Listening sessions will help Cooperative Extension plan for future

  • Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:46 p.m.

As the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nears its centennial celebration, the organization is holding a series of 12 listening sessions across the state in November and December.

Cooperative Extension, which provides educational programs in 4-H, agriculture, family and consumer sciences and community development to citizens in all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, is seeking public input as the organization launches a strategic planning initiative for the future.

Forsyth County is hosting a listening session at the Forsyth County Extension Center, 1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem, on Dec. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m. On Nov. 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m., there will be a session at Union County Extension Center, 3230-D Presson Road Monroe. Dr. Joe Zublena, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service director, will attend each session to update participants on progress and to engage in discussion about the organization’s future.

“I cannot state enough the importance of this endeavor and the need for participation and feedback from the public. At Cooperative Extension’s core are people and communities, and it’s their input we need to ensure another century of educational services for the people of North Carolina,” said Zublena.

View the full list of Listening Sessions:

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Cooperative Extension in North Carolina has seen recurring federal and state budget cuts of around $20 million since 2000, leaving roughly 90 positions unfilled – mostly at the county level – over the past four years. The listening sessions and strategic planning process were implemented to help the organization adapt accordingly to the economic environment and resulting impacts going forward.

Participant feedback gathered during the listening sessions will be reviewed and analyzed starting in January and will assist in the development of a recommended action plan to meet the needs of Cooperative Extension and its partners for the future.

N.C. Cooperative Extension was founded in 1914, in conjunction with the national Cooperative Extension System, as part of the Smith-Lever Act. The organization will officially turn 100 on May 8, 2014.

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