Every community must face an ever-changing environment and its influence on human well-being. How a community responds can be shaped by effective planning. That’s where United Community Services of Johnson County comes in. Through information, collaborative planning and mobilization of resources, the availability of health and human services can be enhanced to meet present and emerging needs.
2017 Human Service Summit – Navigating the Future
A Community Conversation about a Vibrant Johnson County
The UCS Human Service Summit on June 14, 2017 brought together 200 people who care deeply about the future of Johnson County and the services that support people who live and work here. Representatives from key sectors including local nonprofit organizations, city and county governments, foundations, public safety, school districts, businesses and faith communities attended this year’s event.
The morning kicked off with a brief presentation from UCS Using Trends and Data to Inform Our Conversation, before bringing together a panel of leaders representing essential community partners discussing the challenges and opportunities facing Johnson County and the importance of cross sector collaboration.
- Information about the growing economic and ethnic diversity in local school systems
- Insight into the ways stress, anxiety and related needs influence the local workforce
- An overview of the unique opportunities and challenges of suburban poverty
- Specific examples of how collaboration makes communities “Better together”
- Emphasis on the importance of stabilizing families’ basic needs as a foundation for longer-term support
Following the panel, event participants worked together in cross-sector groups to articulate their vision of a vibrant Johnson County in 2022. Key themes emerging from that effort, ranked in priority order by those present, included:
Those present then worked to identify action steps they could take in their individual organizations as well as collaboratively to achieve that vision. Those ideas will inform United Community Services’ strategic planning process, scheduled to conclude later this year.
- How essential public/private partnerships are to achieving community goals
- Highlights from collaborative efforts between municipalities and the County
- The importance of targeted workforce development in advancing employment
Participants were encouraged to share the day’s experience and takeaways with colleagues and friends, to stay connected to UCS for updates and to take an active role in shaping Johnson County’s future.
Employment Planning Project Report Released
UCS launched the Employment Planning Project to identify opportunities to improve employment and career pathways for low income households. Based on the belief that employment should be a pathway out of poverty, the project’s goal included developing a Johnson County-specific set of strategies to increase income and expand household-sustaining employment opportunities for low-income residents. The ultimate vision is that every household in Johnson County has adequate income to sustainably meet their members’ basic needs. Last week UCS released its report: A Plan to Increase Income through Employment in Johnson County.
UCS recently released a report entitled “From Foster Care to Independence: An Assessment of Best Practices to Support Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care”. This report represents the culmination of several months of research conducted by UCS in response to the 2015 Framework for Reducing Poverty and Creating Opportunity, which calls on the human services sector to increase access to the safety net for childless adults and transitional-age youth. The report includes a system assessment, review of best practices and model programs, and recommendations for stakeholders.