Back to school…for advocates too!

Not only are all the kids heading back to school, but fall seems to be a prime conference and training season for adults. Nan mentioned MCN’s Annual Conference last week, but I wanted to fill you in a couple of other learning opportunities coming up. Honestly, this isn’t just self-promotion – I really think these events are very useful for anyone interested enough in policy to read a blog called “Minnesota Budget Bites.”

1. Trouble in Lake Wobegon: Is Minnesota Becoming Average? If you’re not familiar with The Annual Conference on Policy Analysis (sponsored by the U of MN’s College of Continuing Education), it’s the ultimate Minnesota gathering of policy geeks from the government, private and nonprofit sectors. And since I sat on the planning committee this year, I know it’s got a great program tackling topics like social disparities, state and local tax system (our own Nan Madden is on the panel!), alternative fuels and the rural economy, transportation, mortgage foreclosure and more. And it’s a great networking opportunity!

The headliner is Miles Rapoport with Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action. The guy is fascinating and has a wealth of experience. I first heard him speak at a policy conference in Chicago back in 2001. Ever since then, I’m always excited when I see him on a program – I know I’ll be entertained and educated.  The early-bird registration deadline for this conference is October 3rd.

2. Invest in Minnesota. This is a coalition of nonprofit, labor and religious groups (including the Minnesota Budget Project) that are holding strategy discussions around the state to build support for raising an adequate level of revenues, in a fair way, to support key investments in Minnesota. You’ll find out how the state got into the current financial mess…and how we can start to turn things around. We have free events coming up in Duluth (Sept 12), Minneapolis (Sept 11, Sept 13) and Mankato (Sept 24). More will be scheduled.

3. Follow the Dollars.This is a training put together by the Minnesota Budget Project. There are actually two separate workshops – one on the state budget and one on the federal budget. The goal is to equip you with the basics you need to know about the budgeting process – the terminology, the time-lines, the key advocacy points and any insider tips to make you more effective in your work. I think both beginner and experienced advocates tell us it’s a very helpful training. The next chance to take either of these workshops is November 11 in Saint Paul – but we are also finalizing the details for one in Mankato on September 24 – check our website soon.

Happy learning!

-Christina Wessel

About Christina Wessel

Christina served as the Minnesota Budget Project's deputy director until January 2014.
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