Strengthening the ability of the land grant university system to execute its rural development mission

The NCRCRD periodically sponsors or facilitates webinars to help connect rural development researchers and Extension professionals with each other and with stakeholder groups. The NCRCRD sponsored webinars are free and can be accessed at:  (To nominate a topic contact Rosa Soliz)

Upcoming Webinars:

The Opportunities and Challenges of Sustaining Community Food Systems
February 10, 2015 (1:00 PM - ET)
Trudy Rice (Kansas State University) and Michelle Walk (Michigan State University)

The Soo Locks, Mining and Impacts on Rural Communities
Peter Kakela (Michigan State University) and Lisa Szymecko (University of Michigan)

On the Consequences of Four Day School Weeks: Evidence from Minnesota
Elton Mykerezi (University of Minnesota)

Alternative Funding of Local and Regional Food Systems in Nebraska
Charles Francis (University of Nebraska), John Bailey and Kathie Starkweather (Center for Rural Affairs)

Workforce Development Webinar Series:
(Dates TBD)
Globalization is creating increasing skills gap in the US labor market. Rural areas often face disproportionately deep skill shortages due to out migration, an aging workforce, as well as difficulties in training and retaining local area youth to work in local industries and attracting skilled workers from abroad. This workforce development webinar series provides an overview of key issues throughout the US rural heartland and discusses programs and strategies that address rural skills gaps at the federal and local levels.

Labor Pool vs. Talent Pool: Gathering Industrial Skill Requirements in Rural Area
February 12, 2015 (1:00 PM - CT / 2:00 PM- ET)
Presented by: Myra Wilson & Frank Gibson (The Ohio State University Alber Enterprise Center)

Summary: Closing the skills gap in rural areas takes an understanding of the dramatic changes occurring in manufacturing today. Unskilled laborers with no to little training are facing more sophisticated factory environments where robots perform routine, manual labor.  Employers require semi- and high-skilled technicians who can repair, install, and program the automated equipment, but that talent pool is sparse. The dilemma for training and education professionals is to convert the labor pool into the talent pool to meet the immediate needs of workers and employers. This webinar will explain the talent pool funnel and describe the steps the Alber Enterprise Center is taking to gather workforce data from employers through a collaboration with rural economic development offices, manufacturers, and educational institutions.