**Minnesota State Services for the Blind: Aging Eyes Initiative
In response to increasing demand for services in the senior vision loss program, State Services for the Blind (SSB) created the Aging Eyes Initiative to partner with organizations that serve seniors. SSB has trained more than 400 service providers to recognize and provide simple services for seniors who are newly diagnosed with vision loss. Through these partnerships, 714 seniors were served in 2017.
**Minnesota Department of Transportation and Red Lake Nation: Bridge Project Collaboration
The road and bridges involved in this project serve residents of the Red Lake Indian Nation, as well as the general public traveling to and through the reservation. This remote stretch of Highway 1 is a crucial link in the transportation network in northwestern Minnesota.
**Minnesota Housing: Park Place of Bemidji Supportive Housing Development
Park Place of Bemidji serves formerly homeless individuals in a 60-unit apartment building near downtown Bemidji. The development’s unique design creates a home-like atmosphere with culturally appropriate services to help residents improve their health and quality of life. The project is a partnership among many private and public sector stakeholders in the region.
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: CareerOneStop Chatbot: CareerBot
The CareerOneStop website serves a national audience of job seekers and other workforce participants. The site is broad and deep and can be difficult to navigate. CareerBot is a conversational Chabot (English and Spanish) that helps people quickly connect with resources through text. Available from every webpage, users type their queries about jobs, education, salaries, and so on. For example, they can search for jobs by entering their occupation and a zip code to see local job postings. Or they can search for educational programs in a similar manner. CareerBot can also use the site search to
find relevant results.
Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Support Center: Alternative Payment Options
This initiative is making it easier for families to make their child support payments and will reduce delays in getting money to families while reducing staff time and processing costs. A portion of parents in the child support system are “unbanked”, which means they do not have bank accounts and, therefore, cannot pay child support through traditional means. This initiative serves low-income families, immigrant populations and families with language barriers, who make up a large portion of “unbanked” families. It helps families become financially self-sufficient and contribute to the financial needs of their children.
Minnesota Management and Budget: Minnesota Results First Initiative
As state and local policymakers face difficult budget choices, knowing which services lead to positive outcomes and taxpayer savings is valuable. Results First is a powerful tool that gives policymakers the ability to use rigorous research, combined with context from local practitioners. Over the last few years, legislators and county commissioners have used this information to make investments that have the potential to improve the lives of Minnesotans. To date, the Results First team has produced analyses in child welfare, juvenile justice, substance use, adult mental health, and adult criminal justice. This
research is publicly available at mn.gov/mmb/results-first.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Trails Division & Health Partners: Prescribing Parks and Trails for Public Health
Minnesota State Parks and Trails teamed up with HealthPartners and other local park systems to promote outdoor recreation and its health benefits. Through this new program, HealthPartners physicians can issue a “park prescription” for one hour of outdoor play daily for children ages 2 to 13 visiting one of their hospitals and clinics in the St. Croix River Valley. DNR and HealthPartners cut through red tape to provide opportunities and incentives for families to be physically active and enjoy the outdoors. DNR also began working with Ramsey County Library in White Bear Lake to offer free 7-day state park passes for checkout, focusing on getting more families outdoors to experience the multiple benefits of nature.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety: Division of Emergency Communication Networks - Text-to-911 Statewide Implementation
Text-to-911 is an alternative option for calling 911 in an emergency. 911 has traditionally been used as a voice service for citizens of Minnesota. Because of this, there have been several segments of the population underserved by 911 including the deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and speech impaired communities. While Text-to-911 is meant to be a second option for the general population of Minnesota, it works as a first option for these communities. This service has also been valuable to people experiencing domestic violence who are unable to speak during an emergency for fear of being heard.
MnDOT Office of Public Engagement and Constituent Services: Listening To the Public & Reporting What We Hear
In Minnesota, everybody’s lives are impacted in some way by the state’s transportation system. Therefore, the public has a lot to say about it. MnDOT receives over 3,000 inquiries annually from the public through its online submission form on MnDOT.gov. Due to recent innovations, customer inquiries are now more efficiently connected to specific roadway segments. By using the newly developed “Roadway Project Mapping Application” and “Form Stack Pin Dropper,” inquiries are now able to be routed, recorded, and reported more efficiently in a geospatial manner. This improvement helps the agency spot trending questions, identify systemic issues, route inquiries, and respond more expediently to the needs of its customers.
The top three projects marked with (**) received a professionally produced video to share the story of their work with others.