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University of Minnesota Extension
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Extension is expanding its online education and resources while in-person events and classes are canceled.

Vital Connections

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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

A person leading an online meeting

Four tips for leading online meetings

Do you feel comfortable leading an online meeting? Learn four tips for a more effective online meeting that will help you grow your skills and confidence.

Open sign on a sidewalk in a retail district

Impacts on retail

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

Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme share resiliency taglines

Resiliency taglines

[video] How do you manage stress? Learn about two resiliency taglines that help you center yourself and lessen negative self-talk.

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)

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

[video] How can drinking a hot beverage change how you think about others? Learn about research done on how hot drinks can build trust and empathy.

[podcast] Many Minnesota communities are experiencing a leadership shortage. Hear about why this is happening and what communities can do to better engage newcomers to help fill leadership roles.

Most in the Minnesota tourism industry agree there are advantages to applying sustainability practices to the business, but the implementation is slowed by the perception of high costs.

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

[video] How do you foster creativity and innovation in you and your community? Learn about the importance of playfulness.

Like most American institutions, the rural grocery store is facing change. Read about an Extension study of the future of rural groceries and how communities can help.

[podcast] 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.

[podcast] How do you inspire entrepreneurship in your community? Listen as we talk about a framework used to energize entrepreneurs in six southern Minnesota communities.

[video] Is there a cultural concept that is a part of your community? Learn about the Finnish concept of sisu.

[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.

[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.

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