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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

A downtown business district in rural Minnesota

Rural-urban economic interdependence

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

An entrepreneur writing on an easel outside their shop

Entrepreneurial communities turn local dreamers into doers

What do entrepreneurs need to succeed? Read how you can help your community focus on entrepreneurs. Also, learn about a Minnesota conference that will help connect and inspire entrepreneurial communities.

Smiling reduces stress - positive psychology from Denise and Lori

Smiling reduces stress

[video] Can smiling help you through a difficult situation? Listen and learn about the science of how grinning and bearing it can reduce stress.

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.

[podcast] Communities are getting creative in how they work to understand and address child care shortages. Hear Greg Wagner from the West Central Initiative as he shares steps they are taking to increase child care capacity.

[podcast] Selling a small business is not the same as selling a house. Listen as we discuss how business owners and buyers can prepare for this transition and how communities can help.

[podcast] How do you plan for a successful business transition? Sharing resources and building supportive relationships can help. In this episode, hear how Spring Valley, Minnesota created a program that helps business owners.

[video] Do your questions lead to change? Learn about appreciative inquiry and how your questions have the power to navigate change.

University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality educators Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme share positive psychology research to help you live and lead with intention.

[podcast] Minnesota's business community is on the front line of addressing workforce issues. Listen as we explore what is happening and how companies are supporting immigrants and immigration policy.

Local food growers are working to have their day in the sun. And rural leaders are anxious to see how local food production might diversify and strengthen their economy.

[video] Can stress be good for you? Learn about the benefits of stress and how to use it to connect with others.

[podcast] What does civic engagement mean? Listen to Extension educators discuss its meaning and share best practices for working with others and tools to get involved.

[podcast] There are challenges with Minnesota's workforce. We hear about baby boomers retiring, fewer workers, immigrants and the proximity of jobs to job seekers. Listen as we discuss the challenges, opportunities and ingenuity within Minnesota.

[video] How do you center yourself? Learn about a simple practice to help you become more present in your life.

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