Public Engagement

Spring 2015

Public Engagement, Cornell ILR School's publication for outreach activities.

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Growing numbers of ILR students are making Buffalo their summer classroom as they work to revitalize the city's economy. Through the High Road Program, students are placed with organizations affiliated with the Partnership for the Public Good, a "think and do tank" devoted to commu- nity development. They select projects based on commu- nity needs and their study interests. "Some projects are research focused, while others have a policy component or involve direct community outreach," says Megan Connelly, associate director of the program. Students work Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, they recap the week's activities, share what they have learned, and take part in a Buffalo immersion experience, which includes tours, panel discussions and meetings with public officials. The paid internship program started in 2009 with five students — all from the Buffalo area. The summer of 2014 saw participation by 18 students representing seven states. "The experience has proved to be its own magnet," says Lou Jean Fleron, director of the program. As a High Road Fellow, Amber Aspinall '17 drafted an impact report for the Center for Employment Opportu- nities, an organization that provides re-entry job training for individuals returning home from prison. The report stressed the human element, showing how the center transforms people's lives. Aspinall also helped prepare clients for job interviews. "I made an impact on them, but they also made an im- pact on me," she says. "I will carry their stories with me throughout life." "Amber produced a great report that we're excited to publish," says Jeff Conrad, Western New York regional director. HIGH ROAD PROGRAM Renewing Buffalo Engagement Highlights: • At Habitat for Humanity Buffalo, a student researched impact of home ownership on families who live in Habitat houses. • Through the Health Sciences Charter School – a partnership between public schools and health care industry unions and employers – a student conducted an employment forecast of the local health services labor market. • High Roaders helped expand Buffalo CarShare service to low-income residents and students, drafted policy on a ballot initiative for dedicated public transit funding and connected local business with a bike-share project. Fleron says: "The High Roaders are known as a crew that makes a difference. Our partners increasingly request a High Road fellow; their work is that impressive." Proving the point, Conrad says, "Next year, I may ask for two High Road fellows." 5 High Road fellows from left: David Huang '14, John Parker '12, Derya Akbaba '13 and Andrea Thomas '12

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