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Our Training

The Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution provides customized training to interested public sector programs. Past training participants include:

  • Minnesota Legislature
  • Association of Minnesota Counties
  • League of Minnesota Cities
  • St. Paul Public Schools
  • State of Minnesota’s New Manager Program
  • Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Academy
  • Minnesota Campus Compact
  • Collaboration & Negotiation for Leaders program (w/ the Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law)
  • Minnesota State Agencies
  • Conflict Resolution Minnesota Annual Conference


Bridging Divides: What to do when people disagree

Angry constituents? Hot topics like buffer strips and police-community relations?  Fellow board or council members who feel passionately about issues? Learn what to do when emotions run high and positions are deeply held. Compromise isn't the only option.  In this workshop participants learn how to de-escalate difficult situations and move from conflict to effective solutions on challenging public issues.  Participants practice identifying what other people actually need to move forward even when they aren't saying it; articulating what one needs in a way that makes difficult people responsive; managing high emotions; and developing solutions that get implemented because they integrate the needs of everyone involved. 

Components of this training include: Problem Solving Mindset; Understanding Conflict; Problem Solving Skills (perspective taking, listening, reframing, synthesizing, de-escalation, and managing strong emotions); and the 5 Step Collaborative Problem Solving Process

This training is suitable for state and local government elected officials and staff including City Councils, School Boards, County Boards, and other groups of leaders seeking skills to build consensus on difficult public issues. The training can be delivered as a full-day, half-day or 2-hour training.  All training is customized to meet the needs of the trainee group. 


Foundations of Community Engagement for Decision Makers

Today’s public issues seem more challenging than ever.  And more than ever the public wants to be involved in addressing these difficult issues.  When done well, community engagement increases the effectiveness of government by increasing the understanding and complexity of problems, identifies solutions among all stakeholders, includes those individuals impacted by the problem, and builds trust between all stakeholders.  Community engagement also strengthens our democracy by ensuring that all people within our society have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful manner in our government and provides opportunities for personal fulfillment. However, doing it well is challenging work.  This training focuses on the fundamentals of meaningful, relational, sustained community engagement work as well as basic design concepts.  The course also touches on several engagement techniques and approaches for dealing with especially divided groups.  

Components of this training include: Community Engagement Mindset; Framework and tools for designing effective engagement; Impacts Model; and Self/Organization Assessment and development of next steps. 

This training is suitable for state and local government elected officials and staff including City Councils, School Boards, County Boards, and other groups of leaders seeking skills to enhance their community engagement work. The training can be delivered as a full-day or half-day.  All training is customized to meet the needs of the trainee group.

Facilitating Small Group Discussions: Tips for Volunteer Facilitators to Foster Community Dialogue


These five videos cover topics useful to individuals who are serving as facilitators in community dialogues or other settings.
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