Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension
www.extension.umn.edu
612-624-1222

Extension > Community > Community Features

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Vital Connections newsletter articles and podcasts

To subscribe to Vital Connections, please email Joyce Hoelting.

2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010

Episode 6: Minnesota's Workforce

Laura Kalambokidis, Ph. D.September 2017 podcast

Hear our second conversation with Laura Kalambokidis, Ph. D., an Extension Economist, Professor of Applied Economics at University of Minnesota, and Minnesota's State Economist, as we talk about Minnesota's workforce. Listen as she talks about the challenges, opportunities and ingenuity within Minnesota.

Listen to podcast

Episode 5: Minnesota's Economy 101

Laura Kalambokidis, Ph. D.September 2017 podcast

Hear Laura Kalambokidis, Ph. D., an Extension Economist, Professor of Applied Economics at University of Minnesota, and Minnesota's State Economist, talk about Minnesota's global economy. Listen as she gives insights into the economy and workforce challenges facing employers and communities.

Listen to podcast

Episode 4: ReGen

ReGen logoAugust 2017 podcast

People choose to live in communities for a number of reasons, and they choose to stay for a variety of reasons. Listen as members of ReGen talk about the importance of community connections and share how they became the people they'd been in other communities as Iron Rangers.

Listen to podcast

Building trust in communities

Stacked handsSummer 2017

A little trust goes a long way. In fact, scholars link trust in communities to successes such as stronger volunteerism, healthier residents, and economic prosperity.

Continue reading

Two for You video series

Two for YouSummer 2017

Join Extension Leadership and Civic Engagement Educators Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme. Their monthly video series is based on research about Positive Psychology research, and offers tips and techniques for living and leading with intention.

Continue reading

Episode 3: the leadership gap

Ben WinchesterAugust 2017 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.

Listen to podcast

Episode 2: make it Litchfield

Litchfield, MNJuly 2017 podcast

Communities have the power to tell their own story. Litchfield, Minnesota has been working to create a narrative that is optimistic and focused on the future.

Listen to podcast

Episode 1: it's not your grandpa's rural

Ben WinchesterJune 2017 podcast

We often hear that small, rural communities are disappearing. Ben Winchester, Senior Research Fellow for U of M Extension's Center for Community Vitality, joins us to talk about what is actually happening.

Listen to podcast

What do visitors expect when they visit your community? You need to know

Two ladies at a table with one taking notesSpring 2017

Visitors come to your community with expectations about what they will do and see in your area. But what are those expectations exactly? Communities need to know in order to market their destination and keep their offerings fresh, so that visitors keep coming back.

Continue reading

Tourism Center studies impact of bicycling in Minnesota

People biking in MinnesotaSpring 2017

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) recently released a study about the economic and health impacts of bicycling in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota Tourism Center contributed to this research by studying the economic impact of bicycling events in Minnesota.

Continue reading

2016

Turning over the keys to rural businesses

A multi-generational group discussionFall 2016

Two of every three businesses in the U.S. are owned by a baby boomer looking to turn over the keys to the next generation in the coming years. That means change is inevitable in the landscape of Minnesota’s Main Streets and business communities.

Continue reading

Creating community across generations

Rural grocery storeFall 2016

Five generations of Minnesotans are now living and working together in communities and challenging each other to work across differences. “Community members of all ages can work well together, especially if they know the mindsets, expectations, and work styles of each generation,” says leadership and civic engagement educator Lisa Hinz. “All too often, the differences between generations, rather than the areas of opportunity, shape how people work together.”

Continue reading

The future of rural grocery stores

small group meetingSummer 2016

Like most American institutions, the rural grocery store is facing change. Big box competition from nearby towns is fierce. Many of their customers travel freely to larger towns nearby. And the graying of the American workforce means pending retirement among rural grocery store owners who have played a vital role in small town community life for decades.

Continue reading

Choosing how to lead

small group discussion at a tableSummer 2016

In communities across Greater Minnesota, graduates of Extension's leadership education programs are stepping up to make a difference in the places where they live and work. As they step up, these emerging leaders are also making a choice about how they will lead in their communities.

"Communities will always have a need for more leadership," says leadership and civic engagement educator Lori Rothstein, "and being intentional about how you choose to lead is important."

Continue reading

Getting real with rural tourism

Tourist signs on a buildingWinter 2016

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

And tourists bring good things to rural Minnesota, too. Rural Minnesota has a 28% share of the nearly 13 billion dollar pie of annual gross sales in the leisure and hospitality industry, and 31% of the 250,117 jobs in private sector employment.

Continue reading

Leading through change

Vision 20/40 - Willmar Lakes Area

Winter 2016

A visit to Willmar, Minnesota's Vision 20/40 website makes creating community change look easy. There, you can read about a five-point plan to prepare for Willmar's future. In 2015, they made progress on each of four goals and added a fifth. More than 150 volunteers are working on the plan.

Continue reading

2015

Asking Questions with Intention

A group of people listening to a presenter

Fall 2015

If community groups are to find good answers, it is important they ask the right questions. The right question can propel a group forward in a positive way while the wrong one can pull them backward.

That's why asking questions is a leadership skill worth studying. Facilitators and informed group participants should be ready to ask the right question at the right time.

Continue reading

A Profile of Second Homeowners in Central and West Central Minnesota

Second homeowners lake home

Fall 2015

Second homeowners are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of communities in the Central and West Central lakes districts of Minnesota. Community economics educators Ryan Pesch and Merritt Bussiere recently studied second homeowners in eight counties of Central and West Central Minnesota.

Continue reading

Getting to know Greater Minnesota

Map of Minensota

Spring 2015

It's not your grandparents' Greater Minnesota anymore. You know, the Greater Minnesota dominated by the industries of its founders - agriculture and mining.

While agriculture and mining are still important, Greater Minnesota is now a richer blend of economic interests and opportunities. That's the biggest thing Extension Economic Analyst Brigid Tuck and her team of Extension educators saw when they set out to describe the economic composition of Greater Minnesota - its economic drivers, strengths and concerns.

Continue reading

To lead well, know yourself

Paul TorkelsonSpring 2015

In community leadership, having a good sense of self can help you relate well to others. But knowing yourself means spending some time looking inward. Just ask Paul Torkelson. Torkelson applied what he learned about himself while participating in the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program (MARL) to help him think about his leadership in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Continue reading

2014

The habits of highly successful facilitators

A group of people in a meeting

Fall 2014

Before a community event is a success or an economic development strategy is implemented, a community meeting takes place—or more likely, a bunch of meetings. That makes leading good community meetings pretty important.

Continue reading

Walmart communities find there is room for more

A Walmart store

Fall 2014

When a Walmart Supercenter opened in Winona, Minnesota in 2003, there was definitely a churning among local businesses. "Businesses get concerned," says Della Schmidt, president of the Winona Chamber of Commerce. "Some retail operations that were already struggling chose to close their businesses. But others were attracted to Winona or stayed in town because Walmart made us more of a regional center."

Continue reading

'We the people' — Making it real

Raised hands

Summer 2014

Minnesota's voter turnout is impressive — almost 19 percent higher than the rest of the nation's over the past decade. But, is voting all it takes to sustain a thriving democracy? A study conducted by the Bush Foundation considered deeper questions about Minnesota's civic life. They found that about half of those surveyed felt their community was strong when it comes to working on problems together.

Continue reading

Ripple effect mapping makes waves in the world of evaluation

Ramsey County Master Gardeners working with kids in a garden

A Ramsey County Master Gardeners (RCMG) volunteer works with kids in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul. RCMG volunteers participated in a ripple-effect mapping session to evaluate outcomes and build relationships.

Summer 2014

Ripples are tiny waves generated when someone drops a stone into the water. But ripple effect mapping is generating some big waves in the world of evaluation.

Continue reading

Searching for sustainability in the tourism industry

Two people kayaking near a light houseWinter 2014

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

Continue reading

Hard data for hard times: Economic Impact Analysis for community business loss

A business behind a locked chain-link fence

Winter 2014

The year 2013 brought improved economic news to much of Minnesota, but a few towns took some hard knocks. Town and business leaders are left asking, "What now?" while employees and their families must make critical decisions about their future.

Continue reading

2013

Creating pathways for leadership among Latino community members

Creating pathways for leadership for Latino community membersFall 2013

Politicians and corporations are now realizing they may not be able to succeed unless they understand what's in the hearts and on the minds of the burgeoning Latino population in America. But this isn't news to many communities in Minnesota with growing Latino populations.

Continue reading

The dance of leaders and followers

The dance of leaders and followers

Fall 2013

"I've always thought being a good follower is as important as being a good leader," says Holly Anderson. "They're both part of a team, and teamwork is how you get things done in a community."

Continue reading

Exploring markets for local food

Exploring markets for local food

Spring 2013

“Green” and sustainable building construction, social network game development, solar panel manufacturing, Pilates and yoga studios — these are a few of the fastest growing industries across the United States in the past decade. Local food growers are working to have their day in the sun, too. And rural leaders are anxious to see how local food production might diversify and strengthen their economy — adding local producers to traditional agriculture, manufacturing, education and health care as economic drivers in Greater Minnesota.

Continue reading

Good data is good retail therapy for Minnesota's communities

Spring 2013

Good data is good retail therapy for Minnesota's communities

Retail is a mainstay for Minnesota’s economy, accounting for 5.4 percent of the state’s economic output and 282,700 part-time and full-time jobs. That’s an important contribution. But look deeper. The contributions of Minnesota’s shops and retail go beyond economic success.   “Minnesota’s communities need a strong retail sector,” says Matt Kane, program leader for Extension’s Community Economics programs. “Successful retail keeps communities vibrant.  And the civic contributions of retailers can’t be overlooked. From supporting a local sports team to spearheading community events, retailers keep communities vital. Some also create public spaces where community conversations happen.”

Continue reading

The future (workforce) ain't what it used to be

Spring 2013

young adults working

Minnesota State Economist Tom Stinson is bullish on Minnesota. "Minnesota has been very successful — especially for a cold weather state at the end of the road," says Stinson, a University of Minnesota Extension economist and a professor of Applied Economics. But what about the future? "That's unclear," Stinson says. "Recent economic and demographic events have changed the outlook as far as we can see."

Continue reading


2012

Community festivals—Big benefits, but risks, too

Winter 2012

Taking Care of (Existing) Business — a Community Approach

Winter 2012

Does your community need new leaders? Try knocking on some new doors

Fall 2012

Extension, UMD research sparks community action on Duluth food desert

Fall 2012

Helping communities make better economic decisions

Fall 2012

Digging into the dynamics of Greater Minnesota's economy

Spring 2012

Creating connections for better communities

Spring 2012

Update: Newcomers mean brain gain for rural Minnesota

Spring 2012, Updated
Winter 2010

Continue reading

Read the press release

Read the report (1.47 MB PDF)

Read more about the trend and media coverage


2011

Why should visitors love your town? Count the ways

Winter 2011

Start seeing visitors

Winter 2011

Get the whole town involved with tourism

Winter 2011

Urban vs. rural? More like urban and rural together, study says

Summer 2011

Five insights on the Internet and rural Minnesota

Summer 2011


2010

2010 census release continues — with changes

Winter 2010

Data-informed decision making helps communities thrive

Winter 2010

Is your community ready for a big idea?

Winter 2010


To subscribe to Vital Connections, please email Joyce Hoelting.

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy