University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Scrubs Discussion Classroom

Building stronger
  urban communities

in partnership with
    North Minneapolis

Emerging research and ongoing programs

As a research center, UROC's work is shaped by the knowledge and assets of the community, as well as the strengths and resources of the University. Its partnerships focus on community identified concerns and are based on mutual trust, accountability and shared goals.

Emerging Research
Sex Trafficking and Community Well-being Iniative

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Northside Achievement Zone's 4-5 Ready to Succeed!

UROC-based researchers with the University of Minnesota Center for Early Childhood and Education (CEED) are developing pre-school parenting strategies for the Northside Achievement Zone's Family Academy. Family Academy programs deliver high-impact strategies to parents aimed at building a culture of academic achievement in the home. Targeted to parents of preschoolers, the academy's 4-5 Ready to Succeed! Project focuses on the development of school readiness skills in children, while emphasizing the role of parents in building a supportive and successful environment for educational, social and behavioral success.

Northside Asset Mapping Project

North Minneapolis residents have many strengths as a community, yet most focus on the negatives.  Getting a handle on actual numbers and showing the picture of assets and opportunity has been a challenge. The data that currently exists is scattered and piecemeal: furthermore, numerous commercial and economic development efforts undertaken by government, non-profit and for-profit entities have been stymied or stalled by information gaps and perception problems in and near North Minneapolis. UROC and the University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) are undertaking a comprehensive asset mapping project related to economic and community development, as well as health. Good data can significantly contribute to community health and well-being by forming a foundation for community-driven and more equitable health and human services, economic development, and community-building. 

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Northside Job Creation Team

The Northside Job Creation Team (NJCT) is a collaboration representing major stakeholders across the University, as well as from the City of Minneapolis, Governor's Urban Initiative Board, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Urban League, Pillsbury United Communities and the local business and faith communities. University partners in the project include UROC, Carlson School of Management’s (CSOM) Carlson Consulting Enterprise, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

With a goal of attracting 1,000 sustainable wage jobs to North Minneapolis by 2019, the NJCT is currently in discussions with business owners and community stakeholders and is actively identifying potential sites and facilities for start-up and relocation. In October, 2013 NSJCT received a $65,000 grant from the Minneapolis Foundation's Northside Funders Group to hire a community-based project director and student researchers from the CSOM to oversee the identification of prospective businesses and analysis of business plans and proposals.

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ONGOING ProgramS Research

Health & Wellness

Community & Economic Development

Education & Lifelong Learning

African American Leadership Forum

The African American Leadership Forum is a movement of African American leaders and stewards across five metropolitan areas—the Twin Cities, Portland, Seattle, Des Moines, and Tacoma—that is committed to the revitalization and sustainability of a vibrant African American community. We are united in the belief that we can do more together than separately. We recognize that in order to achieve enduring, positive, change in our communities we need a truly transformative agenda; one that is exciting and fresh; one that challenges the status quo and changes the game.

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AmeriCorps V.I.S.T.A. project

Black Men Reading

The goal of Black Men Reading is to provide mentoring and educational support for men on the Northside. This collaboration has been on-going for 10 years. The collaboration supports Northside men to continue education. This partnership includes Northpoint Health and Wellness, the African American Read-in as well as the Postsecondary Teaching and Learning department of the University of Minnesota.

Business & Development Services

Business Development Services (BDS) works with pre-venture, new start-up, and established businesses to help them master business fundamentals, build capacity, improve their performance and profitability, increase innovation, enhance learning, and develop the leadership skills used by successful business executives. Part of the University’s Office of Business and Community Economic Development, BDS leverages the internal resources and assets of the University in coordination with the resources and expertise of external community partners to meet the needs and interests of business clients. BDS builds on BCED’s established strengths in management and technical assistance to small businesses, expanding to provide additional educational, legal, and accounting resources/tools; workshops and seminars; and training and direct coaching support. Support services cover three key functional areas: training and education, capacity development programs, and consultative services.

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Partners: City of Minneapolis, West Broadway Business Coalition, Minnesota Minority Supplier Development Council, Women Business Enterprise National Council, Build Wealth, National Association of Minority Contractors, MASCA, Minnesota Economic Development Association.

Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood

We know that children who are good readers in the early elementary grades are more likely to do well in the later grades and go on to succeed academically. But for too many children, identification of their literacy and language delays come too late, resulting in life-long reading problems. The center is doing community-based research in preschools to find the best ways to identify and help young children who are struggling with skills that are important for learning to read.

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Community Power Against Violence

Computer Technology Services

Computer Technology Services build bridges to economic growth through innovative partnerships bringing technology to underserved populations through its Technology Programs. CTS focuses on closing the digital gap by providing access to broadband, computer and software training for small businesses, nonprofit organizations and community residents. A computer refurbishing lab/program has also been established to refurbish recycled computers and then donate them to low-income families and children. Families are also provided tech support, computer safety and fundamentals training, and other services and assistance.

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Partners: North American Membership Group, Bogart Organic Green Gardens, We Win Institute, PC United, ASPIRE Youth Center, Select Source International, Camphor Fiscally Fit Center, Lifetrack Resources, Asset Recovery Corporation, Carlson School of Management, Head Start, AEON.

Cooking Matters

Cooking Matters is a hands-on, cooking based nutrition education program that teaches low-income families how to prepare healthy and tasty meals on a limited budget, using foods that are commonly available in stores and from emergency food providers.

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Co-Parent Court

Co-Parent Court is a three-year demonstration project that provides free co-parenting help to unmarried parents selected to participate in the project. Co-Parent Court includes: paternity establishment and child support, Co-Parent Education classes, individualized support from the Gateway program for moms and the FATHER Project for dads, and a customized parenting plan created for each family.

Co-Parent Court can also help with domestic violence, education, housing, health issues and jobs. The programs goals are to: improve the well-being of children, help unmarried parents get along, create parenting plans that work, and reduce conflict.

Cultural Providers Network

The Cultural Providers Network (CPN) is a coalition of providers for children and families of color, institutions of higher learning and Minnesota policy professionals interested in bridging research with practice and policy. As a network, CPN invites participation from a broad range of people and organizations. The mission of CPN is to build and sustain a network of diverse communities and organizations with a special interest in culture and ethnicity in order to promote policies, practices, standards and research that improve the health of children and their families and communities with a focus on behavioral health.

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Givens Foundation Literary Arts Program

The University of Minnesota’s Office of the Senior Vice President of Academic Administration and the Givens Foundation partner to produce the NOMMO African American Author Series, a nationally known annual series that explores the state of the art of African American literature with legendary and contemporary African American authors.

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Good Fathers Good Food

The Good Fathers, Good Food project focuses on nutrition education and gardening project for fathers and their children, emphasizing the role of dads as nurtures of their children.

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Governor’s Early Learning Council

The Early Learning Council is a federally mandated advisory group appointed by Governor Dayton to make recommendations to the Governor, Children’s Cabinet and Legislature, including proposed legislation on how to effectively create a high-quality childhood system in Minnesota to ensure all children arrive at kindergarten school-ready. The Council is responsible for fulfilling the duties required by federal and state statutes. The ELC consists of up to 30 members appointed by the Governor, the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate.

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Growth Accelerator Program

The Growth Accelerator Program (GAP) is an intense, nine-month program designed to accelerate the growth of high potential small businesses located in Minneapolis. Targeted primarily, but not exclusively, to minority- and women-owned businesses, the program helps business owners address specific growth challenges. Through a competitive application process, 10-12 business owners are selected each year and given access to a comprehensive support system that includes one-on-one advising, MBA student consulting, and education and peer-group support. The program runs annually from September to May.

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Hmong Families and Educational Choices

JEM (Junior Entrepreneurs of Minnesota)

The University of Minnesota offers a month-long summer camp designed to introduce students to the basics of entrepreneurship and leadership in a fun, hands-on learning environment. Several unique college preparatory workshops and leadership programs are also available year-round. All jEM programs aim to build students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills, their ability to work in teams, and to enhance their confidence and sense of social responsibility. Eventually, students may receive the opportunity to go on to build their own enterprise with resources and assistance from the University and our partners.

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Partners: Step-up, Synico Staffing, YMCA, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota Twins, Bachmans, Carlson School of Management, Quality Bicycle Products, City of Minneapolis, Select Source international.

Master Gardeners

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Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing

The mission of MCNO is to build the capacity of residents and neighborhood organizations to successfully take on local concerns by developing the skills of neighborhood organizers and leaders. MCNO envisions neighborhoods where people are organized to identify and tackle local issues, building vital communities that value democracy, inclusiveness and fairness.

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Minnesota Statewide Coordinated Statement of Needs

The Minnesota Statewide Coordinated Statement of Needs is a partnership with the MN Department of Human Services, Disabilities Services Division-HIV/AIDS Programs and the Ryan White CARE Act. The purpose is to identify barriers to care and emerging issues affecting people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota and to identify goals for how to address the emerging issues and barriers during the process.

Minnesota Tax Education and Assistance Outreach

The MN TEAC mission is to promote tax education and financial literacy to working Minnesotans with limited resources, to support free tax assistance and taxpayer advocacy efforts, and to help coalition members maintain awareness of tax and financial resource policy issues.

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Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center

The Minnesota Urban AHEC was established in fall 2009 to strengthen the connections between the health professions programs at the University of Minnesota and the North Minneapolis community. The AHEC works along a continuum to increase the number of health professionals providing primary care in the community. This includes supporting youth with an interest in health careers and creating opportunities for current health professionals to work in underserved areas throughout the Twin Cities.

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Northside Achievement Zone Family Academy Study

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Northside Achievement Zone Internal Evaluation

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Northside Community Response Team

Northside Fresh

Northside Fresh is a coalition of community partners whose goal is to increase access to healthy food for the North Minneapolis community.

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Pathways Project

Participants and program staff alike can attest that out-of-school programs provide a unique opportunity for youth development. But how exactly does the “development” in youth development work? We know that young people are highly engaged and stretched in new ways. We know that they develop important life skills (responsibility, teamwork, skills for navigating the world around them) and that these often transfer beyond the program to other parts of their lives (family, school, planning for the future). But we have little systematic knowledge about how these developmental changes occur, what conditions best foster them and how culture comes into play. This study aims to bridge the gap between research and practice. The objective is to understand the processes and pathways of youth development in ways that are directly helpful to youth programs.

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Project Stars

The University of Minnesota’s Center For Health Equity is conducting a research project in partnership with NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Inc. about the health effects of secondhand smoke on children. We are currently enrolling women who smoke and who have young children in the home. Project STARS staff make every effort to accommodate the schedule of participants and offer evening and weekend visits.

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Second Chance Saturdays    

Co-sponsored by the Council on Crime and Justice, these information workshops help former offenders understand the criminal record process, access their own records and advocate for themselves when seeking employment.

Simply Good Eating

University of Minnesota Extension's Simply Good Eating Programs provide practical tips to families and individuals for making healthy choices in food and activity on a limited budget. Nutrition Education Assistants deliver a several-week series or one-time classes to a variety of audiences at many different types of locations: children in grade school and after school programs; pregnant and parenting teens at school; and adults at community centers, shelters, Basic Education programs, recovery programs, food shelves, Early Childhood and Family Education classes, and workforce centers. Programs for new immigrant families can be offered in various languages.

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Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators Research Project  

This project aims to measure the early literacy performance of second language learners in the Twin Cities, specifically Spanish-speaking, pre-school children. While Hispanic and Latino populations have grown exponentially in the metro area, few valid and reliable assessments are available to examine early literacy skills.

University-Northside Partnership Community Affairs Committee

The University Northside Partnership (UNP) formally began in 2005 after a community vote that convened an alliance of Northside communities, the university, Hennepin County, and the city of Minneapolis to work together to resolve some of the many challenges facing residents on the north side of Minneapolis. The UNP focuses on the community-identified issues of education, health and wellness, and community and economic development. A Community Affair Committee (CAC) meets monthly and serves as the operational arm of the UNP. At CAC meetings, interested participants discuss potential strategies for using research and developing partnerships to address these issues. In addition, work groups of residents, faculty, and other city and county representatives have formed using participatory action research.

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Urban 4H

The Urban Youth Development Office is a part of University Extension's Center for Youth Development. The office works on behalf of young people living in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburban communities. The goal to measurably improve their learning through youth-centered educational and engagement programs. Our programs provide volunteers, program leaders, and community partners with skills and resources for building effective learning environments.

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Urban Garden Youth Employment Program

Youth age 12-18 have the opportunity to apply for garden based summer work experiences. These experiences are designed to build basic job, entrepreneur, communication, and leadership skills through garden based work at urban garden sites. There are two components to the youth garden work experience: CityFresh Entrepreneurs, and Community Youth Leaders. The National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education are used to guide program planning and development in all Urban Garden Youth Employment programs.

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UROC Engaged Dissertation Fellows Program

UROC's Engaged Dissertation Fellows Program is a guided, peer-based fellowship for University graduate students seeking to develop their skills in community-engaged scholarship. The one-year program is designed for doctoral students who have completed their coursework, passed their preliminary exams, and are working on their dissertation. Fellows receive a $500 professional development stipend; work and meeting space at UROC; structured professional development opportunities; monthly meetings and peer support within the cohort; and mentoring and methods support from UROC academic staff. For more information, contact UROC Director of Research Lauren Martin at

UROC Generation Next Faculty Fellows

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Violence Prevention Action Research Team

In response to the youth violence in N. Minneapolis a group of leaders of community service programs who work with at-risk youth, representatives from the University of Minnesota's Urban Research & Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC), and the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) began working to address the issue of youth violence.

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