Help Your Family, Friends, and Neighbors Take the Next Step to Skilling UpMeredith Fergus, Director of Research and SLEDS Manager
After more than a year of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota is looking forward to a brighter future, with increased opportunity for all Minnesotans to skill-up, earn a college credential, and improve their economic outlook. We are moving Forward Together and looking for passionate individuals and committed organizations to help achieve the state’s higher education attainment goal and to help skill up the state’s workforce.
We know that word of mouth is the most effective outreach tool to encourage adults to enroll or re-enroll in education or workforce training. Forward Together volunteer Ambassadors will come from all over the state and from a variety of personal, social, and professional backgrounds. They don’t need to be an expert on higher education or workforce development. They don’t have to have “all the answers”; they need only the desire to help fellow Minnesotans succeed. An Ambassador is someone who is interested in being trained how to have conversations with and provide support to the members of their family, social network, or community who might be ready to further their skills or take the next step in their educational journey. Ambassadors volunteer their time by helping us spread the word about Minnesota’s education and training opportunities.
Please help us connect with individuals in your community who would be ideal Ambassadors.
Forward Together was originally created to help achieve the state’s legislatively mandated higher education attainment goal, which is to get 70 percent of Minnesotans within each racial and ethnic community, ages 25-44, to obtain a postsecondary certificate or higher by 2025. Now in partnership with other agencies and programs, Forward Together seeks to increase the number of adults, specifically Black, indigenous, and persons of color, enrolling in and completing an education or training program.
The Ambassador Network
As Forward Together outreach begins this summer, Minnesota has partnered with Graduate! Network to recruit and train local volunteer ambassadors to encourage their friends, neighbors, and colleagues to enroll in or to return to college or workforce training and complete their programs.
With support from the National Governor’s Association Innovations Grant, the Ambassadors will be trained on not only higher education, but also Adult Basic Education integrated programs, state-supported workforce training programs, and accessing workforce or career services – ensuring a centralized source of information for Minnesotans.
Ambassadors will have training and support in this work. Being an Ambassador might involve face-to-face conversations, sharing information via social media, or exploring other ways that make sense for their community. The program is flexible and the possibilities for making a real impact are almost limitless!
To become an ambassador, register at https://mnforwardtogether.com/ambassadors/
Opportunity for Action
In addition to the Forward Together Ambassadors, Forward Together also engages leaders in education, industry, public service, and government in the decision-making process needed to address attainment gaps, as well as to generate action for improving postsecondary attainment at the community level. Local conversations began in 2019-2020 in communities across Minnesota, from Rochester to Moorhead.
Forward Together has been made possible through the active collaboration among:
- Minnesota Office of Higher Education
- Wilder Research, Minnesota Compass
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Minnesota Department of Education, Adult Basic Education
- Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry
- Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
- ABE Foundations/Staff Onboarding
- Adult Career Pathways
- CCR Standards
- Cultural Competency
- Digital Literacy/Northstar
- Distance Learning/Education
- HSE/Adult Diploma
- Mental Health
- Minnesota ABE
- One-Room Schoolhouse/Multilevel
- Professional Development
- Program Management
- Remote Instruction
- Social Studies
- Support Services
- Teaching Strategies