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University of Minnesota Extension

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

About the Extension Center for Youth Development

Learn how to build a program where youth can thrive

Youth development programs offer youth something that formal learning doesn't - a place to build skills for the future. Build a program where that happens! Let us show you how. 

We offer training and tools for youth workers and leaders

Strong youth programs require strong youth development professionals. We provide research-based training and resources for adults who work with and on behalf of Minnesota's young people. Our experienced faculty and staff offer foundational youth development courses and more to individuals, teams and organizations.

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We conduct research on positive youth development

The backbone of positive youth development programs is research. We conduct and share out-of-school time research and evaluation with policy makers, stakeholders, program leaders, decision makers and researchers to address important issues related to the field of youth development. We deliver:

  • Original research of our own, and in partnership with others
  • Evaluation studies to measure effectiveness and outcomes
  • Public symposia, both traditional and online, presenting important youth development research and ideas
  • Networking with youth programs in Minnesota, the United States and around the world

We run the Minnesota 4-H program

Last year, 150 professional educators and more than 10,000 program volunteers delivered the 4-H program to more than 70,000 young people. We support all of these youth workers with research-based training, curriculum and support. The program serves as a living laboratory for how to do youth work well. We are constantly evaluating the program's effectiveness and how to make it better. We share these best practices in each of our youth work courses.

Learn about 4-H.  

Research topics


Learn about youth development

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