Recipients from the Midwest were presented with the 2007 Innovations awards Tuesday evening during the Midwestern Legislative Conference’s Annual Meeting in Traverse City, Mich.
North Dakota’s Parental Responsibility Initiative for the Development of Employment (PRIDE) and Indiana’s BioTown USA were commended as exemplary state programs.
The PRIDE program aims to provide an alternative to incarceration for parents held in contempt for failing to pay child support because they are unemployed or underemployed. The project provides case management, job skills improvement, job placement and support services to help noncustodial parents attain stable jobs.
PRIDE, begun in 2005, offers the court system and parents an opportunity to resolve nonpayment situations by improving parent’s employment and enabling them to support their children. Project officials also believe the payment of child support will encourage noncustodial parents to maintain a stronger relationship with their children.
BioTown USA is a plan to replace an entire town’s energy needs with renewable energy. In a partnership with the private sector, the program will use cutting-edge renewable-fuels technology to produce enough energy to power Reynolds, Ind., which has a population of 547.
The program, which broke ground in March, has three phases: increasing biofuels usage, establishing electricity production (from animal, human and other kinds of waste) and cleaning up methane gas to use as natural gas.
CSG’s Innovations Awards Program, initiated in 1986, was designed to afford greater public visibility to innovative and exemplary state programs. Each year, CSG sends out Innovations solicitation letters to state officials to identify new, creative and successful programs that are transferable to other states.
Ten finalists are named each year and invited to present their programs to the Innovations Committee, which chooses two award recipients. Evaluation criteria include creativity, effectiveness, significance and transferability.
For more about the MLC Annual Meeting, including presentations from the conference, please visit www.csgmidwest.org.