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Volume

56

Issue

2

Abstract

Workforce development is a growing need in rural communities. This article recognizes Cooperative Extension as a critical labor market intermediary in fostering local workforce solutions. It proposes a community-based approach with Extension at the center of a process for identifying key stakeholders, facilitating collaboration, and supporting data-driven decisions. Through participatory methods and economic analysis of local industries, our team engaged over 120 stakeholders from two rural regions in the Great Plains. Our findings show that Extension plays an important role in promoting cross-sectoral collaboration to address complex workforce issues, enhance community capacity, and mobilize local action.

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