Wednesday, July 28, 2010

EOPR Meeting Minutes; July 20, 2010

Legislative Attendees: Senator Guzman, Representative Kefalas (Chair), Representative Kagan and Senator Hudak

Participating Organizations: Colorado Progressive Coalition, Colorado Center on Law & Policy, Colorado Children's Campaign, Urban Peak, Housing Colorado, Catholic Charities, 9to5 National Organization of Working Women, Denver Women's Commission, Colorado Women's Lobby, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, City and County of Denver, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, Greater Good Academy, Worklife, People's Leadership Council

Participating Individuals: Chaka Mzee, Elizabeth Dolan, Tim Luethke, Devin Cross, Nancy Reichman, Jim Schulz

Agenda Items:
  • Introductions
  • Review of last year
    The opportunities today: Testimony on Employment & Education or Job Training
  • Workgroup Introduction & signup
    Workgroup breakouts/public input
    Big Group Next Steps

Representative Kefalas: We want to reframe conversation about poverty, not partisan, look at poverty reduction and economic opportunity as business development issues. Purpose for 2010: look at ‘best practices’ at state and community level to come up with action plan to cut poverty in half by 2019. HB09-1094 established task force. Bills came out of interim committee and 8 pieces of legislation all passed into law this past session.

Open Discussion:
Debra Ortega--supported employee model. Ensures that individuals have what they need to be successful once they are employed; transportation, clothing, case managers. Best practice. Dept. of Education funded rehabilitation and voc rehab for the formerly homeless. Collaborative effort. Bayaud Enterprises--peer counselors with paid staff facilitators.
Lydia Romero-Worklife in Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties. Focus: TANF eligible families; training and education opportunities.
Representative Kagan-referred to New Belgium Brewing company’s testimony from last year. Intervention is important and understanding is key. Medical story--poor worker was sick but could not pay for dr. appt. or get the certificate of illness. If we could make more employers sensitive to the lives of low-income families, then we could alleviate many of these issues.
Jeff Romero-Urban Peak; emphasize the value of case management. It is essential for recruiting and supporting youth. Success stories have been with youth with multiple case managers. Seeing more youth that have aged out of foster care.
Representative Kefalas-Larimer County; consider peer counselor with mental health;

Annmarie Jensen-conversation with the Governor’s Office; need to develop pipeline of occupations in the sciences, etc.
Randle Loeb-Housing is fundamental.

Testimony on Employment & Education or Job Training

  • Guest Speaker: Richard Eidlin- The Greater Good Academy--NEFE training program.

Traditional bottom line produces outsourcing, layoffs, other bad things.
The concept of the triple bottom line in progressive companies to employ people to become more self-sufficient themselves. First academy took place at Mi Casa this spring. Emerging strategy for successful business: building involvement in community and the wide range of stakeholders can become consumers, etc. Take social and environmental factors and look at bottom line. Then also look at marketing and increasingly public buys goods and services from companies who care. All people in academy supported by mentors and financing, so if company graduates can secure capital. Next program in the fall: looking for mentors, corporate support, and individuals who can benefit from class.
Discussion: Q and A on funding, case management, student fees, program evaluation and opportunities for the previously incarcerated.

Representative Kefalas: Important to remember that we are dealing with different sub-populations dealing with different issues. The notion of collaboration and not reinventing the wheel has been important.

Connecting the Dots: Children's Campaign introduces the work of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission; stresses collaboration; forums around the state--primary audience is business. Senator Hudak agrees explaining that the ECLC represents leaders of state departments and business who could be looking at the impact of poverty reduction and early childhood development.

Workgroup Links:
Employment and Economic Development
Constitutional Amendments
For more information and analysis: or bell
Consumer Protection

Concluding statements:
Senator Guzman--closely aligns with Denver work on poverty reduction
Senator Hudak--Education is the key out of poverty
Representative Kagan--the most important job of any government is to make sure no one is suffering in poverty. There are things you can do to reduce poverty. I find that inspiring. I feel so privileged to be a part of this process.
Representative Kefalas--Value in reframing the conversation. There are solutions. We have some specific outcomes to achieve through potential policy proposals.

Next general task force meeting will be held at the end of August outside the Denver Metro area. Details to follow.

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