Mark Jeffers, Jessi Schultz, Brenda Butterfield
Economic Development, Improved Internal Relationships
The spirit of collaboration was recently brought to life by a team consisting of Mark Jeffers from Economic Development and Jessi Schultz and Brenda Butterfield from Health and Human Services, who serve as childcare experts.
Jessi, Brenda, and Mark met one day for an informal get together. Mark was curious to understand more about the intricacies of childcare in Aitkin County. He knew that excellent childcare services could attract new residents and contribute to the Aitkin's growth. Still, he also understood that to foster better collaborative insights, he needed a deeper understanding of childcare in the county's context.
Mark asked Jessi and Brenda if they could enlighten him. Despite their hectic schedules, Jessi and Brenda agreed and gave Mark detailed insight into the state of childcare at Aitkin. They took their mentorship a step further, inviting him to join their quarterly training sessions on the subject, providing him with relevant and real-time knowledge about the childcare landscape.
Equipped with this knowledge, Mark saw a unique opportunity for collaboration. By merging this newfound understanding of childcare with his knowledge of grants, he realized they could leverage funding to further improve the county's childcare facilities. Together, Mark, Jessi, and Brenda requested and were approved for $50,000 from the Aitkin County Fiscal Recovery Fund. This funding was used to offer grant awards to existing childcare businesses, which made it possible to produce seven grants for childcare initiatives, a significant achievement that will enhance the quality of childcare services in Aitkin County. They also secured $100,000 in state funds that created a grant opportunity for new childcare businesses in Aitkin County. This successful collaboration not only strengthened the relationships between the different departments but also led to substantial financial support for the county.
By learning from each other, sharing expertise, and co-creating solutions, Jessi, Brenda, and Mark brought about a significant change and improvement. This not only brings Aitkin's core value of "Collaboration" to life, it also paves the way for further synergies and shared successes.