University hosts annual community partner workshop

Representatives from over 30 agencies and nonprofits joined with University of Scranton staff and faculty to discuss partnerships and connect on community issues
Image of people seated at dining tables conversing
The University of Scranton returned to an in-person event for its annual Community Partner Workshop hosted on campus June 14, shown. Forty-eight representatives from over 30 greater Scranton area organizations attended.

On June 14, The University of Scranton hosted its annual Community Partner Workshop on campus. This event brings together community partners from local nonprofits, educational institutions, and other agencies with University staff and faculty to discuss partnership opportunities and to connect on important community issues. This year marked a welcome return to an in-person workshop, with 48 representatives joining from over 30 greater Scranton area organizations.

During this year’s workshop, University of Scranton staff and faculty from the Office of Community-Based Learning, Office of Community and Government Relations, the Center for Service and Social Justice, the Center for Career Development, and PCPS Field Placement Office shared information. They discussed  various ways community organizations can partner with the University to address their agency needs and collaborate on community-wide issues. University members learned about the important community issues and needs from partners, and gained valuable feedback on barriers and facilitators to partnerships. An “Engagement of Hope” model for community engagement was shared that anchored the workshop in an “actionable, equity-centered theory of change.”

“There is so much good work going on in the Scranton community. By joining together, community partners and members of the University were able to connect on shared efforts, feel a sense of solidarity, and identify ways that we can collaborate on the most pressing issues we face as a community to increase our impact – from addressing youth disconnection to welcoming newly arrived refugees,” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement and Government Affairs.  

Together, the group reflected on the many impactful events since 2020 and what this means collectively as a community here in Scranton. Important themes highlighted in the small and large groups discussions included the need to build a sense of community; work with youth; engage on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, including recruiting and retaining employees of color. Other Community Partner Workshop topics included:

  • the importance of agency connection and collaboration;
  • support for immigrant and refugee populations;
  • challenges navigating the social services sector;
  • services for the aging population; and
  • economic issues exacerbated by the pandemic, such as high poverty rate, the need for a living wage and safe, affordable housing, workforce development, and transportation.
For a full summary of the topics and themes discussed, please view the workshop summary report here.

Throughout the event, one reoccurring theme was the importance of gathering collectively. The ability to be together, share a meal, listen to each other, meet new people, and learn helped reinvigorate participants and provided a valuable opportunity for networking and information sharing. Community organizations looking to collaborate can view this contact information slide.

“The community partnership meeting was exceptional because it was an amazing networking opportunity to continue learning about all the work being done in our community by amazing people and organizations. Due to this meeting, I have been able to establish new professional partnerships in order to better coordinate and serve the immigrant community! So, I am beyond grateful for that meeting and hope I can make it to the next,” said Jenny Gonzalez, STARS Program Director; Social Worker, Community Justice Project; and co-chair Lackawanna Immigrant Inclusion Committee.

Information shared by partners at this annual workshop will help inform the University’s community engagement initiatives, including research projects, community-based learning projects, field placements, service opportunities, and internship placements. The workshop also highlighted focus areas that University representatives and community partners can collaboratively address in the coming year.

In addition to the workshop, the University invites greater Scranton area community partner organizations to share feedback on partnerships and/or ideas for future collaborations in an annual Community Partner Spring Survey.

For more information or questions about this event or University-community partnerships, please contact




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