This Is A Public Services Announcement

North Dakota United wants to tell the public about the important work that you all do

By Kelly Hagen, Director of Communications

One of my favorite songs by The Clash starts off with Joe Strummer bellowing, “This is a public service announcement! With guitars!”

I don’t have guitars. What I do have is an announcement. About public services. This is a public services announcement! (No guitars.)

Kelly Hagen, NDU Director of Communications

The public overwhelmingly supports you. Public employees, higher education faculty and staff, teachers and school support staff. They love you; we know that. What they don’t know is what you are all doing each day for them.

But do you know which sort of people really don’t know what you do at your jobs, on their behalf? Policy makers. And they’re the ones who control the purse strings. Legislators decide on funding levels to school districts and state agencies and universities. Very few of them have ever walked a day in your shoes. School boards decide on your working conditions, salary and benefits. Rarely do they know much about the issues you face every day in the classroom.

So, what do we do? Well, considering this is Communications Corner, it’s a pretty safe bet I’m going to tell you to communicate about it.

We are embarking on an ambitious campaign at North Dakota United, titled: “Working for North Dakota.” What is it? Glad I asked. We want to tell your stories to the public, who elects all of the policy makers. We want them to know who you are. We want them to know what you do. Most importantly, we want them to know all of the great work you do for them and for their kids. Consider it a public services announcement.

You can see some of our efforts in this magazine, as well as online at www.ndunited.org, under the News tab, or at our Medium blog, www.medium.com/united-voices. Stories about Sara Medalen, who runs a hair salon in her classroom, and combs and braids children’s hair while they read books. Stories about Mark Halvorson, the “human encyclopedia” who has been helping to find pieces of our history and display them at the Heritage Center and historical spaces all across our state. Stories about Jeff Schumacher, a shop teacher, helping to build Tiny Free Food Pantries to set up across Bismarck and help feed the hungry.

These are all members of North Dakota United. They’re public employees and teachers. They work in higher education. They drive school buses. They monitor air and water quality. They care for our most vulnerable. They teach kids. They are you, and you are NDU.

So, what’s your story?

If you’re doing something a little different on the job, and getting great results, call on us and we’ll help you to promote the work you do. Or maybe you have a story you want to tell, yourself. We welcome your voices and your stories, no matter how you wish to share them. Call our office at 701–223–0450, and ask to speak to Communications. Or e-mail us at Kelly.Hagen@ndunited.org or Tom.Gerhardt@ndunited.org. Send a message through social media on our Facebook or Twitter pages, @ndunited. Smoke signals, carrier pigeons, snail mail, telegrams, etc. Just get our attention, and we’d love to come talk to you about what you do.

It’s time, now. We need to start telling the communities around us what we are all doing for them, so that they can better understand who we are as people, as public workers, and as an association. We’re excited for the challenge.

Let’s do it! With guitars!

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