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Friday, January 6, 2017

Vibrant Economies, Vibrant Communities



Economic development in communities does not happen because one person says that they are going to “do” economic development.  It happens because many community players come to the table to work together to strengthen the local business economy.  University of Minnesota Extension’s Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Strategies Program is here to help community leaders understand the needs and concerns of local businesses.  By understanding and addressing common business concerns, the community ensures a healthier future for itself.  The BR&E Strategies Program focuses on short term and long term objectives that help your community address issues today while planning for the future.  Extension offers BR&E courses online and in person to help community development professionals and community leaders understand the principles of BR&E and the processes involved.  This course will prepare you to lead a BR&E effort in your community and provide you with access to valuable resources.  You can currently register for course offerings in 2017 by visiting http://z.umn.edu/1bjd!  An in person class will begin on January 31 and the next online class will start on April 5.  Register by January 13 to take advantage of this great program!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Exploring Communities Using Minnesota Compass


The 2017 calendar presents us with 365 days to make a difference in our communities.   A great tool to help us on this journey is Minnesota Compass.  Minnesota Compass is a project led by the Wilder Foundation that gives everyone in Minnesota common information on a variety of social topic areas.  The information is not just statewide data, but is broken down into regional and county specific data.  Data is also presented for larger cities.  Minnesota Compass provides the opportunity to look at data and trends within your county and region to better understand what is really happening and how you compare to other areas of the state.  The data and trends analysis available to users can help you work with elected officials, write grants to support work in your community, or engage leaders in conversations about changes happening in your area.  Take some time to explore the great data that is available through their website as well as following @MNCompass on Twitter and MN Compass on Facebook.  It is a resource you won’t want to ignore as you do your work in 2017.

Photo credit: Flickr user Noga

Friday, December 23, 2016

Season's Greetings from the Center for Community Vitality


All of us at University of Minnesota Extension's Center for Community Vitality wish you a happy holiday season!  We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with you in 2016 and look forward to what is yet to come in the new year.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Changes in Business, Changes in Community


Two of every three businesses in the U.S. are owned by a baby boomer who is looking to turn over the keys to the next generation in the coming years.  That means change is inevitable in the landscape of Minnesota's Main Streets and business communities.   The recent article "Turning over the keys to rural business," from the Winter 2016 edition of Vital Connections, discusses the challenges and opportunities that are presented through this transition.  Bruce Schwartau, Extension's Community Economics Program Leader, indicates that there will not only be changes in community businesses but also changes in community leadership.  Read the whole article HERE and share your thoughts on what you are seeing in your communities.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Happy Election Day!

Make sure to take time and exercise your right to vote.  In case you need help finding your polling location, visit the MN Secretary of State's poll finder website.  "I Voted" stickers are the hottest accessory this time of year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Creating Community Across Generations


Minnesota’s communities currently have five generations living and working together.  The unique characteristics and beliefs of each generation add many benefits to communities but they do present challenges.  It is important to keep in mind the events and characteristics that define each generation while ensuring that you move beyond generalizations.  It is also important that we continue to work towards respect within our communities.  In order to do this, we must acknowledge that each generation has a different definition of respect.  It is important to acknowledge cultural definitions of trust as we work in communities that are diverse in generations and cultures.  To learn how to work across generations to strengthen your community, check out “Creating community across generations” in the newest issue of Vital Connections.  It offers great information and insight on the topic from Extension educators Lisa Hinz and Jody Horntvedt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Become a Trainer for At Your Service: Working with Multicultural Customers

Have you heard about the University of Minnesota Extension's Tourism Center?  The Tourism Center can assist communities to promote local economic growth through tourism, provides workshops and training to help businesses and governments provide quality customer service to customers from many cultures, festival and event management training to help your event be successful and fun, as well as custom research services for organizations and communities.

The Tourism Center is currently offering a train-the-trainer opportunity for their At Your Service: Working with Multicultural Customers program.  At Your Service: Working with Multicultural Customers explores the nature of customer service and ways to create good experiences when working with diverse customers.  Participants of this program explore how culture affects perception and behavior, gain skills to identify and address customer needs, control their own attitudes in difficult situations, and actions to consistently deliver great service.

The train-the-trainer workshop will be offered October 27, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Coffey Hall located on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.  Register today!  To learn more about this training opportunity and all of the resources available through the Tourism Center visit their website.  Make sure to follow @umntourism on Twitter and "like" University of Minnesota Tourism Center on Facebook!
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