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Community-Focused Podcasts

Join us for Vital Connections On Air, a free podcast from University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. We explore the trends and topics important to Minnesota communities and their leaders.

You'll hear about research from the University of Minnesota and Extension, as well as inspiring stories from local communities and organizations.

Episode 14: Understanding rural small business succession

Episode 14: Understanding rural small business succession

Selling a small business is not the same as selling a house. Listen as we discuss how business owners and buyers can prepare for this transition and how communities can help.

Episode 13: Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Episode 13: The importance of immigrants to Minnesota's businesses

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.

Episode 12: Minnesota's changing workforce

Episode 12: Minnesota's changing workforce

Minnesota's workforce is changing. Our workers are aging and new employees are often newcomers to our country. Listen as we discuss the impact of immigrants in our labor market.

Episode 11: Glenwood studies housing

Episode 11: Glenwood's housing study results

Many communities in Minnesota face workforce housing issues. Listen as we talk about Glenwood's housing study and how understanding existing workers' needs helps them plan for the future.

Episode 10: Working to Address the Child Care Shortage

Episode 10: working to address the child care shortage

Communities are getting creative in how they work to understand and address child care shortages. Hear Greg Wagner from the West Central Initiative as he shares steps they are taking to increase child care capacity.

Episode 9: The Child Care Challenge for Minnesota's Workforce

Episode 9: the child care challenge for Minnesota's workforce

Minnesota is experiencing a child care crisis that directly affects workers and employers. Listen as Marnie Werner shares insight from the Center for Rural Policy and Development's research.

Episode 8: Manufacturing in Minnesota

Episode 8: manufacturing in Minnesota

Workforce issues tripled in importance based on results from Enterprise Minnesota's 2017 State of Manufacturing survey. Listen as we talk to Bob Kill about workforce challenges in manufacturing.

Episode 7: Make it Litchfield Update

Episode 7: Make it Litchfield update

Judy and Dave are back to give us an update on Make it Litchfield. The study circles finished their work, and they held a community meeting where residents discussed issues that are important to them. Hear them talk about their progress.

Episode 6: Minnesota's Workforce

Episode 6: Minnesota's workforce

There are challenges with Minnesota's workforce. We hear about baby boomers retiring, fewer workers, immigrants and the proximity of jobs to job seekers. Listen as we discuss the challenges, opportunities and ingenuity within Minnesota.

Episode 5: Minnesota's Economy 101

Episode 5: Minnesota's economy 101

Will Minnesota's economy continue to grow? Listen as we talk about the state's economy and workforce challenges facing employers and communities.

Episode 4: ReGen

Episode 4: ReGen

Are social roots keeping people in Northeast Minnesota? 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.

Episode 3: The Leadership Gap

Episode 3: the leadership gap

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.

Episode 2: Make It Litchfield

Episode 2: Make it Litchfield

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.

Episode 1: It's Not Your Grandpa's Rural

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

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.

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