Does your county have a Citizens’ Academy?
This is a question being tossed about in a lot of counties across the nation today, and many are deciding they should. People are looking for the county to help them in some manner, and how can they get help if they don’t know what or who to look for? Citizens’ Academies are an excellent means of education for a public that is hungry for information about what counties can do for its people.
It begins with county leadership participating in the process. Every county administrator should be available to lead the discussion in the first class, and every department head taking the instructional lead in classes.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) has a board game called “Counties Work” that is instrumental in teaching the county story. The National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) wholeheartedly endorses this fun educational game and, in fact, helped develop it with NACo.
New NACO priorities to advance NACO’s Executive Director Matt Chase is already working to align organizational resources and federal policy goals, improve research on county innovations and solutions and enhance communications with the membership and partners. Furthermore, he is going to examine NACo’s relationship building and partnership efforts with state associations, affiliates, corporations, foundations and other stakeholders.
Your constituents need to know that NACO assists counties in many ways, including cost-saving, efficiency and innovative solutions (including partnerships with state associations, affiliates and others), evaluating the financial, intellectual and human resources necessary to successfully implement the board’s vision and objectives.
All of this can be included in a Citizens’ Academy program in your county. Check out Helpful Links on the NACIO website and contact one of the counties listed that sponsors a Citizens’ Academy. You will be taking the first step to educating your citizens as to what your county does for them and how they can take advantage of the benefits of county government!