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Extension, UM Crookston economic partnership renewed

Media Contacts: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-626-4077,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/30/2016)—The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced that the University of Minnesota Crookston has again been named the EDA University Center for Minnesota.

The EDA University Center grant is managed at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC), and is a partnership of UMC and the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. EDA funding extends to 2021 the original grant award that has funded services in Greater Minnesota; it expands funding to include communities within the Twin Cities that face economic distress. Yearly funding increases to $160,363.

This partnership has created statewide economic development applied research and education that enhances the effectiveness of economic development strategies at local, regional and tribal levels. Over the past five years, EDA-affiliated faculty and staff have produced more than 50 applied research reports for more than 60 community partners. These reports inform local action and policy responding to economic emergencies such as the avian flu, and economic opportunities such as business retention and expansion.

“Being the EDA University Center enriches public engagement with economic development communities from the University of Minnesota,” said Extension associate dean Kent Olson, who directs the Center. “Extension educators who are connected to community concerns are able to develop research and education that sheds light on those subjects, regardless of a community’s ability to pay. And faculty at the University of Minnesota Crookston bring their knowledge and understanding of regional concerns to the Red River Valley, northwestern Minnesota and beyond, particularly as they relate to entrepreneurship and small business development in rural communities.”

Funding is used only for services provided by the University to communities; no cash awards are made. All funding is matched with University funds.

Center staff and faculty are engaged with Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, regional initiative foundations, and Minnesota’s 10 regional development organizations.

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