Public Works: The Dēmos Center for the Public Sector provides independent analysis, research applications, communications advice, training and consultation for organizations that are working to build support for the public sector. Often this means helping groups understand how to make the case for the public structures and systems that can help solve problems and build quality of life for a wide range of communities and constituencies.
Public Works strives to make its work relevant to the specific goals of its partners, while also helping them incorporate into their work the larger goals of building understanding and support of the essential roles of government. We encourage our partners to build constituencies for the public sector that understand themselves as citizen-stewards of their communities and, as a result, come to see adequately resourced and effective government systems and structures as necessary for the good of their community, their state and their country.
With our closest partners we strive to help them command the theory and practical aspects of our work so that ultimately they are able to achieve their objectives without our assistance.
Outlined below is a description of the various programs and services we offer. To date, we have provided presentations, workshops, or trainings to more than 180 organizations in 33 states including the District of Columbia.
Our trainings are based on findings from our research into Americans’ perceptions of government, of the economy and of taxes and budgets. With this empirical data as our basis, our trainings are designed to help our audiences understand public attitudes towards government, to recommend strategies for overcoming these unproductive stereotypes of our public sector, and to identify techniques that can help foster more effective communications. Each training is adapted to the needs and interests of the audience, helping to explore how attitudes towards government impact discourse about specific public policy issues. Typically, these trainings include interactive exercises designed to help participants utilize the enduring values, concepts and communication techniques we teach.
For those who are interested in a condensed version of our trainings (between one and two hours), our workshops give a broad overview of changing public attitudes toward the role of government in society and the implications of these attitudes on support for public programs and services. They offer initial ideas about how to use enduring values and concepts to tell new stories about public issues and government. These presentations are designed as an introduction to our research findings and to the basics of communications techniques.
We hope that our workshops are simply the beginning. After participating in an initial briefing, many organizations invite to us return to provide more extensive training based on our research findings and to offer issue-focused training for their organization or coalition.
Public Works offers ongoing educational series to those organizations and coalitions who want to integrate the lessons for effectively communicating about the role of the public sector into their daily work.
These series, which either follow a training or can be done in lieu of one, are offered over several months or weeks. While the same lessons are taught as in a training, this format allows us to go into greater depth with each lesson and to customize hands-on exercises to isolate a communications technique and focus upon specific policy issues of interest to the audience. We believe these strategies provide for a more enduring understanding of how to use the material.
The series schedule is developed in consultation with our partner organization and can include as many or as few sessions as desired.
Public Works consults with organizations and individuals who have previously attended trainings. We provide technical advice and review communications materials with the goal of helping our partners utilize the lessons we teach in their daily work.