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County association recognizes 'Classroom to Community' project

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday accepted an achievement award presented to community services for its "Classroom to Community" program. The program is a partnership with the College of St. Scholastica's social work degree program, which offers mentoring to students and encourages hiring within community services. Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch

The Association of Minnesota Counties presented Crow Wing County with a County Achievement Award for the Classroom to Community project.

This award is presented by AMC in recognition of innovations in government that have improved the quality of life in Minnesota, a request for county board action stated.

To date, community services staff have mentored more than 23 students pursuing their degrees in social work through the College of St. Scholastica program's Central Lakes College campus. "What began eight years ago as an opportunity for experience-based learning has grown into a strong public-private partnership that is driving innovation in the field of social work to help better serve the residents of Crow Wing County and surrounding communities," the request stated. "As many county agencies struggle to fill open social worker positions, Crow Wing County is uniquely positioned to hire the best and the brightest graduates from one of the top social work degree programs."

The collaboration with St. Scholastica has served as a hiring pipeline for new social workers in the department, with 11 new hires coming directly out of the program.

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday accepted the award.

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