SEK-CAP’s Community Engagement Department partners with organizations and entities to combat poverty and improve communities in Southeast Kansas
Community Planning – The Community Engagement Department seeks opportunities to work within communities throughout SEK-CAP’s service area on planning initiatives that result in change. Potential partners include (but are not limited to) County Commissions, City Commissions, School Districts, Pittsburg State University, Community Colleges, Service Providers, and Project 17. A few of the special projects that the department is/has been involved with as the need arises include the following:
• Pittsburg – We’re working in collaboration with the city of Pittsburg and its Downtown Group charged with all things related to ongoing development of the downtown area. To date, there have been policy changes, special event programming, user amenities added such as bike racks, and numerous ideas about physical changes.
• Elk County (Sedan) – We’ve met with the chairman of the Elk county Economic Development Committee to determine if/how we can be involved with identifying potential economic development opportunities.
• Montgomery County (Coffeyville) – We have a seat on and actively participate in the Early Childhood Action Team (ECAT) at its monthly meetings to discuss all things relevant to improve the lives of young people and their families. To that end, the Department has been extensively involved with the creation of a public/private partnership that may result in significant funding for an addition to the existing Dr. Jerry Hamm Early Childhood Learning Center.
• Montgomery County (Independence) – We have worked with the Independence Diversity Committee to work toward the Committee’s goals of community education, development of an anti-bullying campaign, and their COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS PROGRAM.
• Labette County (Parsons) – We participate regularly in Labette County on a citizen group committee dedicated to the development of a Boys & Girls Club. The group completed a community assessment which evaluated existing programs for young people and concluded that a new club is needed.
• All Counties Regional Assessment – We are engaged in an assessment of all twelve counties in SEK-CAP’s service area and an additional five counties in the Project 17 service area. The assessment will provide current data about how best to prioritize and allocate resources to opportunities to help those in poverty.
Project 17 Regional Planning Initiative – The Department’s Director sits on the core team of a group called Project 17. This group was formed in 2013 by state senators whose vision was to identify and find resources to affect positive change. For example, the 17 county region remains largely a broadband desert, which puts it at a competitive disadvantage. Additional thought is given to key issues affecting workforce development relative to improving soft skills (showing up for work each day and on time, workforce education, housing and transportation issues, and development of higher paying jobs.
Educational Presentations – The Department Director is a certified community planner by the American Planning Association (APA) with a designation of AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners). This background lends itself to presentations, as needed or requested, on planning matters that will serve our agency’s goals of helping individuals and families in poverty.
Special Projects – As the need and/or opportunity arises, the Community Engagement Department will selectively become involved with others to accomplish its purpose of combating poverty and improving the communities in Southeast Kansas.