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Extension > Community > Understanding Economic Change > Program Offerings

Program Offerings

Imagining the future

Futures Workshop

Especially helpful when communities are conducting strategic plans or deciding how to invest in economic development, Extension's Futures Workshops lead groups to understand the economic impact of 5–8 different industries on local economies. The analysis explores how much the expansion or contraction of one business in each industry would affect jobs, as well as the revenue of other businesses in the area. A facilitated discussion helps the community apply this knowledge to local discussions. As a result, the Futures Workshop helps communities look objectively at the state of their local economy.

A Futures EIA report typically takes 1–2 months of preparation and planning. At a kick off meeting, Extension staff and key stakeholders define the study. After that, our analyst takes a few weeks to build the model and run the analysis. The cost is $750; funding may be available for Futures Workshops from the EDA Center at the University of MN Crookston.

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Emergency Economic Impact Analysis

Workforce reductions, business closings and natural disasters all have an impact on local economies. An Emergency Economic Impact Analysis report helps communities understand the effects of a sudden or unanticipated change, giving them a quick analysis to guide the local response. The Emergency EIA includes a profile of the local economy, a short summary of how businesses might be affected, and an exploration of how the event will affect the local economy.

This program is a variation of Extension's standard EIA program. It uses IMPLAN™ software to analyze economic impacts. Components of the analysis include a profile of the local economy, a short summary of how businesses affected by the disaster relate to the local economy, and an exploration of how this event will affect the local economy. Community leaders, including elected officials, can then use this information to get the town on the road to recovery.

An Emergency EIA is designed to help communities make quick decisions; therefore, we will work with you to establish a short timeline to meet the needs of decision makers. This quick turnaround may result in answers that are not as thoroughly researched as other studies.

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Customized research

Economic impact analysis can provide in-depth information about an industry's economic impact, or about the potential for an economic development strategy. Our team conducts customized studies that answer these questions by collaborating with local groups to collect relevant data, determine factors that affect findings, and critically consider the local context of the results. Sponsoring organizations or communities receive a customized report and a presentation of review findings.

Using input-output analysis, and sometimes other economic modeling tools, we handle standard economic impact questions as well as those requiring more precision and in-depth investigation. We can conduct survey, gather data, and interview key players to ensure that our economic models are based on the best local knowledge. We call this process "ground trothing" because it ensures that our work reflects what is happening in a community.

Initial meetings with stakeholders are critical to our customized research, because we need to be sure that the questions communities ask can actually be answered with the tools we have available. When the match isn't right, we try to refer groups to other sources or, if possible, reshape the question so that it can be answered.

Because this approach to addressing economic impact questions is in-depth, a typical report can take anywhere from 3-9 months to complete. As a general rule, when more local "ground trothing" is required, research takes longer. Our team will work closely with you to prepare a customized proposal so that both of our organizations fully understand the scope of the project before we start.

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