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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Economic development

Helping communities navigate their economic future

Extension helps Minnesota communities develop an economic strategy. Through applied research, education, and consultation, communities can choose a path supported by community members.

Our community economics educators consult with regions and communities in Minnesota. These consultations help communities tailor their approach to addressing local concerns on topics such as:

Economic development during COVID-19

Looking for ways to inform and support your community during these uncertain times? Find below community-economic focused news articles, research reports, webinars and events.

Read about Extension community economic research and community stories.

Extension studies community responses to business retention during COVID-19

Read about case studies that tell the stories of four communities that focused on business retention when the pandemic hit Minnesota.

Extension updates economic impact analysis of COVID-19

Read an analysis of the regional impacts of COVID-19 unemployment reports for Minnesota.

Online ordering connects a small retailer to customers during COVID-19

Is online ordering right for your business? Read about the benefits and challenges MANNA Food Co-op had using Shopify to sell products online.

For Minnesota dairy farmers, COVID-19 presents another hurdle

New report shows ups and downs through the first quarter of 2020.

Listen to conversations with community leaders and members about vital economic topics.

Person opening the door to the Travel Information Center in Central, Minn.

Minnesota tourism during the pandemic

(10/22/2020) The tourism industry has been impacted by the pandemic. Listen as we discuss the state of Minnesota’s tourism…

Impacts on retail

(6/10/2020) COVID-19 has impacted businesses differently. Listen as we discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on retail and the…

Economists on the economy

(6/3/2020) Today, the dial is moving, and businesses are reopening. What can communities do to support business now?…

Community research

Discover Extension research reports to help your community and community leaders find answers to critical questions.

Minnesota's economy and COVID-19

An updated summary of economic changes during COVID-19, especially among industries and communities most vulnerable to job loss.

Wadena County business retention and expansion strategies program

A BRE strategy focused on existing businesses is vital for local economic development. Learn about Wadena County's program, steps taken, and priority projects.

Community response to COVID-19 — Saint Paul

How can you support retailers during this pandemic? Learn key steps taken by Saint Paul, Minn. to help their local retail businesses thrive.

Community response to COVID-19 — Brooklyn Center

How can you support retailers during this pandemic? Learn key steps taken by Brooklyn Center, Minn. to help their local retail businesses thrive.

Education and trainings

Explore our webinars (live and on-demand offerings) or register for a course/event to learn about community economics.


Community economics webinars

Find webinars on community economic topics. Learn how to attract and retain businesses and residents, grow retail sales and understand economic changes.

Sustaining your local economy in turbulent times

How are your community's businesses managing in this pandemic? We are hosting this webinar series to inspire and encourage you with stories of community economic resilience during this stressful time.

Webinar series: The tourism industry and COVID-19

Four webinars about the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, recovery strategies, retaining tourism businesses, and DIY research to know your customers post-pandemic.

Webinar series: Physical distancing by nature

Register for three webinars that explore outdoor recreation as a recovery strategy for the tourism industry and communities.


Watch Extension educators share analysis and insight on research topics important to our local communities. Visit our YouTube page for more videos.

Consult with us

Community economics • Leadership and civic engagement • Tourism

Extension educators work in communities with partners throughout Minnesota. Contact us for consultation, guidance and conversation about your community.

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