Local that Works is an annual contest that spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations, and nonprofit news organizations in the U.S.
Explore the LTW database of 350+ projects. Entries from the 2020 contest will be added to this database this fall.
Tips on using the database: If viewing this on a computer, all projects are listed in the left column. Click on a project name and its longer profile will appear in the right column. If viewing on mobile, clicking on a project name will load the full listing on your screen.
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To see previous Local that Works contest winners, finalists and semi-finalists, click on green, purple or orange tags and our judges’ favorite projects will show up in the left column.
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CareerExplore Northwest is an educational initiative created by KSPS PBS as a workforce development solution for our viewing region. Far beyond a typical job search website, it helps students and adults discover viable career paths by providing behind-the-scenes videos and easily accessible answers to questions about in-demand jobs in the Spokane region and what it takes to get them.
Uncuffed is a podcast and radio series made by people incarcerated in California prisons. KALW producers teach them how to record and edit powerful audio stories about life on the inside.
Kansas City PBS creates “Zoom juries” as a novel approach to engaging citizens on critical pandemic related issues. In ‘Justice Deferred’ we partner with area courts to examine what it will take to restart criminal jury trials suspended since stay-at-home orders went into effect in March.
Sahan Journal, an independent, nonprofit news site in partnership with MPR News, serves the immigrant and refugee populations of Minnesota with professional journalism centered on immigrant lives, voices, and experiences.
Prior to the pandemic, WFYI had set up a Be My Neighbor Day event at the city library with several community partners, a sensory-friendly area, and an expected 1,200 guests. COVID-19 forced us to cancel the live event, so we pivoted to a mix of educational outreach and volunteer engagement for a Be My Neighbor Week.
Grace Weber’s Music Lab (GWML) is a free monthly music education program and talent accelerator for Milwaukee area high schoolers, providing opportunities to refine performance skills; build connections between engaged and talented young people; expose participants to the multiple career opportunities available in creative industries; and to participate in performances and talks by professional musicians, entertainment industry professionals and artists. This program is critical to meeting the growing and changing needs of our city and youth – Grace Weber’s Music Lab reaches kids with art forms that are increasingly relevant and central to their lives, including diverse music from hip-hop to alternative to spoken word.
In partnership with Fresno Unified School District, the 3rd largest in the state of California and a district with 90% economically disadvantaged and diverse students living below the poverty line without equal access to online learning, Valley PBS created an on-air program from 8am – 9am each day that targets Literacy Lessons for K, 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders and is taught by FUSD teachers. Students have been able to learn and review fundamentals over-the-air, streaming on Facebook Live daily and on the website since June and lessons are translated into Spanish and Hmong as well; the program has just been extended until December 18th and expanded to include Pre-K and T-K lessons.
¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? is a bilingual podcast that tells the stories of Latinx in the Midwest. Funded with support from CPB, the podcast facilitates difficult conversations and explores policy issues, such as immigration and the U.S. Census. WNIN reaches out to educational institutions to host listening parties share these stories with students. ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest?
To celebrate the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, PBS in Topeka created this two-hour community conversation with students and teachers from the segregation era. Shot in a modern-day Cinema Verite’ style on a single day in 2019, students and teachers from the four segregated Black schools in Topeka talked about their lives prior to and after integration. The five-part series included: Growing up in Topeka’s Black Community; Family, Friends, Neighbors; School and You (Segregation); School and You (Integration); and After-effects (outcomes, impact).
CareerExplore Northwest began in response to feedback from the Spokane area business community expressing a desire for a strong workforce for our region. Employers wanted to hire locally but lamented the lack of qualified or interested applicants. At the same time, local school districts were beginning to change their goals beyond prepping students for four-year college degrees, recognizing the many options for living-wage jobs that require other types of training.
Starting in 2018, we developed an advisory council made up of the Spokane Workforce Council, industry leaders, Spokane’s chamber of commerce (GSI), several area school districts, regional universities, and our community colleges to help provide a solution. The result is Career Explore Northwest, a multi-media career exploration tool and community resource for students and adults that provides practical up-to-date information about the variety of jobs in our region.
We began by working with businesses to produce 90-second job spotlights, interviewing employees who were passionate about their work to inspire young people to seek out more information. This process continues today: businesses and grantors cover our production costs and also receive an underwriting schedule on KSPS PBS.
We built a website, CareerExploreNW.org, to feature the job spotlights and provide a user-friendly website with engaging graphics and local information about each job. Up-to-date data are provided by Spokane Workforce Council. We regularly consult with Career and Technical Education specialists at area school districts to assure the website meets their educational needs and to help them promote its use in schools.
The project continues to be embraced by schools, businesses and colleges. Our advisory council meets regularly to assure the project grows and continues to meet the need. Content and usage metrics are growing each month. We now have over 25 jobs and videos online with another 29 in the hopper.
CareerExplore NW has impact beyond its use in schools. Because the job spotlights air on KSPS PBS, young people and the adults who guide them learn about jobs they many never have been exposed to within their circle of friends and family.
As we continue the project, at the request of both educators and businesses, we are creating 360-degree interactive Virtual Field Trips, where students can click-and-drag for an up-close look behind the scenes of regional companies.
CareerExploreNW.org averages 1,500 page views a month with an under age 35 demographic. Those metrics are growing as the tool is used in more and more classrooms.
CareerExplore Northwest has offered a bridge between educators and industry. MacKay Manufacturing, our first sponsor, reported that 40% of their website traffic was driven by CareerExploreNW.org.
Says Scott Kerwien, Director of College and Career Readiness, Spokane Public Schools: “The past narrative for what it means to be college and career ready after high school has largely been focused on 4-year college messaging. The Career Explore NW website allows counselors, teachers, and students to explore local college and career options which open that narrative up to 2-year technical degrees that lead to ‘living wage’ jobs in our community. It’s been extremely helpful for our educators to support students in understanding other valuable post-secondary pathways and most importantly see local career opportunities to complete the full college to career pathway.”
CareerExplore NW has opened up a multitude of new doors for our station. In 2 years, it has generated 23 sponsors, 16 of which were brand new to KSPS. It has generated $316,000 in new revenue to date. 89% of the income comes from business sponsorship. 11% has come from public grantors. Last spring, we were contacted by a neighboring Educational School District to provide CENW for southeast Washington. We are now expanding to serve that region and have already secured over $30,000 in funding.
CareerExploreNW.org averages 1,500 page views a month with an under age 35 demographic. Those metrics are growing as the tool is used in more and more classrooms. CareerExplore Northwest has offered a bridge between educators and industry. MacKay Manufacturing, our first sponsor, reported that 40% of their website traffic was driven by CareerExploreNW.org. Says Scott Kerwien, Director of College and Career Readiness, Spokane Public Schools: "The past narrative for what it means to be college and career ready after high school has largely been focused on 4-year college messaging. The Career Explore NW website allows counselors, teachers, and students to explore local college and career options which open that narrative up to 2-year technical degrees that lead to ‘living wage’ jobs in our community. It’s been extremely helpful for our educators to support students in understanding other valuable post-secondary pathways and most importantly see local career opportunities to complete the full college to career pathway.”https://www.careerexplorenw.org/