Vital Connections On Air
Vital Connection On Air, is a podcast from University of Minnesota's Extension Center for Community Vitality that explores the trends and topics important to communities and its leaders.
info_outline Episode 24: Rural-Urban Economic Interdependencies 11/21/2019
Episode 24: Rural-Urban Economic Interdependencies Many people assume that the economies of rural and urban communities look very different. Surprisingly, there are many similarities. Brigid Tuck joins us to discuss what economics look like in both rural and urban Minnesota, and how they actually support each others’ success.
info_outline Episode 23: REM for REV 09/26/2019
Episode 23: REM for REV Evaluation doesn’t have to be a paper survey. In this episode Scott Chazdon and Pam Bishop share how Ripple Effects Mapping has allowed Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures evaluate their efforts in a unique way and better understand their communities along the way. Guests: Scott Chazdon, Evaluation Specialist, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
info_outline Episode 22: REVing for Entrepreneurship 07/11/2019
Episode 22: REVing for Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is not a new concept, but it’s a piece of economic development that is often overlooked. In this episode, Don Macke and Pam Bishop describe how the Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities Framework is being used with six southern Minnesota communities involved in the Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures program. Guests: Don Macke, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
info_outline Episode 21: Conversations Change Campbell 04/04/2019
Episode 21: Conversations Change Campbell Bringing your community together for conversations can be an intimidating task. DeAnn Loll and Shana Klindt, members of the community of Campbell, share their experience leading four conversations in their community. Hear how they led their community through a series of conversations that led to big change; both in community appearance and community pride.
info_outline Episode 20: Community Conversations 11/15/2018
Episode 20: Community Conversations People are looking for ways to come together. Many times, one of the best ways to get people together and talking is around an issue or idea to better a community. Jody Horntvedt, leadership and civic engagement educator for University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality joins us to talk about strategies to start and support healthy conversations in your community.
info_outline Episode 19: Engaged in Nature 10/18/2018
Episode 19: Engaged in Nature Involved citizens are not always those that are running for office; sometimes they are hunting out invasive weeds. That is the case for Dana Boyle, Stephanie Wong, and John Woodworth who have used their common bond of caring about the Tamarack Nature Preserve. Hear their story of engaging public entities and other citizens to protect and promote this hidden gem located in Woodbury, MN. Guests: Dana Boyle Stephanie Wong John Woodworth
info_outline Episode 18: Civic Engagement 101 10/04/2018
Episode 18: Civic Engagement 101 Civic engagement is a phrase that we hear from time to time, but what does it really mean? Lisa Hinz and Beth Kallestad, Extension educators with University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality discuss the meaning of civic engagement, best practices in working with others, and resources to help you become involved. Guests: Lisa Hinz, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement Beth Kallestad, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement
info_outline Episode 17: Key Workforce Issues 09/19/2018
Episode 17: Key Workforce Issues University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality hosted a workforce symposium to bring together researchers and practitioners across Extension and the University. This symposium encouraged those in attendance to explore the topic of workforce and consider how we might come together to better learn about and serve the people of Minnesota. In this episode you will hear from a variety of speakers who shared insights on specific issues that are directly impacting Minnesota’s workforce. Guests: Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Davis, Professor, Department of Applied Economics Dr. Yingling Fan, Associate Professor, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Dr. Jennifer Schultz, Co-directory, health Care Management Program and Professor of Economics, Labovitz School of Business and Economics Dr. Ann Ziebarth, Professor, Housing Studies
info_outline Episode 16: Workforce Wrap Up - It's the people 08/24/2018
Episode 16: Workforce Wrap Up - It's the people University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality hosted a workforce symposium to bring together researchers and practitioners across Extension and the University. This symposium encouraged those in attendance to explore the topic of workforce and consider how we might come together to better learn about and serve the people of Minnesota. In this episode you will hear from a variety of speakers who shared insights on the people being impacted by our current workforce issues and how to better prepare and help them in making vibrant economies around the state. Links from this episode: is your go-to resource for help in your community work. Find out more about the
info_outline Episode 15: Making Business Succession Planning Successful 04/26/2018
Episode 15: Making Business Succession Planning Successful The idea of business succession planning can create a sense of fear for business owners and communities. Sharing of resources and building supportive relationships can help calm those fears and encourage success. Cathy Enerson, Community and Business Development Specialist and Economic Development Director, joins us for this episode to discuss how the community of Spring Valley, Minnesota worked together to create a program to help business owners look towards the future.
info_outline Episode 14: Understanding Rural Business Succession 04/19/2018
Episode 14: Understanding Rural Business Succession Selling a business is not the same as selling a house. There are a unique set of factors that owners, potential buyers, and communities must consider as small businesses change hands. Liz Templin, Extension educator in community economics, discusses how business owners and buyers can prepare for this transition and how communities can help.
info_outline Episode 13: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce 03/22/2018
Episode 13: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Our business community is on the front line of addressing workforce issues. This includes working to create welcoming environments for newcomers, tapping into under utilized pockets of workers in our state, and addressing issues at a political level to help all Minnesotans. Bill Blazar, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Business Development, from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce joins us for this episode to explore what is happening to Minnesota’s business community and how they are working to support immigrants and immigration policy.
info_outline Episode 12: Minnesota's Changing Workforce 02/28/2018
Episode 12: Minnesota's Changing Workforce Minnesota’s workforce is changing. Our workers are aging and new workers are often newcomers, not just to our community but to our country. Ryan Allen, Associate Professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, joins us for this episode to discuss the impact of immigrants on Minnesota’s workforce and what it means for our future.
info_outline Episode 11: Glenwood Studies Housing 01/30/2018
Episode 11: Glenwood Studies Housing Workforce housing is at a premium in many communities throughout Minnesota. It is crucial for communities to have quality workforce housing to recruit new community members and retain those who are already there. In today’s episode we learn about the housing study conducted in Glenwood, Minnesota and how understanding the needs of the individuals working in the area played an important role in planning this community’s future.
info_outline Episode 10: Working to Address the Childcare Shortage 01/04/2018
Episode 10: Working to Address the Childcare Shortage Communities are getting creative in how they work to understand and address childcare shortages. Greg Wagner from the West Central Initiative shares steps they are taking to increase childcare capacity in communities. Through the use of their Forgivable Childcare Loan Fund, home-based childcare providers in West Central Minnesota are able to start or improve a childcare business to help communities remain vibrant. Links from this episode: is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. The works to share resources to improve west central Minnesota through various programs and events. Learn more about the in your area and they work they are doing to strengthen communities.
info_outline Episode 9: Minnesota's Childcare Crisis 12/14/2017
Episode 9: Minnesota's Childcare Crisis Minnesota is experiencing a childcare crisis and it directly impacts our workforce. Marnie Werner, Director of Research for the Center for Rural Policy and Development, joins us for this episode to better understand the issue and how it varies across the state. She shares insights from research she led on the topic for the Center. “There is a shortage of childcare providers in all parts of the state. The solutions to it are going to be different because of demographics, economics, and population density.” “[In the last 30 years] we found that the number of people providing in home childcare has been on the downslide and in the last 10 years it has been going down quite a bit.” “In the Twin Cities the issue is really getting affordable daycare. Outside the Twin Cities the issues is getting any kind of daycare.” “This isn’t just a personal family issue you know where the parents are just going to have to figures this out. Communities are really starting to come together and thinking about how can we work at this at a larger scale to figure out solutions to this. “ People will “interview for a job and if there isn’t childcare in that community they will move on and the employer is stuck looking for someone else.” “A lot of providers are getting out of the business because they can’t make money at it.” “Childcare has always been a family issue. A personal issue. So I think it remained largely invisible and under the radar because families were trying to figure it out themselves and it is only now where it is really interfering with business and employers and communities that it is really starting to be talked about.” “A thing that may have kept childcare under the radar is that I think a lot of parents think ‘okay we only have to figure this out for five years and then our kids will be in kindergarten so once the kids enter kindergarten then they don’t really have to worry about it as much anymore and it's not as much of an issue and so it's more of a temporary thing.” Links from this episode: is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. provides articles, recordings, and research on a variety of topics important to understanding issues in greater Minnesota. Read the report as well as the to their report to learn more about this issue. See if you live in a from the Center for American Progress. Other research on the issue of childcare:
info_outline Episode 8: Manufacturing in Minnesota 11/22/2017
Episode 8: Manufacturing in Minnesota We continue exploring Minnesota’s economy and its workforce in this episode as we meet Bob Kill, President and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota. Enterprise Minnesota is a consulting organization that helps manufacturing companies become efficient and helps them to grow. Their team of thirty-four individuals provides services throughout the state that help clients save time and energy, improve productivity, increase sales, improve profits, as well as create and retain jobs. Bob talks with us about the work that Enterprise Minnesota is doing as well as the results of their 2017 State of Manufacturing Survey where workforce issues tripled in importance to manufacturers across Minnesota. Links from this episode: is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. offers many resources for manufacturers across Minnesota as well as those interested in learning about this important industry. Read more about the in the September issue of .
info_outline Episode 7: Make It Litchfield Update 11/09/2017
Episode 7: Make It Litchfield Update In this episode we catch up with Judy Hulterstrom and David Krueger who are part of the Make It Litchfield program and hear about their next steps. This episode is a follow up to Episode 2: Make It Litchfield.
info_outline Episode 6: Minnesota's Workforce 09/28/2017
Episode 6: Minnesota's Workforce There are challenges with Minnesota’s workforce. We hear about them every day. Baby boomers are retiring. The workforce is shrinking. Immigrants add workers, but there is no clear path to an effective immigration policy. There are mismatches between where the jobs are and where the people are. The good news is that these challenges have brought out one of Minnesota’s greatest strengths, ingenuity. Laura Kalambokidis, Extension Economist and Minnesota State Economist, is back as we finish our discussion about workforce challenges, and opportunities in Minnesota.
info_outline Episode 5: Minnesota's Economy 101 09/14/2017
Episode 5: Minnesota's Economy 101 Laura Kalmbokidis, Ph. D., is an Extension Economist, Professor of Applied Economics at University of Minnesota, and Minnesota’s State Economist. She joins us for this episode of Vital Connections on Air to help us learn more about Minnesota’s global economy. She shares that our economy continues to grow and is supported by a strong and dedicated workforce. She also gives us insight into things happening in our economy that are creating challenges for employers and communities around the state.
info_outline Episode 4: ReGen 08/17/2017
Episode 4: ReGen People are drawn to communities for many different reasons and choose to stay for a variety of reason. It is often the social roots, the connections that are made to others and a community, that keep people in an area. Social roots need to be developed and nurtured. One organization that is working to help people grow their social roots on Minnesota’s Iron Range is ReGen. ReGen works to connect people to each other and organizations as well as to educate others on the changes and issues that are facing the Iron Range. Here from ReGen members, Char Conger, Jessalyn Sabin, Desiree Yourczek, as they share how they have involved in ReGen and became the people that they’ve been in other communities.
info_outline Episode 3: The Leadership Gap 08/03/2017
Episode 3: The Leadership Gap Ben Winchester, Senior Research Fellow for University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality joins us for another episode to discuss what he refers to as the “leadership gap,” why it is happening, and what communities can do to engage newcomers.
info_outline Episode 2: Make it Litchfield 07/20/2017
Episode 2: Make it Litchfield Communities have the power to tell their own story. Litchfield, MN has been working to create a narrative the reflects their community and tells a story that is optimistic and focused on the future. Judy Hulterstrum and David Krueger will share how they have implemented a program called Make It Litchfield that has brought together the entire community to write a narrative for this generation. Links from this episode: is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. Visit the to learn about what is happening in Litchfield and make plans to visit! Learn about all that Meeker County has to offer by visiting the . Read our by guest blogger Neil Linscheid to learn more about Making It Home.
info_outline Episode 1: It's Not Your Grandpa's Rural 06/20/2017
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 tell us what is actually happening. According to his research they are, in reality, strong and attracting new people every year. We talk about trends in migration and how to change the story of your community to draw in those people who are looking for a small town lifestyle.