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Vital Connections

Learn more about topics important to Minnesota communities through articles and podcasts. Find stories and information to help you get engaged in your community. Help others better know, decide and act.

Community features

Consumers shopping for clothes in as store

Study examines Minnesota’s changing retail economy

One in 10 Minnesota retail dollars (in taxable sales) is spent outside the state. Learn how Minnesota's retail market is changing and ways communities and businesses can adapt.

Team of local champions from Campbell, Minnesota displaying a sign stating their town is the best in Wilkin County.

Conversations change Campbell

[podcast] How can you make your community more appealing to others? Hear how conversations in Campbell, Minnesota led to big community changes in appearance and pride.

A multi-generational community group discussion

Community conversations

[podcast] How do you discuss ideas and issues with your neighbors? Listen to Jody Horntvedt share nuts-and-bolts advice for creating healthy community conversations.

All articles, podcasts and videos

Find content on topics that include:

  • Community development (e.g. attracting new residents, evaluating programs and local foods)
  • Community economics (e.g. local economies, retail, retaining businesses and workforce)
  • Leadership and civic engagement (e.g. assessing and developing leaders, facilitation, building trust and engaging communities)
  • Tourism development (e.g. learning about visitors and planning festivals and events)

From bass fishing to biking and skiing to snowshoeing, rural Minnesota offers tourists opportunities for fun and relaxation.

How do we address Minnesota's workforce issues? Listen to speakers from the University of Minnesota and Extension share their insight on the labor market.

Will Minnesota's economy continue to grow? Listen as we talk about the state's economy and workforce challenges facing employers and communities.

A little trust goes a long way. In fact, scholars link trust in communities to successes such as stronger volunteerism, healthier residents, and economic prosperity.

You could travel around the world to attract new jobs to your town, but you're probably better off staying at home.

Before a community event is a success or an economic development strategy is implemented, a community meeting takes place — or more likely, a bunch of meetings.

Do you intentionally create connections with others? Learn about creating micro-moments in your community through connections with others.

Do you question your talents or intelligence fearing that you don't measure up? Learn more about growth and fixed mindsets and which one aids resilience.

How well do you listen to others in your community? Learn about the practice of capitalization and how to see its benefit.

Minnesota festival themes often celebrate food, music and culture. Besides being fun, well-managed festivals and events offer many economic and social benefits.

What do you do for fun around here? When visitors come to your town, replies to this question can make or break their impression of your community.

What makes you flourish? Watch our video on the PERMA model of well-being. Learn how to reach a life of fulfillment, happiness and meaning.

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