Prisoner Reentry – Family and Friends of Inmates

Prisoner Reentry 4Purpose

Nebraska state prisons are 53% over capacity.  Proposed legislation to lessen this overcrowding would result in more former convicts reentering the community.  While many groups are working to address the impact and needs of ex-inmates, there is no nexus for reentry information and services.  Uniform awareness of and access to services and increased communication between service providers would allow these groups to strengthen their services.  Stronger services would lead to more positive reentry outcomes.  The Omaha community would grow stronger by reducing unemployment and recidivism and fortifying families. More

Talent Drain (Outmigration of Young Professionals in Omaha)

Talent Drain 2Purpose Statement

Omaha is facing a loss of talented employees and a mis-match of education versus job needs that is affecting our employment market.   Omaha is not attracting or retaining employees for a variety of reasons.  This issue is causing both short and long-term concerns from key organizations such as the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Heartland 2050 project, and the Greater Omaha Young Professionals.  Local organizations recognize that a meeting needs to be dedicated to this topic, key players identified, and action items designated. More

Neighborhood Engagement through Health Impact Assessments

City PlanningNancy and I were given the opportunity to approach our final pilot project a bit differently. During our project process, we developed our own vision for the possible future of OPL (Omaha Public Library) facilitation. We were aware that the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) was about to embark upon a community engagement initiative of their own because of previous FIT (Facilitator-in-Training) Team developments. Various FIT Team members sensed that facilitation could really help the health department overcome some of their challenges. Happily, our DCHD contact welcomed our unsolicited offer and was grateful for the assistance. We worked closely with Andy Wessel, DCHD’s Community Health Planner, throughout this process. The DCHD received a two-year grant to examine and experiment with their current public input processes. Since the workshop we participated in was the first step, its goal was to define desired outcomes for successful neighborhood engagement. This success definition was a collaborative effort with the meeting’s stakeholders including city planners, community leaders, developers, neighborhood alliance leaders, and architects. More

Je Ne Sais Quoi (Historic Preservation in Omaha)

Historic Preservation 2Purpose
Omaha is a city rich with character and historic architecture. Although there is a wide range of parties invested in building Omaha’s future, these stakeholders struggle to find a common vision for the city’s historic buildings. Tension from past debates and decisions has a significant impact on current discussions. We hope to lay the groundwork for deeper relationships and more positive communication on historic preservation options in the development process. An environment of communication and mutual respect will support a well-balanced vision of the city’s future that retains its unique identity. More

Where’s the Gap?: Unemployment and Education

Unemployment 3Purpose
Omaha’s unemployment rate is highest east of 72nd Street (American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate). Eight zip code areas are above the national unemployment rate of 6.7%. Many of these areas are two or even three times higher than Omaha’s unemployment rate of 4.0%. In Pilot Project Two we were able to identify education as one issue that may prevent the unemployed from obtaining employment. Pilot Project Three will focus on the role education has in employment as we work towards providing a better economy for all Omahans. More