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2021 NACo Achievement Award Winners

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  • Blog

    2021 NACo Achievement Award Winners

    NACo is pleased to announce the winners for the 2021 Achievement Awards. NACo recognized 844 entries from counties and state associations in 28 states. All winners are available in our searchable awards database, where winning programs are searchable by year, category and state dating back to 2009.

    2021 Achievement Award Best in Category winners

    Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation

    Leon County, Fla.

    Created Equal

    Learn More

    As an organization anchored in citizen involvement and engagement, Leon County continually strives to sustain a culture that respects, engages and empowers citizens on important issues facing the community. Building on the success of its previous award-winning outreach programs, in 2016 Leon County set out to identify even greater opportunities to build public trust, further enhance transparency, and convey the relevance of County government through meaningful citizen engagement.

     

    The County partnered with The Village Square, a non-profit public education organization dedicated to building civil discourse on matters of local, state and national importance, to develop a new series of events called “Created Equal.” Hosted annually, the Created Equal series is designed to bring citizens together to discuss issues surrounding the state of race relations in our community. These events demonstrate Leon County’s commitment to generating meaningful social and civic attachment between citizens and county government by fostering community collaboration in a unique and innovative forum.

    Children and Youth

    Summit County, Colo.

    Summit County Pre School Program

    Learn More

    The Summit County Pre-Kindergarten Program (SPK) helps to make high quality preschool possible for all 4-year-old children in Summit County, Colorado. New in 2019, SPK is part of Summit County’s Strong Future Initiative. Authorized in 2018, Summit’s Strong Future Initiative is funded by a voter-approved local property tax. The SPK program design is the result of a year-long planning process led by county commissioners and key county staff, in collaboration with community leaders, partners and content experts.

    Summit County’s SPK Program has three objectives:

    • Provide a meaningful support for the local workforce by creating affordable access to quality preschool & childcare for 4-year-old children whose parents live and work in Summit County, Colorado
    • Ensure that all Summit County children enter Kindergarten ready to learn and succeed
    • Promote early childhood health and well-being through promotion, prevention, and early identification of special care needs of young children

    Summit County Government enjoys a robust partnership with local non-profits and the Summit school district to implement this exciting new program. The SPK Program currently serves close to 150 children and families that live and/or work in Summit County. Almost 65% of families work in either retail, restaurants and lodging or directly for the ski industry. Tuition credit amounts range between $100–$1,603, with the average tuition credit being $715 per month or $8600.

    Just two years after initial implementation, the SPK program is nearing full capacity, parents have greater childcare options, and close to 95% of Summit County’s children are participating in some amount of quality Pre-Kindergarten.

    Civic Education and Public Information

    Oakland County, Mich.

    #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute

    Learn More

    March 10th, 2021 marked one year since the first coronavirus case in Oakland County. Through the month of March, we paid tribute to the sacrifice and resilience of residents while honoring the collective pain and loss that has touched our lives as part of the #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute:

    • Virtual Discussion and COVID-19 Update: County Executive David Coulter and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist participated in a virtual discussion about COVID-19 and the inequities people of color faced when confronting the virus.
    • Top County Officials Remember One Year of Living with COVID-19 video: Executive Coulter and other County officials reflect on the pandemic and discuss the tragedies, suffering and heroism many experienced since March 10, 2020.
    • Remembrance and Gratitude Story Maps: Crowdsourced story maps for stories and photos of those we have lost to COVID-19 on the Remembrance Map as well as appreciation for acts of kindness for frontline workers and support for local businesses on the Gratitude Map.
    • #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute Walk: A half-mile immersive light display that paid homage to those we've lost to COVID-19, gave thanks to those who risk their lives to keep us safe, and expressed gratitude for those who have helped us through the last year.
    Community and Economic Development

    Erie County, N.Y.

    Erie Grown

    Learn More

    The Erie Grown (EG) website is an initiative of the Erie County Office of Agriculture to promote locally grown and in-season agricultural products and agritourism, and to improve the viability of farming. EG includes a site locator map, allowing users to view farm and farmrelated businesses in one comprehensive map, and a produce finder, allowing users to search by type of produce and locate growers to purchase from. Additionally, Erie County Office of Agriculture staff maintain a blog spotlighting various producers and agritourism events. A companion to EG is the Erie Grown Passport (EGP). The EGP further incentivizes local purchasing by encouraging participants to visit local producers for a chance to win agriculture-related prizes.

    The overarching goal of EG and the EGP is to bolster the agricultural economy and local food system, and to demystify buying local by creating an intuitive platform that benefits both producers and consumers. To date, 145 producers (i.e.: farms, farmers markets, wineries, cideries) have enrolled in EG and the website has over 50,000 views. Of repeat website visitors that have taken a user survey, 75% have indicated that EG has helped them purchase goods from a local producer.

    County Administration and Management

    New Hanover County, N.C.

    Process Improvement for the Health and Human Services Mailroom

    Learn More

    The Health and Human Services Mailroom is responsible for handling all incoming and outgoing mail including the scanning and logging of the incoming Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recertifications and records management. The mailroom is a vital part of our organization handling time sensitive and confidential documents such as eligibility notifications, EBT cards, checks, Medicaid cards, legal contracts, etc. If the mailroom fails to complete its duties, other areas of Health and Human Services are hindered, and ultimately we fail our customers.

    County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainability

    Maricopa County, Ariz.

    Water Resources Program

    Learn More

    The purpose of the Flood Control District of Maricopa County’s (District) Water Resources Program is to increase regional collaborations and partnerships with public agencies, while promoting integrated water resources (stormwater) management as a key component in the work of flood risk mitigation. Future water supply-demand imbalances in Arizona, particularly the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, require innovative, institutional level actions and commitments to address. Projects implemented throughout the Southwest have shown the feasibility of flood control districts working with other water‐related agencies to plan, design, and implement stormwater management and water conservation measures. Such projects have been able to provide multiple-use benefits, increase infiltration and groundwater recharge, manage land subsidence, lower maintenance costs, and promote ecological system function.

    Since the program’s inception, the district has made progress in solidifying its regional role in the integrated management of the region’s water resources extending beyond the singular purpose of flood control. It has been developing a foundation, through an institutional recognition of the value of stormwater, to leverage its facilities and flood‐protection responsibilities towards a more integrated approach to water resources management.

    Successes from the Program include generation of institutional documents, ongoing project collaborations, water conservation implementation, policy changes, partnership growth, and education and outreach.

    Criminal Justice and Public Safety

    Los Angeles County, Calif.

    Los Angeles County Prison to Employment (P2E)

    Learn More

    Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS), in tandem with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), LA County Probation, and the other six workforce development boards (WDBs) that comprise the Los Angeles Basin Regional Planning Unit (RPU) with WDACS, seek to strengthen and enhance the connection between workforce development and the corrections system in effort to improve the way the justice-involved community members enter the local workforce. This agreement helped to create the Prison to Employment (P2E) Program.

    The goal of this initiative is to improve employment outcomes for justice involved individuals by establishing and maintaining a partnership between workforce and corrections agencies. This program launched in the LA RPU in January of 2020.

    Financial Management

    Alaska Municipal League

    Alaska Remote Sellers Sales Tax Commission

    Learn More

    Alaska does not have a state sales tax, but communities have the authority to levy sales tax on businesses with physical nexus. As internet access improves across our state, Alaskans flock to online shopping which erodes the local sales tax base. The COVID pandemic has forced shoppers to seek goods safely online; further diminishing the local sales tax base.

    In 2018, the South Dakota v Wayfair, Inc. Supreme Court decision established that companies with economic nexus could be taxed on remote sales delivered into a taxing jurisdiction. The Alaska Remote Sellers Sales Tax Commission (ARSSTC or the Commission) was developed to adapt to this new economic reality. The Commission works with jurisdictions and remote sellers to implement the rules regarding remote sales tax collection. The Commission establishes cross-community standards, strengthens individual communities by virtue of a collective voice, and provides tangible benefits to sellers. No individual community would be able to engage all the national sellers to implement the sales tax collection on remote sales.

    The Commission’s approach allows communities across Alaska to stem the local sales tax base erosion, creates a level playing field between local sellers and remote sellers, and tap into a tax base that was previously unavailable.

    Health

    Alameda County, Calif.

    ALL IN Recipe4Health

    Learn More

    Launched on January 27, 2020 by an innovative anti-poverty initiative founded by County Supervisor Wilma Chan, ALL IN Recipe4Health (R4H) is shifting the way Alameda County practices medicine. R4H combines healthy food interventions with group medical visits to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic diseases while addressing food insecurity and social isolation.

    Patients are prescribed 16 weeks of produce to be filled at a “Food Farmacy” by Dig Deep Farms, an urban farm utilizing regenerative practices to grow nutrient-dense food. During the pandemic, these prescriptions have been delivered to doorsteps by individuals who are part of Dig Deep’s innovative re-entry program for the formerly incarcerated. Group medical visits bring together patients through weekly visits that include physical activity, healthy food, social connection, and stress reduction. Provided by Open Source Wellness, behavioral group support is currently delivered virtually and occurs weekly over the course of four months. This “Behavioral Pharmacy” is designed to help patients adopt healthy practices to maximize the benefits of this medical intervention.

    The results show that R4H is transforming medical care in Alameda County: patients have experienced decreases in A1C levels, blood pressure, depression and medication usage, as well as fewer ER visits and hospitalizations.

    Human Services

    Franklin County, Ohio

    Family Stabilization Unit

    Learn More

    The Family Stabilization Unit (FSU) is a Franklin County, Ohio pilot program designed to help African American youth (ages 5-18) and their families successfully navigate the challenges of the complex human services system, so they receive the assistance and resources needed to thrive. This first-of-its-kind unit in Franklin County takes a tailored, multi-generational approach to meet the unique needs of each family – all through a social determinants of health and racial equity lens.

    In addition to connecting families with core services offered through Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, they also connect them with an array of other resources from housing assistance and mental health treatment to GED classes and employment training.

    The program helps young people and their families navigate the juvenile justice system through close collaborative relationships with the courts and offers coaching and mentoring to help achieve personal goals.

    The FSU pilot program dates are effective September 2020 – September 2022.

    Information Technology

    Montgomery County, Md.

    Senior Planet Montgomery Home Edition

    Learn More

    Senior Planet Montgomery, offered by the Montgomery County Department of Technology Services and its partner OATS (now powered by AARP), teaches people 55 and older to use the Internet and technology for daily living.

    Within one week of covid shutdowns, we transformed to create Senior Planet Montgomery Home Edition to deliver our training online. We called past participants, put flyers in meal boxes, and gave English and Spanish local morning TV news shows interviews to promote awareness to seniors who weren’t online. OATS rewrote training for delivery via Zoom, created tech guides and “How to Zoom” videos. County summer youth workers provided one‐on‐one tech support for seniors and signup help for low‐cost home Internet programs. We expanded programming into Chinese and we are beta testing using our training to prepare residents for online delivery of services by other agencies.

    Pre-pandemic, in person we served 846 participants in the first three quarters of 2020. In our first quarter online, we served 4,776 people and 8,804 in our first 3 quarters. Transforming in‐person delivery of services to online isn’t easy, but by adapting communication strategies and programming, and providing foundational skills to residents, counties can successfully deliver services in our challenging new reality.

    Libraries

    Miami-Dade County, Fla.

    First Fridays Business Breakfast Series

    Learn More

    In a continued effort to support small businesses and to stimulate economic growth in underserved communities in Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) launched First Fridays Business Breakfast series workshops in 2019. These educational networking sessions were conducted onsite at black owned businesses and focused on a variety of relevant business topics.  The sessions provided attendees with information on free resources and empowered underserved communities to overcome educational, economic, business, and employment barriers. 

    A group of community-based organizations, government entities, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs, including the Small Business Administration, Partners for Self-Employment, Miami Bayside Foundation and the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), were invited to participate and share information in a casual coworking environment.  MDPLS presented at five monthly workshops on the first Friday of each month beginning in August of 2019. 

    Parks and Recreation

    Montgomery County, Md.

    COVID Corps

    Learn More

    Many young people across the country are in need to find job preparation skills and then employment opportunities so that they can live contribute to their upkeep or live independently. Due to the high unemployment rate and business closures in places that many young people would typically work during the summer, there were few employment opportunities for young people in 2020.

    COVID Corps was a youth workforce development program for county residents ages 16 to 23, designed as a key pathway between service and recovery for county young people. The COVID Corps program provided a unique approach to economic recovery, recognizing young people as resources which could help the county with the COVID-19 emergency response.

    Members of COVID Corps, coached by Montgomery County Recreation professionals, were deployed to work throughout the county supporting the COVID-19 response recovery efforts. The program mutually benefited both the various county agencies, businesses, and programs by providing an enthusiastic youth workforce to assist in a time of great need and provided valuable paid work experiences, job readiness training and other skill building and workshops for its members.

    Personnel Management, Employment and Training

    Hennepin County, Minn.

    Racial Equity Impact Tool Champions Academy

    Learn More

    The Racial Equity Impact Tool (REIT) Champions Academy is an ambitious, 4 week training and development program that prepares selected employees to serve their department as subject matter experts in the application of a racial equity impact tool. The program functions as both a technical and adaptive strategy for growing organizational capacity to make business process and practice changes with the use of an equity impact assessment to reduce racial disparities, while also building intercultural competency at the individual and work-unit level across the entire organization.

    Planning

    Howard County, Md.

    The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan

    Learn More

    The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan provides policies and actions for protecting and enhancing flood-impacted Ellicott City, Maryland and the surrounding Tiber-Hudson Watershed. To accomplish this protection and enhancement, the master plan integrates strategies for community character and placemaking, flood mitigation, environmental sustainability, economic development and transportation and parking for this almost 250-year old town.

    Because Ellicott City’s built and natural environments are closely interwoven, every action is interrelated with and dependent upon other actions – warranting a menu of options and flexible approach. Community input was considered, alongside technical analysis and national best practices, to help define a comprehensive, community-driven vision for rebuilding a stronger and more resilient Ellicott City. The watershed-wide recommendations directly respond to catastrophic floods in 2016 and 2018, and the county’s vision for a future Ellicott City that exists in closer balance with the hydraulic forces that have shaped the town through the generations.

    Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay brought national attention in a 2-hour “Save Our Town” special episode spotlighting the town’s resilience. Though Ellicott City will never be without flooding risk, the recommendations in the plan will help generate a more resilient response to flood events should they occur again in the future.

    Risk and Emergency Management

    Pinellas County, Fla.

    COVID-19 Non-Congregate Sheltering Response

    Learn More

    In March 2020, Pinellas County quickly identified the need for non-congregate sheltering of homeless individuals and families to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on the local hospital system to focus efforts and provide space for critically ill patients. Community partners collaborated to construct a dynamic and cost-effective on-demand system of placing individuals and families in need of quarantine or isolation at participating local hotels/motels. With a primary goal to provide a safe location for homeless individuals to quarantine and isolate, the program has delivered additional services to further improve the lives of the clients served including housing for street homeless upon discharge and connections to free medical programs.

    Pinellas County’s COVID-19 Non-Congregate Sheltering Response was the first approved for FEMA’s Public Assistance program for a homeless quarantine and isolation program utilizing hotel partners. The program had served 188 individuals and families through March 31, 2021.

    Pinellas County was able to leverage the information gleaned and the process developed to address similar needs for indigent community members and first responders who have had a COVID-19 exposure or positive test and share a residence with a high-risk individual thus requiring isolation outside their home.

    Transportation

    Broward County, Fla.

    Paratransit Rider's Choice Pilot Program

    Learn More

    The Rider’s Choice Pilot program was a three year pilot which began in February 2018 and was scheduled to end January 2021, when it was made permanent by the Board of County Commissioners. The pilot was created to provide a new enhanced transportation choice for paratransit customers to complement their existing paratransit services. Unlike paratransit, the Rider’s Choice trips could be a same day, direct to the customer's destination and free to the customer if below the subsidy provided.

    The Rider’s Choice Pilot program provides eligible paratransit customers, who voluntarily enroll, the choice of calling a local taxi company or transportation network provider of their choosing from a list of firms that can accept the county’s payment card, to arrange their trip. The Rider’s Choice Pilot program is cost neutral and provides work for local transportation companies.

    Volunteers

    Miami-Dade County, Fla.

    Virtual Volunteering at the Public Library for Community Service Credit

    Learn More

    One irony of the pandemic is that while how we must conduct ourselves in public has changed, some educational requirements and deadlines have not. Volunteer hours are still needed prior to graduation and colleges seek students who participate in meaningful community service to gain insights not taught in the classroom that impact the future of their neighbors and neighborhoods. These opportunities disappeared with the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, but the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) found ways to reconnect with youth to offer such engagement.

    Through virtual programming linked to attaining volunteer hours, librarians based at two branch libraries coached a Young Adult Advisory Board and started an at-home recycling craft project.  The expected outcome was our ability to provide a school requirement, fill in a supply chain gap for a bigger community service project and create attendance at enticing teen programming. The unexpected outcome was that trusted connections formed, allowing local librarians to create opportunities that offset isolation and loneliness during the pandemic and created young ambassadors for the library. 

     

    NACo is pleased to announce the winners for the 2021 Achievement Awards. NACo recognized 844 entries from counties and state associations in 28 states.
    2021-05-27
    Blog
    2021-06-08

NACo is pleased to announce the winners for the 2021 Achievement Awards. NACo recognized 844 entries from counties and state associations in 28 states. All winners are available in our searchable awards database, where winning programs are searchable by year, category and state dating back to 2009.

2021 Achievement Award Best in Category winners

Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation

Leon County, Fla.

Created Equal

Learn More

As an organization anchored in citizen involvement and engagement, Leon County continually strives to sustain a culture that respects, engages and empowers citizens on important issues facing the community. Building on the success of its previous award-winning outreach programs, in 2016 Leon County set out to identify even greater opportunities to build public trust, further enhance transparency, and convey the relevance of County government through meaningful citizen engagement.

 

The County partnered with The Village Square, a non-profit public education organization dedicated to building civil discourse on matters of local, state and national importance, to develop a new series of events called “Created Equal.” Hosted annually, the Created Equal series is designed to bring citizens together to discuss issues surrounding the state of race relations in our community. These events demonstrate Leon County’s commitment to generating meaningful social and civic attachment between citizens and county government by fostering community collaboration in a unique and innovative forum.

Children and Youth

Summit County, Colo.

Summit County Pre School Program

Learn More

The Summit County Pre-Kindergarten Program (SPK) helps to make high quality preschool possible for all 4-year-old children in Summit County, Colorado. New in 2019, SPK is part of Summit County’s Strong Future Initiative. Authorized in 2018, Summit’s Strong Future Initiative is funded by a voter-approved local property tax. The SPK program design is the result of a year-long planning process led by county commissioners and key county staff, in collaboration with community leaders, partners and content experts.

Summit County’s SPK Program has three objectives:

  • Provide a meaningful support for the local workforce by creating affordable access to quality preschool & childcare for 4-year-old children whose parents live and work in Summit County, Colorado
  • Ensure that all Summit County children enter Kindergarten ready to learn and succeed
  • Promote early childhood health and well-being through promotion, prevention, and early identification of special care needs of young children

Summit County Government enjoys a robust partnership with local non-profits and the Summit school district to implement this exciting new program. The SPK Program currently serves close to 150 children and families that live and/or work in Summit County. Almost 65% of families work in either retail, restaurants and lodging or directly for the ski industry. Tuition credit amounts range between $100–$1,603, with the average tuition credit being $715 per month or $8600.

Just two years after initial implementation, the SPK program is nearing full capacity, parents have greater childcare options, and close to 95% of Summit County’s children are participating in some amount of quality Pre-Kindergarten.

Civic Education and Public Information

Oakland County, Mich.

#OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute

Learn More

March 10th, 2021 marked one year since the first coronavirus case in Oakland County. Through the month of March, we paid tribute to the sacrifice and resilience of residents while honoring the collective pain and loss that has touched our lives as part of the #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute:

  • Virtual Discussion and COVID-19 Update: County Executive David Coulter and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist participated in a virtual discussion about COVID-19 and the inequities people of color faced when confronting the virus.
  • Top County Officials Remember One Year of Living with COVID-19 video: Executive Coulter and other County officials reflect on the pandemic and discuss the tragedies, suffering and heroism many experienced since March 10, 2020.
  • Remembrance and Gratitude Story Maps: Crowdsourced story maps for stories and photos of those we have lost to COVID-19 on the Remembrance Map as well as appreciation for acts of kindness for frontline workers and support for local businesses on the Gratitude Map.
  • #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute Walk: A half-mile immersive light display that paid homage to those we've lost to COVID-19, gave thanks to those who risk their lives to keep us safe, and expressed gratitude for those who have helped us through the last year.
Community and Economic Development

Erie County, N.Y.

Erie Grown

Learn More

The Erie Grown (EG) website is an initiative of the Erie County Office of Agriculture to promote locally grown and in-season agricultural products and agritourism, and to improve the viability of farming. EG includes a site locator map, allowing users to view farm and farmrelated businesses in one comprehensive map, and a produce finder, allowing users to search by type of produce and locate growers to purchase from. Additionally, Erie County Office of Agriculture staff maintain a blog spotlighting various producers and agritourism events. A companion to EG is the Erie Grown Passport (EGP). The EGP further incentivizes local purchasing by encouraging participants to visit local producers for a chance to win agriculture-related prizes.

The overarching goal of EG and the EGP is to bolster the agricultural economy and local food system, and to demystify buying local by creating an intuitive platform that benefits both producers and consumers. To date, 145 producers (i.e.: farms, farmers markets, wineries, cideries) have enrolled in EG and the website has over 50,000 views. Of repeat website visitors that have taken a user survey, 75% have indicated that EG has helped them purchase goods from a local producer.

County Administration and Management

New Hanover County, N.C.

Process Improvement for the Health and Human Services Mailroom

Learn More

The Health and Human Services Mailroom is responsible for handling all incoming and outgoing mail including the scanning and logging of the incoming Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recertifications and records management. The mailroom is a vital part of our organization handling time sensitive and confidential documents such as eligibility notifications, EBT cards, checks, Medicaid cards, legal contracts, etc. If the mailroom fails to complete its duties, other areas of Health and Human Services are hindered, and ultimately we fail our customers.

County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainability

Maricopa County, Ariz.

Water Resources Program

Learn More

The purpose of the Flood Control District of Maricopa County’s (District) Water Resources Program is to increase regional collaborations and partnerships with public agencies, while promoting integrated water resources (stormwater) management as a key component in the work of flood risk mitigation. Future water supply-demand imbalances in Arizona, particularly the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, require innovative, institutional level actions and commitments to address. Projects implemented throughout the Southwest have shown the feasibility of flood control districts working with other water‐related agencies to plan, design, and implement stormwater management and water conservation measures. Such projects have been able to provide multiple-use benefits, increase infiltration and groundwater recharge, manage land subsidence, lower maintenance costs, and promote ecological system function.

Since the program’s inception, the district has made progress in solidifying its regional role in the integrated management of the region’s water resources extending beyond the singular purpose of flood control. It has been developing a foundation, through an institutional recognition of the value of stormwater, to leverage its facilities and flood‐protection responsibilities towards a more integrated approach to water resources management.

Successes from the Program include generation of institutional documents, ongoing project collaborations, water conservation implementation, policy changes, partnership growth, and education and outreach.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety

Los Angeles County, Calif.

Los Angeles County Prison to Employment (P2E)

Learn More

Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS), in tandem with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), LA County Probation, and the other six workforce development boards (WDBs) that comprise the Los Angeles Basin Regional Planning Unit (RPU) with WDACS, seek to strengthen and enhance the connection between workforce development and the corrections system in effort to improve the way the justice-involved community members enter the local workforce. This agreement helped to create the Prison to Employment (P2E) Program.

The goal of this initiative is to improve employment outcomes for justice involved individuals by establishing and maintaining a partnership between workforce and corrections agencies. This program launched in the LA RPU in January of 2020.

Financial Management

Alaska Municipal League

Alaska Remote Sellers Sales Tax Commission

Learn More

Alaska does not have a state sales tax, but communities have the authority to levy sales tax on businesses with physical nexus. As internet access improves across our state, Alaskans flock to online shopping which erodes the local sales tax base. The COVID pandemic has forced shoppers to seek goods safely online; further diminishing the local sales tax base.

In 2018, the South Dakota v Wayfair, Inc. Supreme Court decision established that companies with economic nexus could be taxed on remote sales delivered into a taxing jurisdiction. The Alaska Remote Sellers Sales Tax Commission (ARSSTC or the Commission) was developed to adapt to this new economic reality. The Commission works with jurisdictions and remote sellers to implement the rules regarding remote sales tax collection. The Commission establishes cross-community standards, strengthens individual communities by virtue of a collective voice, and provides tangible benefits to sellers. No individual community would be able to engage all the national sellers to implement the sales tax collection on remote sales.

The Commission’s approach allows communities across Alaska to stem the local sales tax base erosion, creates a level playing field between local sellers and remote sellers, and tap into a tax base that was previously unavailable.

Health

Alameda County, Calif.

ALL IN Recipe4Health

Learn More

Launched on January 27, 2020 by an innovative anti-poverty initiative founded by County Supervisor Wilma Chan, ALL IN Recipe4Health (R4H) is shifting the way Alameda County practices medicine. R4H combines healthy food interventions with group medical visits to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic diseases while addressing food insecurity and social isolation.

Patients are prescribed 16 weeks of produce to be filled at a “Food Farmacy” by Dig Deep Farms, an urban farm utilizing regenerative practices to grow nutrient-dense food. During the pandemic, these prescriptions have been delivered to doorsteps by individuals who are part of Dig Deep’s innovative re-entry program for the formerly incarcerated. Group medical visits bring together patients through weekly visits that include physical activity, healthy food, social connection, and stress reduction. Provided by Open Source Wellness, behavioral group support is currently delivered virtually and occurs weekly over the course of four months. This “Behavioral Pharmacy” is designed to help patients adopt healthy practices to maximize the benefits of this medical intervention.

The results show that R4H is transforming medical care in Alameda County: patients have experienced decreases in A1C levels, blood pressure, depression and medication usage, as well as fewer ER visits and hospitalizations.

Human Services

Franklin County, Ohio

Family Stabilization Unit

Learn More

The Family Stabilization Unit (FSU) is a Franklin County, Ohio pilot program designed to help African American youth (ages 5-18) and their families successfully navigate the challenges of the complex human services system, so they receive the assistance and resources needed to thrive. This first-of-its-kind unit in Franklin County takes a tailored, multi-generational approach to meet the unique needs of each family – all through a social determinants of health and racial equity lens.

In addition to connecting families with core services offered through Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, they also connect them with an array of other resources from housing assistance and mental health treatment to GED classes and employment training.

The program helps young people and their families navigate the juvenile justice system through close collaborative relationships with the courts and offers coaching and mentoring to help achieve personal goals.

The FSU pilot program dates are effective September 2020 – September 2022.

Information Technology

Montgomery County, Md.

Senior Planet Montgomery Home Edition

Learn More

Senior Planet Montgomery, offered by the Montgomery County Department of Technology Services and its partner OATS (now powered by AARP), teaches people 55 and older to use the Internet and technology for daily living.

Within one week of covid shutdowns, we transformed to create Senior Planet Montgomery Home Edition to deliver our training online. We called past participants, put flyers in meal boxes, and gave English and Spanish local morning TV news shows interviews to promote awareness to seniors who weren’t online. OATS rewrote training for delivery via Zoom, created tech guides and “How to Zoom” videos. County summer youth workers provided one‐on‐one tech support for seniors and signup help for low‐cost home Internet programs. We expanded programming into Chinese and we are beta testing using our training to prepare residents for online delivery of services by other agencies.

Pre-pandemic, in person we served 846 participants in the first three quarters of 2020. In our first quarter online, we served 4,776 people and 8,804 in our first 3 quarters. Transforming in‐person delivery of services to online isn’t easy, but by adapting communication strategies and programming, and providing foundational skills to residents, counties can successfully deliver services in our challenging new reality.

Libraries

Miami-Dade County, Fla.

First Fridays Business Breakfast Series

Learn More

In a continued effort to support small businesses and to stimulate economic growth in underserved communities in Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) launched First Fridays Business Breakfast series workshops in 2019. These educational networking sessions were conducted onsite at black owned businesses and focused on a variety of relevant business topics.  The sessions provided attendees with information on free resources and empowered underserved communities to overcome educational, economic, business, and employment barriers. 

A group of community-based organizations, government entities, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs, including the Small Business Administration, Partners for Self-Employment, Miami Bayside Foundation and the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), were invited to participate and share information in a casual coworking environment.  MDPLS presented at five monthly workshops on the first Friday of each month beginning in August of 2019. 

Parks and Recreation

Montgomery County, Md.

COVID Corps

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Many young people across the country are in need to find job preparation skills and then employment opportunities so that they can live contribute to their upkeep or live independently. Due to the high unemployment rate and business closures in places that many young people would typically work during the summer, there were few employment opportunities for young people in 2020.

COVID Corps was a youth workforce development program for county residents ages 16 to 23, designed as a key pathway between service and recovery for county young people. The COVID Corps program provided a unique approach to economic recovery, recognizing young people as resources which could help the county with the COVID-19 emergency response.

Members of COVID Corps, coached by Montgomery County Recreation professionals, were deployed to work throughout the county supporting the COVID-19 response recovery efforts. The program mutually benefited both the various county agencies, businesses, and programs by providing an enthusiastic youth workforce to assist in a time of great need and provided valuable paid work experiences, job readiness training and other skill building and workshops for its members.

Personnel Management, Employment and Training

Hennepin County, Minn.

Racial Equity Impact Tool Champions Academy

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The Racial Equity Impact Tool (REIT) Champions Academy is an ambitious, 4 week training and development program that prepares selected employees to serve their department as subject matter experts in the application of a racial equity impact tool. The program functions as both a technical and adaptive strategy for growing organizational capacity to make business process and practice changes with the use of an equity impact assessment to reduce racial disparities, while also building intercultural competency at the individual and work-unit level across the entire organization.

Planning

Howard County, Md.

The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan

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The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan provides policies and actions for protecting and enhancing flood-impacted Ellicott City, Maryland and the surrounding Tiber-Hudson Watershed. To accomplish this protection and enhancement, the master plan integrates strategies for community character and placemaking, flood mitigation, environmental sustainability, economic development and transportation and parking for this almost 250-year old town.

Because Ellicott City’s built and natural environments are closely interwoven, every action is interrelated with and dependent upon other actions – warranting a menu of options and flexible approach. Community input was considered, alongside technical analysis and national best practices, to help define a comprehensive, community-driven vision for rebuilding a stronger and more resilient Ellicott City. The watershed-wide recommendations directly respond to catastrophic floods in 2016 and 2018, and the county’s vision for a future Ellicott City that exists in closer balance with the hydraulic forces that have shaped the town through the generations.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay brought national attention in a 2-hour “Save Our Town” special episode spotlighting the town’s resilience. Though Ellicott City will never be without flooding risk, the recommendations in the plan will help generate a more resilient response to flood events should they occur again in the future.

Risk and Emergency Management

Pinellas County, Fla.

COVID-19 Non-Congregate Sheltering Response

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In March 2020, Pinellas County quickly identified the need for non-congregate sheltering of homeless individuals and families to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on the local hospital system to focus efforts and provide space for critically ill patients. Community partners collaborated to construct a dynamic and cost-effective on-demand system of placing individuals and families in need of quarantine or isolation at participating local hotels/motels. With a primary goal to provide a safe location for homeless individuals to quarantine and isolate, the program has delivered additional services to further improve the lives of the clients served including housing for street homeless upon discharge and connections to free medical programs.

Pinellas County’s COVID-19 Non-Congregate Sheltering Response was the first approved for FEMA’s Public Assistance program for a homeless quarantine and isolation program utilizing hotel partners. The program had served 188 individuals and families through March 31, 2021.

Pinellas County was able to leverage the information gleaned and the process developed to address similar needs for indigent community members and first responders who have had a COVID-19 exposure or positive test and share a residence with a high-risk individual thus requiring isolation outside their home.

Transportation

Broward County, Fla.

Paratransit Rider's Choice Pilot Program

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The Rider’s Choice Pilot program was a three year pilot which began in February 2018 and was scheduled to end January 2021, when it was made permanent by the Board of County Commissioners. The pilot was created to provide a new enhanced transportation choice for paratransit customers to complement their existing paratransit services. Unlike paratransit, the Rider’s Choice trips could be a same day, direct to the customer's destination and free to the customer if below the subsidy provided.

The Rider’s Choice Pilot program provides eligible paratransit customers, who voluntarily enroll, the choice of calling a local taxi company or transportation network provider of their choosing from a list of firms that can accept the county’s payment card, to arrange their trip. The Rider’s Choice Pilot program is cost neutral and provides work for local transportation companies.

Volunteers

Miami-Dade County, Fla.

Virtual Volunteering at the Public Library for Community Service Credit

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One irony of the pandemic is that while how we must conduct ourselves in public has changed, some educational requirements and deadlines have not. Volunteer hours are still needed prior to graduation and colleges seek students who participate in meaningful community service to gain insights not taught in the classroom that impact the future of their neighbors and neighborhoods. These opportunities disappeared with the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, but the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) found ways to reconnect with youth to offer such engagement.

Through virtual programming linked to attaining volunteer hours, librarians based at two branch libraries coached a Young Adult Advisory Board and started an at-home recycling craft project.  The expected outcome was our ability to provide a school requirement, fill in a supply chain gap for a bigger community service project and create attendance at enticing teen programming. The unexpected outcome was that trusted connections formed, allowing local librarians to create opportunities that offset isolation and loneliness during the pandemic and created young ambassadors for the library. 

 

About Lindsey Maggard (Full Bio)

Communications Specialist

Lindsey Maggard currently serves as the Communications Specialist at the National Association of Counties (NACo). She is responsible for producing and distributing eblasts, including “This Week In Photos,” managing our social media accounts and providing overall support for digital communications and media relations.

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