Local Innovation Lab

Local Innovation Lab

We have been hosting conversations with a wide array of stakeholders including citizens, business owners, nonprofit leaders, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, the City of Ashland, and SOU. As a result, we have designed a program to accelerate local commercial and social enterprises so they can create more living wage jobs.

The internship program has three components:

  • Paid internships that offer skills and network building opportunities
  • Curriculum to develop work and leadership skills to empower future independence and capabilities.
  • Proof of capability and professional network development– participants come away with extended social/professional networks and project deliverables for use in future job searches.

This pilot program, in partnership with SOU, seeks to develop a self-sustaining, repeatable model to bridge between universities and the underserved communities surrounding them.

The vision is to create jobs while meeting unmet, essential needs, not on generating large profits for private interests.  While commercial enterprises may participate, private wealth generation will not be our primary focus. The program is focused on identifying and serving shared community values, meeting local needs with local solutions, sustainable growth, creating new jobs, and equitable business structures.

We will work with EDI, the Native Studies Program at SOU, non-profit service agencies, and counseling programs to identify and vet candidates with an emphasis on underserved and first generation college students. 

Our first set of internship projects:

My Valley My Home Projects

MV 1 – Land Asset Mapping – Linda Tetreault, Duane Martinez

  • On site evaluation of private land
  • Compile public record information
  • Data input for virtual mapping application

Desired Skills: GIS skills, research and data compilation

Deliverables: Arcmap or QGIS map of assets

MV 2 – Community Listening Session Learnings – Teresa Cisneros

  • Recording sessions
  • Compiling collected data
  • Cataloging participants

Desired Skills: Bi Lingual, Spanish & English, communication skills


MV 3 – Relief Organization Mapping – (most likely) Cathy Nicholson

  • Compile database of local, state, and federal relief organizations, their mission, target audience and contact information

Desired Skills: Bilingual preferred


MV 4 – Development research and administration – Julie O’Dwyer

  • Research funding sources and create a list of potential donors and other friends of MV
  • Research grant opportunities and develop granting schedule
  • Develop preliminary program budgets
  • Develop preliminary grant application template information

Desired Skills: Research, data compilation, grant research and writing

Deliverables: Friends of MV list, budgets, basic grant application content.

MV 5 – Communications assistance – Gretchen Fox

  • Social media and press release support
  • Website support

Desired Skills: SMM, WordPress posting, PR research and writing


Ashland Works Projects

AW1 – Development research and administration – Julie O’Dwyer

  • Research grant opportunities and develop granting schedule
  • Research funding sources and create database
  • Develop preliminary program budgets
  • Develop preliminary grant application template information, grant writing

Desired Skills: Research, spreadsheet data creation


AW2 – Asset Investment Roundtable – Julie O’Dwyer, Bob Kaplan

  • Research similar community funds
  • Coordinate for planning a community wide conversation about establishing a Community based Asset Fund
  • Compile demographic information for funding

Desired Skills: Research, spreadsheet data creation, development strategy thinking

Deliverables: Slide deck or other document summarizing findings on these funds and learnings from the event.

AW3 – Website/Social Media – Ellie Holty

  • Coordinate posts
  • Update website content
  • Implement SEO campaign
  • Update local social media sites with AW content, i.e Chamber, Locals Guide, Facebook groups, etc.

Desired Skills: SEO, graphic design, social media marketing

Deliverables: Optimized images, flyers, social media posts

AW 4 – Community Asset Mapping – Julie O’Dwyer, Stephen Sloan

  • Compile entrepreneurial business information
  • Mapping of potential business expansion/growth

Desired Skills: Research and analysis, communication skills, interviewing skills

Deliverables: Community Asset Map

To express interest in a particular project, please note the project number in an email to ellie@ashlandor.works.