Opportunity St. Paul Hosts Great Community Conversation•
Opportunity Nation team members had a great time in St. Paul, Minnesota last week, where we introduced the Opportunity Index to community leaders and learned about local efforts to expand economic mobility. We also visited a public school with close ties to Hamline University that is focused on helping students get on a post-secondary path from their earliest years.
Former St. Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel, one of our most dynamic Opportunity Leaders is now Hamline’s Honorary “Professor of Practice” at the School for Business. Jim helped us coordinate the first of eight “community conversations” we are hosting this spring around the country, as Opportunity Nation works to promote our campaign’s national policy focus: building stronger educational and career pathways for young people.
We met with Hamline’s President Linda N. Hanson and are proud to welcome Hamline University as the newest member to our Higher Education Council.
Opportunity Nation also toured Hamline Elementary School, a public school with a close relationship with the university that believes “college begins in kindergarten.”
Hamline students serve as mentors in the school and each grade level is paired with a particular university department, to expose the students to different areas of study in higher education.
“Students from 5 years old and up are working regularly with college students from Hamline University,” says Opportunity Nation’s community organizer, Johnette Ellis. “During our visit students were using ipads to create multi-media biographies. They were eating healthy snacks, sharing laughs and working hard alongside supportive adults who not only believe in their right to succeed, but in their ability.”
In partnership with Jim, the Midway Chamber of Commerce and Western Bank, we hosted a community conversation on April 3 in downtown St. Paul with 40 nonprofit, education and business leaders who were enthusiastic about the Opportunity Index and ways to work together to improve community scores.
Listen to Opportunity Nation’s Deputy Director, Elizabeth Clay Roy, highlighting our work in St. Paul on Minnesota Public Radio.
While Minnesota is ranked among the top states on the Opportunity Index, some counties, including Ramsey County where St. Paul is located, don’t score as high.
Ramsey County is considered an average county for opportunity, receiving a C+ in 2012 on the Opportunity Index.
We are inspired by the energy and commitment in St. Paul to expand economic mobility and we look forward to strengthening this partnership.