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Vital Connections

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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)

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.

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.

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

What does being an involved citizen mean? It isn't always about running for office. Hear from community members who helped protect and promote a hidden nature spot in Woodbury, Minnesota.

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.

Newcomers to Minnesota sometimes joke that “Minnesotans will give you directions to everywhere but their house.” But community leaders across the state are trying to change that – in a big way.

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.

How can we create a vibrant Minnesota workforce? Listen to a variety of speakers share insight on workforce issues and how to prepare and help those affected.

Rural Minnesota continued to attract new residents aged 30 to 49 between 2000 and 2010, according to a new study of U.S. Census data from University of Minnesota Extension.

What would happen to the state's economy if rural Minnesota went away? Would the Twin Cities area notice?

When visitors recall a memorable trip or vacation, they talk about three things: What they saw; what they did; and the people they met.

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.

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