Minneapolis Connects: January 2016

Minneapolis Connects: News and information from Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations

January 2016

Save the Date for the 2016 Community Connections Conference


The 2016 Community Connections Conference will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at the Minneapolis Convention CenterThe conference will focus on the City’s update to the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan, Neighborhoods 2020 Initiative, and Community Involvement 101. Lunch will be provided. All are welcome. This is a free event.  

Planning for the 2016 conference is underway. Stay tuned for more updates shortly.

NCR is seeking qualified candidates to fill a Neighborhood Specialist Position

NCR is now hiring a Neighborhood Support Specialist who will specialize in providing guidance and support to neighborhood leaders. Our ideal candidate is comfortable working in both the government and nonprofit worlds, is solution oriented, can work with diverse communities, understands the importance of working with a team, can crunch numbers and convey complex information quickly and accurately.

Applications will be accepted until Wednesday, January 20, 2016.   Visit the City of Minneapolis jobs webpage to view a full job description and to apply.

NCR staff attend national conference on immigration


Members of NCR’s Access and Outreach staff, Abdirashid Ahmed, Mariano Espinosa and Michael Yang attended the National Immigration Integration Conference in Manhattan, New York this past December. The conference brought together stakeholders from around the nation to discuss issues relating to immigration, refugees and equity. The focus for staff attending the conference was to learn how the City of Minneapolis can become more inclusive and welcoming in services and programming that serve all Minneapolis residents.

Minneapolis is home to an increasing number of immigrants and refugees from across the world, and the conference provided a great way for staff to share the work that Minneapolis is doing to engage more immigrant and refugee residents and learn new and innovative programs in other Cities and States that could be replicated here in Minneapolis. One key connection made was with the City of New York’s Office of Minority Affairs, which recently implemented a city issued identification card program that allows undocumented individuals ages 14 and older to receive an identification card so that they can obtain jobs and drivers licenses.  This connection will allow staff to determine if a similar policy would be feasible here in the City of Minneapolis.

Immigration work will be a priority for the Access and Outreach team in 2016. Learn more about the Access and Outreach Team.

Directory of services now available for neighborhood organizations

The NCR website now includes a directory of services and support that NCR provides for neighborhood organizations. This directory provides links to information about neighborhood organizations, information about how NCR staff can work with neighborhood organizations, and links to other resources. 

Language Access Plan adopted by City Council

In December 2015 the Minneapolis City Council adopted the updated Language Access Plan. The Language Access Plan is a resource document for ensuring City programs, services and activities are accessible to residents with limited English proficiency (LEP). This plan is intended for City elected officials, department managers, supervisors and staff who interact directly or indirectly with residents in Minneapolis who speak limited English to ensure that the City is able to deliver the proper City services to all residents.

The Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) department spent most of 2015 meeting with City departments and leadership to update the plan and ensure that the City is working towards meeting the goal of One Minneapolis. NCR will roll out training and information to City leadership and staff in early 2016.

Meet a Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission Member: Tessa Wetjen

Welcome to the first “Meet a Commissioner” series of the monthly Minneapolis Connects newsletter! This new series is intended for readers to get to know representatives of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC). The NCEC is a 16 member board. Seven members are appointed by the City Council and Mayor, one member is appointed by the Park Board and eight members are elected by neighborhood organizations.

The purpose of the Commission is to advise the Mayor and City Council on a wide range of community engagement issues. The NCEC is responsible for developing guidelines for the City’s principal neighborhood funding program, the Community Participation Program, as well as the One Minneapolis Fund and the Community Innovation Fund. The Commission also works to broaden participation on advisory boards and commissions and develops recommendations for improving the City’s public participation process.  


Meet Commissioner Tessa Wetjen

City Council Appointee

Term: 3rd two-year term

Ward: 9

Neighborhood: Powderhorn Park

Sub-Committees:  Executive Committee (Vice-Chair) and One Minneapolis Fund Committee (Chair).

Tessa currently works at the State of Minnesota Department of Health as a planner working with clinical systems to improve preventive care for children and mothers. She is the happy and exhausted mom of a 31/2 year old and a 2 year old, the proud wife and daughter of public school teachers and a South High graduate.

How long have you been active in your community and what made you get involved in community work?

It's always been important to me to get to know people around me and to enjoy being a part of communities. I bought my house about eight years ago and started trying to meet people and understand how to build a sense of community on our block and in our area. 

I got involved in the work of the NCEC when I was doing work in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood and started to recognize that people in the community didn't seem to have much of a say in City actions or decisions and wanted to understand how to work with community members to change that.

What do you like most about your neighborhood or community?

I really enjoy my neighbors and all of the things we can do in our neighborhood. The parks are amazing and we feel really lucky to be able to walk to so many cool and interesting places like the Mercado, Midtown Farmers Market, and Powderhorn Park. I like being in a place where people care about doing things together and making our community as welcoming and inclusive as we can (a work in progress).

Are there other boards and committees you are or have been on? 

No, this is my first formal experience on a city commission or board.

Do you have any tips for residents interested in running for neighborhood boards and/or City boards and commissions?

I'd talk with people already involved in a board or commission and see what they like about it and what the hard parts are - especially the time commitment.

The Commission meets every 4th Tuesday of the month at 5:00p.m. Learn more about the Commission

Two neighborhoods seek qualified candidates to fill vacant positions


Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization seeks Executive Director

The Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO) is seeking a full-time executive director. The Executive Director is responsible for the overall operations of CANDO and achieving its mission. This includes day-to-day administration of the CANDO office, financial management, fundraising, grant writing, supporting the Board, its 4 task forces and carrying out Board directives. For more information, visit http://www.minnesotanonprofits.org/job-details?id=108942  .


Hawthorne Neighborhood Council seeks Housing Coordinator

The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council (HNC) is seeking to a part-time (32 hour per week) housing coordinator. The successful candidate will be a detailed, organized, flexible, motivated pro-active individual with a passion for community engagement in the non-profit world. The housing coordinator will primarily provide support for housing development in the Hawthorne neighborhood. Learn more at https://db.tt/fXBfW3ti.   

Applications now accepted for STEP-UP summer youth employment program


The City of Minneapolis youth employment program STEP-UP is now accepting applications for 2016 summer interns. Eligible Minneapolis youths ages 14-21 who are interested in participating in the 2016 STEP-UP class have until Feb. 5, 2016, to complete an application online.

STEP-UP is one of the country’s premiere youth employment programs, serving Minneapolis youths who face some of the greatest barriers to employment. This includes youths from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, youths of color, youths from recent immigrant families, and youths with disabilities. In addition to summer jobs with more than 230 top Twin Cities companies, nonprofits and public agencies, STEP-UP also offers work readiness training, advanced-level internships and industry-specific career opportunities that help interns integrate their career exposure with post-secondary education and career planning.

Prior to being placed in their internships, youths receive work readiness training certified by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce that prepares them for a professional work environment. Returning interns receive advanced training that helps them deepen their professional skills. Throughout their internships, they gain valuable on-the-job skills, make strong professional connections, and become exposed to careers they may have not otherwise accessed without STEP-UP.

Since the program was launched in 2004, it has provided more than 21,000 internship opportunities. In 2015, STEP-UP placed more than 1,600 Minneapolis youths in jobs with more than 200 businesses, public agencies and nonprofits. The 2015 class held 91 percent youths of color, 40 percent youths from recent immigrant families, and 12 percent youths with disabilities or other significant barriers to employment. Representing 38 different languages from around the world, 30 percent of the class spoke fluently in languages besides English.

Businesses, public agencies and nonprofits interested in employing interns in 2016 can find information on the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP website.

STEP-UP is a City of Minneapolis program in partnership with AchieveMpls, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and Project for Pride in Living.

To learn more about STEP-UP or to access the online STEP-UP application, visit the City of Minneapolis website

Minneapolis offers free home energy efficiency visits, no-interest financing on improvements

The City of Minneapolis is offering free Home Energy Squad visits to income-qualified Minneapolis households while funds last. Qualified households have incomes less than $35,310 for one person plus $12,480 for each additional person. That’s $47,790 for two people, $60,270 for three people, or up to $122,670 for eight people. Homeowners can call 612-335-5874 to confirm eligibility and schedule a visit.

Minneapolis households over the income limit can still receive the visit for $70 – which includes a consultation, materials and labor.

The Home Energy Squad visits bring energy efficiency experts to participants’ homes to install energy-saving materials and make recommendations on energy-saving upgrades. A crew of energy consultants will visit homes and:

  • Install energy-saving materials such as door weatherstripping, compact fluorescent light bulbs, a programmable thermostat, and high-efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators.
  • Test for air leaks.
  • Inspect the insulation in attics and walls.
  • Check heating systems and water heaters for safety.
  • Recommend energy upgrades based on what they find in the tests.
  • Refer homeowners to no-interest financing if they decide to do certain recommended upgrades.

To schedule a Home Energy Squad visit, call 612-335-5874 or visit mncee.org/hes-mpls.

For a limited time, the City of Minneapolis also offers no-interest financing to participants making insulation and air sealing upgrades recommended by the Home Energy Squad. For more information about no-interest financing on recommended insulation and air sealing upgrades, call 612-335-5884.

Rules expand for vacant lot gardens

The City of Minneapolis approved new rules in leasing City-owned vacant lots for community gardens. Now 43 more City-owned parcels will be available for community gardeners to lease in 2016, bringing the total to more than 100. Eligible leaseholders will now also include urban farmers and market gardeners besides community gardeners. Other changes to the rules include:

  • Leases for one-, three- or five-year terms.
  • Insurance liability requirement decreased by $1 million.
  • Lease agreements will require pollinator-friendly practices.

These changes came about through the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council’s 2015 policy recommendations following increasing demand from residents for both community and commercial gardening space in the city.

Access to these lots will help improve food equity and access to healthy food, and grow the local food economy.

Upcoming Events 

1/4: Met Council seeks Equity Advisory Committee members

1/9: Fix-It Clinic

1/9: CARAG Bryant Square Park Mosaic Workshop (also 1/11, 1/13 and 1/30)

1/15: HPDL Frost Fest

1/16: Winter Kite Festival

1/18: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations at Powderhorn, MLK parks   

1/23: Corcoran Book and Bake Sale

1/24: Lake of The Isles Skating Party

1/25: Tenant Advocacy Discussion

1/28: Longfellow Winter Warming Party

1/29: Fix-It Tech Event  

1/30: Art Sled Rally

Neighborhood and Community Relations Department

Director, David Rubedor 
Crown Roller Mill, Room 425
105 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 673-3737