Program Leadership Committee
Report to Directors and Administrators
September 1997


1. Strategies for Recruitment, Selection and Retention of Culturally Diverse Staff

Introduction and Justification:
The CES National Center (NCFD) proposes to conduct a regional workshop on recruitment, selection, and retention of diverse staff as a core training service offered as a result of institutional support of NCFD.

Many institutions are reviewing their current staffing patterns as a result of Cooperative Extension's stated commitment to diversity and pluralism. CE personnel engaged in the hiring of staff have indicated a growing need to learn more about what might be done to attract and retain persons from diverse populations. Many other organizations are seeking ways to recruit a more culturally diverse workforce as population demographics have changed. There is also evidence that a multicultural workforce brings new perspectives to problem solving and programming with diverse groups.

Heightened interest in recruitment, selection, and retention is evident, as a survey was recently conducted to look at strategies that have been successfully utilized. The workshop will provide an excellent opportunity to share information on strategies that have been successful.


The overall objective is to increase the institution's ability to recruit, select and retain a diverse workforce. Specific objectives are:
1. To share strategies effectively utilized in recruiting, selecting, and retaining diverse staff.
2. To increase knowledge of marketing strategies for promoting and identifying persons to fill positions.
3. To foster awareness of practices that contribute to an inclusive organization.

The proposed workshop would last 2 days. The workshop will be facilitated by CES National Center for Diversity staff in partnership with representatives from the region. The workshop will be experiential, incorporating group exercises and activities, practice and discovery sessions, and sharing of best practices.

Expected Outcomes:

As a result of the workshop, participants will:
1. Develop an awareness and sensitivity to issues related to recruiting and retaining diverse personnel.
2. Increase knowledge and skill in utilizing strategies found to be successful in recruitment and retention.
3. Possess tools that may be utilized to better market and advertise positions.
4. Build partnerships and networks with persons in other states.
5. Develop plans to create a reservoir of materials and innovative strategies.
6. Develop an action plan to assist with recruitment, selection, and retention.

Time Frame:

Center staff plans to deliver regional workshops during the Spring or Fall, 1998. The region can offer suggestions for dates to avoid. The region is requested to provide a site/logistical chairperson. Site logistics will include:
- Meeting facility
- Lodging arrangements
- Registration process
- Room arrangements
- Audio visual needs
- Arrangements for breaks, etc.

Suggested Attendance:

Any Extension personnel who have responsibility for hiring and recruiting staff, and any staff member who is designated or has an interest. Might include State, Area, and County Extension Agents and Specialists, Human Resource Managers, and Administrative staff.


An evaluation will be conducted following the workshop. The post conference evaluation form will include ratings on presentations and concepts learned.


The Center will provide resource individuals and states will bear the costs of travel, lodging, and per diem.

2. Communications/Technology Committee

Recognizing the increasing applications of computer technology as communications media, the Communications Committee recommends that the membership be expanded to include heads of computer and information technology units with extension responsibilities not currently a part of existing communication units or departments. We would recommend that this expansion occur immediately and that appropriate personnel be invited to the 1998 meeting at Little Rock, Arkansas to discuss items of common interest as well as consider exclusive agenda items as necessary.

3. Community Based Approach to Extension Programming

Southern Region Conference on Community Based Approaches to Extension Programs (Sponsored Jointly by the Southern Region Community Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, ANR, and 4-H Committees and the Southern Rural Development Center)


The education and information needs of Extension's customers are becoming increasingly more complex. The work of agriculture/natural resources Extension agents, for example, is no longer limited to responding to the commodity-specific activities of the farm sector. Rather, agents must attend to the set of sustainable issues that have moved discussions of on-farm practices to the broader community setting. For example, the use and management of water, land, and pesticides by the agricultural sector, and the associated impacts on the nonagricultural community, have emerged as highly volatile public policy issues at the local level. Within the human sciences arena, there is clear recognition that child, youth and family well being are dependent, in part, on the community context in which they are embedded. Addressing the needs of children, youth and families, requires a comprehensive approach, one that necessitates active investment on the part of the community. The effectiveness of the new welfare reform program, for example, is dependent in no small way on the community. Not only is the availability of job training programs and decent jobs deemed essential to assist individuals move from welfare dependence to gainful employment, so is access to good transportation and child care programs. It is within the community setting that many of these issues are likely to be considered.

In order to respond to the new demands and opportunities being presented to them, Extension professionals in all program areas must strengthen their understanding of how communities operate; determine the set of tools that they can utilize to better address the significant issues impacting their Extension customers.

Objectives and expected outcomes:

Extension professionals will improve their understanding of how communities operate, including the role of local government in policy and regulatory activities, the community's institutional and leadership structures, and the nature of its economic and social infrastructure.

Extension professional will learn to: (1) map the assets that exists in their community; (2) engage community citizens in discussions that more fully address public policy options for addressing priority concerns in the community; and (3) employ a step-by-step process for resolving important local issues.

Extension professionals will develop a better understanding of how to manage community conflicts, including the use of negotiation and mediation skills, and how to create collaboration among local organizations and individuals.

Extension professionals will learn about successful community-based strategies that have been used by agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and community resource development agents in response to locally identified needs of their customers.

Proposed products:

A regional workshop involving presentations on basic principles of community structure, politics, and economics, followed by presentations on successful approaches from all program areas.

Notebook for each participant containing materials on successful community approaches in solving problems facing families, youths, producers and communities.


Planning will begin in November, 1997, with the workshop projected for Fall, 1998.

Suggested membership:

Planning committee will consist of two members each from the Southern Region Community Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H, ANR, Mid-management, and Staff Development Committees. Recommended membership:

Community Development

Warren McCord--Alabama
Chris Sieverdes--South Carolina

Family and Consumer Sciences

Ragiene Page--Mississippi
Diane Jones--Arkansas

Agriculture and Natural Resources

to be named


to be named

Southern Rural Development Center

Bo Beaulieu
Bonnie Teater


The workshop will be assisted by the Southern Region Rural Development Center, who will also work with the planning