In a move that will diversify Hennepin County’s Human Services Division and bring together community partners, Hennepin County has changed its education hiring requirements for the Human Services Representative position to recommend either a two-year degree, graduation from a county-approved training program or a combination of education and experience.
In response to this change, a cross-sector collaborative including Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), Project for Pride in Living (PPL), Minneapolis Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Hennepin County has worked together to design a county-approved Human Services Pathways training program specifically intended to educate students for a job with Hennepin County. The eight-month training program provides a curriculum of Human Services, customer service and computer courses in order to prepare individuals for the position of Human Service Representative with Hennepin County. The pilot run of the Pathways program is set to begin this March, and is recruiting 30 students. Click here for an informational flier.
The customized program was designed and will be taught through MCTC’s department of Continuing Education and Customized Training (CECT) in collaboration with Minneapolis ABE. “This has been a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with an employer and community partners to create a program that’s truly designed for what the employer wants and what students need,” said Loretta Anderson, director of continuing education at MCTC. CECT has a long history of providing customized training for Minnesota employers including the City of Minneapolis, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Caribou Coffee and the Department of Human Services.
PPL received a generous FastTRAC grant from the State of Minnesota to launch this new training program. PPL will recruit students for the Human Services Pathways program and provide supportive services intended to remove obstacles to education like childcare and transportation. PPL will also coordinate with Hennepin County to provide internship experiences for students when they near the completion of their program. “From start to finish, PPL will help students by removing obstacles to their success,” said Anderson. “It’s wonderful to have PPL as a partner—they provide a holistic approach to student success.” This is one of four short-term certificate programs PPL has created in partnership with MCTC and other partners, all with the aim of creating life-changing opportunities for low-income individuals to assemble the skills they need to get and keep a job, leading to a career.
Students who finish the training program will earn eight credits at MCTC—six of them in the College’s renowned Human Services program. “Human Services is one of MCTC’s star programs, particularly because it expertly blends work and study through internships that often result in placements,” said MCTC Associate Vice President of Workforce Development Mike Christenson. In addition to graduates of the new collaborative training program, graduates of MCTC’s Human Services program will also be eligible for the redefined Hennepin County hiring guidelines.
According to Hennepin County, human services directors recognize the need to hire from a pool of diverse individuals to reflect the clients that the county serves. Programs like the Human Services Pathways program encourage hiring from educational institutions with strong ties to diverse communities and disadvantaged neighborhoods. The County recognizes experience is valuable, especially combined with training and education.
“This move will immediately diversify the workforce of Hennepin County,” said Christenson.