties Can Improve Juvenile Justice System Outcomes

​Written by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate

chris-rodgers.pngAs the primary local provider of health, justice and social services, counties have the responsibility and opportunity to improve their juvenile justice systems. Current detention strategies are increasingly being shown to be ineffective, but counties can implement comprehensive, collaborative, evidence-based programs and policies that bolster public safety and improve human outcomes.  This is the message that NACo Immediate Past President Chris Rodgers, Commissioner from Douglas County, Neb., wants county leaders to hear.

Commissioner Rodgers authored an op-ed encouraging county leaders to take a look at the juvenile justice systems in their community and noting that many current juvenile justice programs and practices are not only expensive but also ineffective. 

Among the many issues with the current juvenile justice system:

  • It’s expensive, often costing counties hundreds of dollars per day per child

  • It’s unproductive, increasing the likelihood that a child will be arrested later in life, and

  • It’s overreaching, locking many kids up for nonviolent offenses.

Read the entire op-ed here to learn more about Commissioner Rodgers’s call to action and what counties can do to improve their juvenile justice systems.

For more information about juvenile justice reform, visit Models for Change and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. NACo is partnering with Models for Changeto educate county leaders about improvements t...

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2 weeks ago | 0

Watch NACo's Technology and Innovation Summit Live Online

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Unable to attend the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference in New Orleans from July 11-14?  We would like to invite you to participate via live streaming in all or part of the Technology Innovation Summit that takes place on Friday, July 11 in New Orleans. This summit is geared to the county elected official, so the focus is on sharing innovative solutions and practices rather than the technologies deployed. Click here to access the agenda.

There are TWO (2) simple steps to participate in the event:

  1. Register for COIN: go to www.countyinnovation.us/wapps/user/register and create an account. 

  2. Log in and access the event: go to www.countyinnovation.us/t/techinnovation, click "Register for the event now," log into your COIN account and access the event live this Friday!

Please note that times are CDT - Central Daylight Time.  Featured sessions include:

8:30 –
10:00 a.m.

Behind the Headlines: What Every Elected Official Should Know About Cybersecurity

Recent headlines confirm cybersecurity breaches happen to everyone including: retail, telecommunications, finance, food service and government.  As an elected official, accountable to your electorate, you need to be prepared to act appropriately before, during and after an attack.  You don't need to be overwhelmed with technical details.  This interactive ses...

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2 weeks ago | 0

Investing In The Social Safety Net: Health Care’s Next Frontier

Jennifer DeCubellis, Hennepin County, Minn. Assistant County Administrator – Health, and Leon Evans, Chief Exectuive Officer of the Center for Health Care Services in Bexar County, Texas have written a thought-provoking article, Investing in the Social Safety Net: Health Care’s Next Frontier, the Health Affairs Blog. Below is a sneak peak to the blogpost.

Investing In The Social SafetyNet: Health Care’s Next Frontier

The United States spends 250 percent more than any other developed country on health care services, yet we are ranked below 16 other countries in overall life expectancy. A less frequently discussed statistic, however, is the degree to which the U.S. under-invests in social services: for every dollar spent on health care, only 50 cents is invested in social services. In comparison, other developed countries spend roughly $2 on social services for every dollar spent on health care. The U.S. is 10th among developed countries in its combined investment in health care and social services.

This imbalance has ramifications for the nation’s Medicaid program, where just five percent of beneficiaries with complex health and social problems drive more than 50 percent of all program costs. Many individuals in this high-cost group have chronic complex medical, behavioral health, and/or supportive service needs, and in the absence of coordinated intervention, they tend to be fre...

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2 weeks ago | 0

New NACo Publication: A Workforce that Works: County Innovations in Workforce Development

​Writtent by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
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The National Association of Counties recently released a new issue brief that demonstrates the importance of a quality workforce as one of the most important factors for promoting county economic competitiveness.  A Workforce that Works: County Innovations inWorkforce Development showcases county-level strategies in workforce development by highlighting four counties that are aligning workforce development with economic development efforts to sustain a competitive and healthy economy.

The publication is organized around three central themes, representing workforce system innovations that are emerging across the country. The three themes are:

  • Pursuing Sector-Driven Strategies: A sector-driven approach to workforce development focuses on the needs of employers in a specific industry, provides new employment opportunities and builds knowledge about the needs and challenges within a particular industry.

  • Investing in Education and Workforce Preparedness: Counties can prioritize, adapt and coordinate education and workforce preparedness programs, partnerships and initiatives in training and education programs to successfully create a pipeline of skilled workers ready to match business demands.

  • Advancing Data-Driven Approaches: Access to accurate, easily shared data is a crucial resource for counties to better understand local demographic trends and how to guide investments of limited government resources in workforce development initiatives.

Overall, the examples provided hereindicate that county leaders can employ a variety of strategies to deliver wo...

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3 weeks ago | 0

Economic Risks of Climate Change

Written by Alyssum PohlNOAA Digital Coast Fellow​

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Source: Rhodium Group, Risky Business Report

A new report, “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change” summarizes findings of an independent assessment of the impact of climate change at the county, state, and regional level.  Specifically, the report shows projected average summer temperatures at the county level by 2100 and their key impacts in each of six regions within the continental U.S., as well as Hawaii and Alaska.  

The report provides policymakers, communities, and businesses with information about the risks they may face by pairing economic data with climate change projections. You can download the report and learn more here


3 weeks ago | 0

Guidebook on Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow​​

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​Source: World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute have released a guidebook, Coastal Capital: Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean.  Although this report focuses on Caribbean locations, the methods used are useful for economic valuation practitioners—both economists and non-economists—who want to conduct economic valuation of coastal ecosystems to inform decision making.  

They show not only how to conduct a sound analysis, but also how to explicitly link the valuation to a policy question, identify and engage stakeholders, communicate strategically, and to report findings transparently.  To read more about the guidebook, click here.  To download the guidebook, click here.  ​

3 weeks ago | 0

Planning Resilient Water Systems: County Case Studies

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow​

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The first publication in our three-part series on coastal resiliency is now available.  “Planning Resilient Water Systems: County Case Studi​es” shares two examples of counties that have experienced negative effects of poor water quality and are now striving to reverse this course.  

Water quality standards measure three important features: how safe the water is for human contact, how safe it is for drinking and the health of an ecosystem.  A critical component of community resilience is responsible stewardship of our water bodies, which are vital resources for human, economic and ecological health.  

Both Bucks County, Pa. and Suffolk County, N.Y. have created detailed plans to guide future water quality improvements through sediment reduction and wastewater management, respectively.  In each case, the counties have found that partnerships have been key components for achieving success. 

Keep an eye out for future coastal resiliency publications that will focus on case studies about severe weather and climate change adaptation as well as ecosystem management. ​ 



3 weeks ago | 0

Health Beyond Health Care: How Counties Are Improving Community Health by Focusing on Issues Other Than Clinical Services and Access to Care

​Written by Andrew Whitacre​, NACo Health Associate.

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This blog post is part of a series highlighting counties that are working to improve public health by focusing on issues outside of clinical services and access to care. The post was adapted from answers provided by the county to a series of questions about their public health programs. This series will lead up to an interactive workshop at NACo’s 79th Annual Conference and Exposition in Orleans Parish, Louisiana on Sunday, July 13th from 2:30-4pm that explores how counties are looking beyond clinical services and access to care to improve the health of their communities.

Wyandotte County, Kans. has a population of over 160,000 people and is part of a unified government with Kansas City, Kan. The 2009 County Health Rankings listed Wyandotte County as last in the state of Kansas in health outcomes and factors. This led Mayor Joe Reardon to convene a set of community stakeholders in an 18-month, community health improvement planning process that engaged leaders and residents in the community. The end result was a plan that settled on five focus areas: Communications, Education, Health Services, Infrastructure and Nutrition. These areas were chosen because the county believed, based on the County Health Rankings, that addressin...

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4 weeks ago | 0

NACo Releases New Issue Brief for Sustainable Port Operations

​Written by Rob Pressly, NACo Program Manager.
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Earlier this week, the National Association of Counties released its latest issue brief, Sustainable Ports: Strategies for Port Development and Operations, as a guide for county leaders to understand the importance of operating ports in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

Ports are major drivers of trade and economic activity, with some 360 public commercial ports throughout the U.S. Each year these ports handle more than two billion tons of domestic cargo, and are also responsible for exporting 99.4 percent of all of the country’s goods for international trade. Seaports provide 471,000 direct jobs, support another 543,000 induced jobs from port activities and provide an average annual salary $12,000 higher than the national average. Port activity is expected to grow substantially in the coming years—following the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015, the total amount of cargo transported through U.S. ports in 2020 will grow by more than 50 percent compared to 2001 levels.

While port activities can be an economic boon to counties, it’s important that county and port officials take an active role in minimizing a port’s impact on the natural environment and surrounding communities. Improving rail and highway infrastructure ...

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4 weeks ago | 0

RWJF Announces Culture of Health Prize Winners for Innovative Efforts to Improve Health

​Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.
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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced the six communities chosen as winners of this year’s RWJF Culture of Health Prize. The prize honors the efforts and accomplishments of communities that are beacons of hope and progress for healthier people and families. The six communities, including three counties, are Brownsville, Texas; Buncombe County, North Carolina; Durham County, North Carolina; Spokane County, Washington; Taos Pueblo, New Mexico; and Williamson, West Virginia. The RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners were announced at the Aspen Ideas Festival Spotlight: Health. Learn more​ about the winners and watch video profiles of each community.

“We applaud the recipients of this year’s RWJF Culture of Health Prize,” said National Association of Counties (NACo) President Linda Langston, Supervisor, Linn County, Iowa. “Counties play a vital role in the health and well-being of their residents, and local communities like these are fostering comprehensive, long-lasting approaches to healthier living.”

Selected from more than 250 applicants from across the country, the six RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners show that improving the health of a community requires many approaches:

  • Brownsville, Texas – Brownsville’s proactive approach to making health a priority has resulted in a more vibrant, mobile, and age-friendly community. Initiatives like Tu Salud ¡Sí C...

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4 weeks ago | 0

Improving Juvenile Justice by Engaging Families

Written by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate.​
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What does your county do to keep families engaged while their child is involved in the juvenile justice system? Families care about their children, but the justice system can be overwhelming and can create serious barriers to families staying connected. Many counties know that family engagement is an important piece of any good juvenile justice system, but struggle to keep parents involved as their child’s case progresses.

Family engagement programming can take many different forms, from basic education about how the juvenile justice system works to building family capacity with the help of community-based services. By thoughtfully communicating with and engaging families and taking into consideration the assets that each family has, counties can prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system or becoming more deeply involved in it.

Join NACo for a webinar about successful family engagement programs on Thursday, June 26, at 2:00pm EST. Presenters will share information about:

  • King County’s (Wash.) “Juvenile Justice 101” suite of resources and counselors to help parents navigate the juvenile court system;

  • Summit County’s (Ohio) “Family Resource Center” that helps kids and families get access to community service providers and assists with case management; and

  • Outagamie County’s (Wisc.) “Active Parenting of Teens: Families i...

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4 weeks ago | 0


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