The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services serves Minnesotans in all 87 counties and 11 tribes. More than one million Minnesotans receive some sort of help from our department. Among these are our grandparents, neighbors, friends, relatives and classmates.
Many of the people we serve only need assistance for a short period of time, while others need longer-term assistance. At DHS our goal is to meet people where they are at, and focus on outcomes to improve life situations, and to get people the help they need so they can reach their full potential.
Here is one of their stories:
Married with two young children, Jane Onyinge is a former Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) client who recently completed a training program at Anoka Technical and Anoka Ramsey Community College.
Now working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Jane is among a growing number of Minnesotans who credit an initiative called Minnesota FastTRAC for putting her on a path to success.
After hearing her talk passionately about her interest in health careers, an Anoka County caseworker introduced Jane to the Health Care Pathways Program, one of three training and education programs that are being supported in part by the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Innovation Funds to improve outcomes for MFIP participants. MFIP is Minnesota’s temporary cash and food assistance program for low-income parents of young children.
Launched in January 2010, FastTRAC now has hundreds of students enrolled throughout the state in one of 34 different training paths to careers that pay a living wage. The multi-agency partnership is guided by experts from the Departments of Human Services, Education, Employment and Economic Development; Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; the Greater Twin Cities United Way; and others.
FastTRAC is demonstrating effectiveness in improving educational outcomes for adults by integrating basic skills education and career-specific training via Adult Basic Education and college instructors teaching together, by focusing on credential attainment, by targeting high-demand occupations and by meeting the needs of worker-learners.
Jane began her Health Care Pathways program by completing 100 hours of Adult Basic Education training, which includes medical terminology, computer skills and skill-building in research and writing. At the same time, she completed a GED and obtained her driver’s license. A subsequent sequence of academic training and nursing lab work culminated for Jane with her successful completion of the state Certified Nursing Assistant exam in June.
She plans to return to school in a few years to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. For now, she is working hard and grateful for the support. “Thank you,” wrote Jane in a letter to people who helped, “you gave me the strength to make my dreams come true.”