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Abstract

The 4-H Professional Research, Knowledge and Competencies (PRKC) is a professional development framework that can be used to identify competency gaps and training needs of 4-H professionals. The PRKC consists of 6 competency domains, 1 being access, equity, and opportunity (AEO). A tailored design method was used to gather data and sort the respondents between rural and urban community type. 4-H Extension agents serving urban communities perceived 12 out of the 14 AEO domain components as more important than agents serving rural communities did. The 2 AEO domain components that were not significantly different in perceived importance were values, norms, and practices and active listening. An essential element of the 4-H experience must include creating an environment where children and youth feel safe, included, and that they belong. The differences among 4-H youth development professionals’ perceptions of the importance of the AEO domain components, based on their work location, warrants further review. Implications of this information could influence the competencies that Extension systems look for in hiring. Furthermore, educational workshops and trainings around AEO for existing youth workers may need to be evolved.

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