Our second session was spent at the Fitchburg Library. We first learned a bit about our host city for the day from Julia Aratta Frata, an alder for the city. I found it interesting – even after working at a business in Fitchburg for almost ten years – that I hadn’t realized that Fitchburg does not have its own school district. Another example of my being confined in my own world!
Somewhat related to not recognizing things outside of my day-to-day was the activity facilitated by Annette from EQT. The group was dispersed around the room, with a select few given vague instructions on where to sit and what to do with two folders containing pictures. The group was generally confused and questioned what the rules were. Afterward, when discussing our confusion, I felt the activity made the most sense as an analogy about how people are placed in society with little control over their socioeconomic status and often there aren’t clear “rules” on how to navigate systems.

Lynn Green presented a video outlining the services and programs of Dane County Human Services. Statistics that struck me were that the department makes up 55% of the County budget and one in five people in the county use the department’s job center services. Their purchase of service contracts provide funding to many organizations in the community.

Dan Kennelly gave a presentation about Economic and Workforce Development in the City of Madison – with the added bonus of an informative lesson on Tax Incremental Financing! Many statistics from this presentation grabbed my attention, as well, including the fact that Dane County comprises 9% of the state population, but accounts for 56% of recent job growth.

The afternoon was spent digging deeper into out four community areas. Small group discussion facilitated by local experts helped everyone get closer to final choices for group projects. The topics all still feel quite broad, and I’m curious to see how they evolve in the coming months!