FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, ST. PAUL & MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 20, 2022 – Minnesota State and Greater Twin Cities United Way announce today a unique partnership that leverages Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 resource helpline to support students in meeting their basic needs. Through 211, students will be able to easily access information and referrals to on-campus and community-wide resources, including mental health support. When operational in the summer of 2022, Minnesota State and Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 will support more than 340,000 students at the 30 colleges and seven universities of Minnesota State and will serve as a national model of how higher education and 211 can partner together to increase student access to social services and community support.
“Increasingly, meeting basic needs, such as food, housing, transportation, childcare, emergency financial support, technology access, and access to mental health resources, has been impacting our students’ ability to succeed in school, and the COVID pandemic has made the problem worse,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “Partnering with United Way’s 211 resource helpline is one of many innovative solutions we are implementing to connect students with the help they need to overcome these challenges and achieve their academic goals.”
Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 resource helpline is a free and confidential state-wide service in which trained Community Resource Specialists connect Minnesotans to a broad range of information and referrals, including food, housing, child care, mental health and substance abuse resources, and more. Minnesotans can access the 211 resource helpline 24/7 via phone, text and online. When students of Minnesota State contact 211 via phone, text or via the website, United Way’s Community Resource Specialists will be able to identify them as students and provide information and referrals to services available on their campus and in their community.
“This partnership represents the first time we have used Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 resource helpline to support post-secondary students,” said John Wilgers, President & CEO, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “We are honored to support students throughout their educational journeys, and I applaud the leadership of Minnesota State for their approach to the challenges students face through equitable access for all, which will fuel lasting, positive change in our community.”
The partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 is just one example of how Minnesota State has worked to create a comprehensive response to helping students meet basic and mental health needs. Other examples include developing campus and system websites that serve as a “one stop shop” for all campus-based support resources (examples: Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Rochester Community and Technical College), implementing a mental health first aid training program, and launching a communication plan to increase student awareness of resources.
Said Malhotra, “Our approach to addressing basic needs insecurity will continue to encourage collaboration across the system and with community partners to advance a coordinated and connected ecosystem of care and support, reducing barriers for students and increasing their opportunity for success. It is an important part of our work towards Equity 2030: our goal of eliminating educational equity gaps at every Minnesota State college and university by 2030.”
Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 340,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.
Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a region where all people thrive, regardless of income, race or place. The organization fuels lasting community change through the United Way 211 resource helpline, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, innovation initiatives, nonprofit partnerships, advocacy work with legislators, and business partnerships. For more information, visit www.gtcuw.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.