Due to the nature of Extension, work across counties differs because efforts are grounded in the needs of a community and intentional programming helps address these needs. A common competency required for entry-stage Extension professionals is program development, which includes planning, design, implementation, and evaluation. Understanding a community's needs is a crucial aspect of the program planning process, yet new Extension professionals may not know where to locate existing information about their communities. Before creating Extension programs, Extension professionals should understand local communities and identify existing data to facilitate the needs assessment phase of program development.

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