Reconnecting America’s Education Program envisions a nation where practitioners, policymakers, professionals and the public have access to inspiring and informative research, can develop the skills they need to create and maintain healthy and vibrant communities and regions, and remain connected in peer networks to foster knowledge development and beneficial working relationships.
To realize this vision, Reconnecting America produces and disseminates cutting-edge and relevant research, tools, and educational resources; offers standardized and customized trainings; provides strategic coaching and advising; organizes local, regional and national convenings; and, develops targeted learning networks to promote knowledge development, relationship-building and leadership.
We refer to our educational programming as our LINK initiative based on four key areas of work: Leadership, Innovation, Networks and Knowledge.
How We Make An Impact
In order to cultivate leaders in sustainable community development and TOD, Reconnecting America offers standardized and customized trainings, workshops, seminars and presentations that are designed to meet each partner organizations’ particular needs. The LINK team develops in-person and web-based trainings that range in length from a few hours to several days and has worked with nonprofits, institutions, public agencies and other types of organizations involved in sustainable community development and TOD. We also organize regional and national conferences on topics of current importance to the field.
Reconnecting America staff trainers are leaders in the field of sustainable community development and are seasoned and engaging presenters. Trainings draw heavily upon case studies from around the US and can be highly interactive, depending on the client and audience.
Common Workshop Topics Include:
101 Series Training/Workshops
Provides an introduction to the principles and tools that serve as the foundation for creating quality communities around transit.
- Why Transit-Oriented Development and Why Now?
- Introduction to Sustainable Community Development
201+ Series Training/Workshops
An intermediate level training that provides a more in-depth look into the principles and tools of creating quality communities around transit.
- Mixed-Income Housing
- Station Area Planning
- Transit and Employment
- Building Quality Communities around Transit
- Creating Great Places around Transit
- TOD Financing and Implementation
- Partnerships to Support TOD
- TOD Tools for Metropolitan Planning Organizations
- New Tools in TOD (MITOD, TOD Database, H + T Calculator)
- Joint Development
- Sustainable Urban Design and Transit
- Smart Parking
- Using Economic Data for Sustainable Community Planning
301+ Series Training/Workshops
Advanced level training for professionals experienced in sustainable community development. Advanced trainings are customized to meet the needs of the client.
Reconnecting America’s LINK Initiative provides strategic coaching and advising programs that can help identify innovative strategies or plans that translate your organization’s unique vision into practice. Through a targeted and collaborative problem-solving process, RA staff will help you align various regional or local goals under a common strategy, achieve deeper insight into pressing community issues or emerging problems and enhance leadership capabilities within your organization or the broader community.
We do this by:
- Conducting interviews with staff and partners
- Identifying and aligning key values, principles and beliefs with strategies
- Conducting research and community assessments
- Analyzing and make recommendations for new approaches
- Convening results-oriented meetings
- Designing discussions which engage participants
- Working with small or large groups
- Turning the dialogue into actionable next steps
Planners, developers, policymakers and agency staff throughout the country are wrestling with ways they can effectively develop the knowledge, skillset, and leadership necessary to address the need for re-designing our communities and regions. Reconnecting America is able to serve as a catalyst, connector, convener, and clearinghouse for information and network development vital to meeting this demand.
Reconnecting America convenes working groups and networks of professionals and practitioners, in order to promote knowledge exchange and relationship-building around key issues or in targeted states, regions and localities.
Networks may take the form of:
- An ongoing national or regional topic-based list serve.
- An invitational regional convening (i.e. with and MPO, COG and/or transit agency) designed to help practitioners, advocates, agencies, and organizations to get to know one another, build technical capacity and/or share best practices on a particular topic.
- An open convening that is designed to bring together a broader audience of community based organizations and leaders, business, and individuals. Open convenings can help professionals in the field make connections and build up their networks of programs and organizations that connect people, places, and possibilities.
- A regional TOD work group that brings together advocacy groups, transit agencies, state agencies, and other key stakeholders to define expectations, timelines, roles and responsibilities that identify region-wide TOD opportunities and strategies.
- A state or regional policy reform work group that is created in order to develop and advance campaigns to influence state policies about transit and TOD. With this type of work group, Reconnecting America works as a convener and advisor on policy and campaign process. Reconnecting America is not a lobbying organization.
Example: Reconnecting America helped to convene the Twin Cities TOD Advisory Committee, a group of community-based organizations, public agency staff and local and national foundations that meet to work on issues related to growth, housing and development around the region’s expanding light rail system. Also, Reconnecting America convened a round table discussion at RailVolution 2010 for Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Transit Agency staff on how coordination between these key regional entities can be improved.
The Education team produces and disseminates cutting-edge and relevant research, tools and educational resources. Working with our partner organizations including the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, we develop interactive web-based tools, beginner-friendly materials on essential topics in sustainable community development, and a searchable clearinghouse of all published reports and research related to the field.
Example: Through a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, Reconnecting America and our partners in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development maintain the largest searchable library of research and other resources on transit, transit-oriented development and healthy communities. To search the library, click here.