Successful Extension programs are not born; they are created over time in a process of trial and error. In this poster, we describe our experience in launching, assessing, modifying, and improving a program called the Economic Futures Workshop. We share our lessons learned and explain the ways in which other Extension program teams can learn from our successes and failures. We consider the ways in which the program needs to continue to iterate and how we expect that process will occur.
The Economic Futures Workshop is a program offering delivered by the Community Economics team. The purpose of the workshop is to provide local decision makers with information about the structure and performance of their local economy. This is done by providing a summary of basic economic and demographic information, as well as, providing information about the variation in economic impact among ten community-selected industries. We conduct a short presentation of the above information and follow that presentation with a structured facilitated discussion about the meaning and implications of the information.
The program has changed in significant ways in its first 5 years of existence. The program was originally developed in response to community questions about their economies. However, leading community conversations about data can be challenging. Notable improvements came as a result of evaluations, follow-up interviews with sponsors and Extension staff, and deliberate tests of new approaches by the program team. The nature, results, and key processes which led to these changes are the topic of this poster.
Tuck, Brigid; Linscheid, Neil; Bhattacharyya, Rani; Templin, Elizabeth.
Program Iteration Works: The Case of the Economic Futures Workshop.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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