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

Vital Connections

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

Community features

An educator walking with two emerging leaders in a community

Greater Minnesota’s communities respond to calls for racial understanding

How does a community become more welcoming for everyone? Learn some reasons to create change and read stories from communities that are taking action to be more inclusive.

The importance of non-doing

Boketto: The importance of non-doing

[video] When’s the last time you did NOTHING? Learn about Boketto and why it is important for your leadership.

A Minnesota State Fair grounds sign reads 'Hang in there Minnesota'

Festivals and events during a pandemic

[podcast] Festivals and events around the state and country have seen many changes in 2020. Listen as we discuss how organizers and community members can weather the storm.

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)

[podcast] Workforce issues have tripled in importance, based on results from Enterprise Minnesota's 2017 State of Manufacturing survey. Listen as we talk about workforce challenges in manufacturing.

Think you don't live in a tourist town? Think again. Every town has visitors. Most visitors spend money that helps the local economy, similar to tourists.

[podcast] 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.

The year 2013 brought improved economic news to much of Minnesota, but a few towns took some hard knocks. Crises like these create tough times in local economies.

[podcast] COVID-19 has impacted businesses differently. Listen as we discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on retail and the implications for business succession.

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

[podcast] You may be dealing with new emotions as we transition to more social lives and lose daily patterns and routines. Listen as we discuss strategies to help overcome uncertainty.

[podcast] Listen as we speak with tribal leader Joe Nayquonabe, Jr. about his resiliency, the pandemic and his leadership journey.

How does a community become more welcoming for everyone? Learn some reasons to create change and read stories from communities that are taking action to be more inclusive.

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

[podcast] What do jobs and other economic factors look like in rural Minnesota? How about urban Minnesota? Listen as we discuss their top job industries and economic success.

[podcast] Many communities in Minnesota face workforce housing issues. Listen as we talk about Glenwood's housing study and how understanding existing workers' needs helps them plan for the future.

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