Vital Connections On Air

U of M Extension Center for Community Vitality

About

Vital Connections On Air is a podcast from University of Minnesota Extension's Center for Community Vitality that explores the trends and topics important to communities and their leaders. You will hear new research and insights from University of Minnesota and University Minnesota Extension professionals as well as great stories from local communities and organizations.

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34 episodes

Advancing women’s leadership in rural Minnesota

Even as more women step into leadership roles, much work remains to reach true gender equity in workplaces, local government bodies, and other community spaces. In this episode of Vital Connections On Air, we talk to Teresa Kittridge, founder of 100 Rural Women. Listen as she shares the work she's doing to amplify women’s voices and support their leadership journey.

34m
Aug 25
Tourism and its impact on communities

The tourism industry can be a critical catalyst to help communities develop economically and demographically. While the impact of COVID-19 will linger for years to come, businesses and community organizations across Minnesota have proven resilient in the face of fluctuating demand, workforce shortages, climate changes, and other issues. During this conversation, our panelists discuss examples of how they have responded to these challenges and much more.

45m
Aug 18
Special Episode 07: Festivals and events during a pandemic

Festivals and events around the state and country have seen many changes in 2020.  Whether it is canceling a community festival or creating a virtual event there are many challenges for organizers.  Xinyi (Lisa) Qian discusses what organizers and community members can do to weather the storm. In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.  

18m
Oct 29, 2020
Special Episode 06: Minnesota tourism during the pandemic

The tourism industry has been impacted by the pandemic.  Today we hear from Xinyi (Lisa) Qian from the University of Minnesota Extension Tourism Center on the state of Minnesota’s tourism sector and how they are looking towards recovery. In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.  

19m
Oct 22, 2020
Special Episode 05: Exploring emotions during a pandemic

As we transition to more social lives and face some of the losses of pattern and routine we may be dealing with new emotions. Join in my conversation with Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme as we discuss change, emotional agility, and strategies to help us overcome the overwhelm.  In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.  

14m
Jul 15, 2020
Special Episode 04: Focusing on what you can choose

It is common to hear from people that they are feeling overwhelmed as we face the issues that are in front of us.  Join in my conversation with Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme as we discuss why we continue to experience these feelings and how we can find ways to calm our minds. In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.      

14m
Jul 10, 2020
Special Episode 03: Impacts on Retail

Covid-19 has impacted businesses differently.  Some are flourishing during this time and others are trying to figure out how they will keep the doors open.  These challenges also look different for new business owners compared to those who were thinking about retirement.  Join a conversation with Brigid Tuck and Neil Linscheid as they discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on retail and the implications for business succession. In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.  

15m
Jun 17, 2020
Special Episode 02: Navigating Change

Our world is constantly changing; now more than ever before.  Community leaders are being forced to not only navigate their own responses to change but also identify strategies to help those around them.  Jody Horntvedt and Toby Spanier reflect on the assumptions and stages of change and also discuss strategies for leaders to help themselves and their communities. In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.  

21m
Jun 12, 2020
Special Episode 01: Economists on the Economy

Today, the dial is moving; businesses are opening.  What do communities do to support business now?  Look deeper to figure out who's affected.  Double down on supporting local businesses.  Be reliable customers.  Join our conversation with Brigid Tuck and Neil Linscheid as they share these thoughts and more. In this special series we are looking back on webinars and articles shared early during the pandemic and how that information needs to shift for our current reality.  

18m
Jun 04, 2020
Episode 25: Rural-Urban Workforce Opportunities

Minnesota has a problem that doesn’t exist in many states; a diverse economy that has grown during challenging times.  This economy requires workers in both rural and urban areas. Kelly Asche, Research Associate with the Center for Rural Policy Development joins us to discuss the current challenges and opportunities that exist in the area of workforce across the state.

35m
Mar 26, 2020
Episode 24: Rural-Urban Economic Interdependencies

Many people assume that the economies of rural and urban communities look very different.  Surprisingly, there are many similarities. Brigid Tuck joins us to discuss what economics look like in both rural and urban Minnesota, and how they actually support each others’ success.

25m
Nov 21, 2019
Episode 23: REM for REV

Evaluation doesn’t have to be a  paper survey. In this episode Scott Chazdon and Pam Bishop share how Ripple Effects Mapping has allowed Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures evaluate their efforts in a unique way and better understand their communities along the way.   Guests: Scott Chazdon, Evaluation Specialist, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

32m
Sep 26, 2019
Episode 22: REVing for Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is not a new concept, but it’s a piece of economic development that is often overlooked.  In this episode, Don Macke and Pam Bishop describe how the Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities Framework is being used with six southern Minnesota communities involved in the Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures program.     Guests: Don Macke, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

34m
Jul 11, 2019
Episode 21: Conversations Change Campbell

Bringing your community together for conversations can be an intimidating task.  DeAnn Loll and Shana Klindt, members of the community of Campbell, share their experience leading four conversations in their community.  Hear how they led their community through a series of conversations that led to big change; both in community appearance and community pride.

31m
Apr 04, 2019
Episode 20: Community Conversations

People are looking for ways to come together.  Many times, one of the best ways to get people together and talking is around an issue or idea to better a community.  Jody Horntvedt, leadership and civic engagement educator for University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality joins us to talk about strategies to start and support healthy conversations in your community.

38m
Nov 15, 2018
Episode 19: Engaged in Nature

Involved citizens are not always those that are running for office; sometimes they are hunting out invasive weeds.  That is the case for Dana Boyle, Stephanie Wong, and John Woodworth who have used their common bond of caring about the Tamarack Nature Preserve.  Hear their story of engaging public entities and other citizens to protect and promote this hidden gem located in Woodbury, MN.   Guests: Dana Boyle Stephanie Wong John Woodworth

45m
Oct 18, 2018
Episode 18: Civic Engagement 101

Civic engagement is a phrase that we hear from time to time, but what does it really mean?  Lisa Hinz and Beth Kallestad, Extension educators with University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality discuss the meaning of civic engagement, best practices in working with others, and resources to help you become involved.   Guests: Lisa Hinz, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement Beth Kallestad, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement

42m
Oct 04, 2018
Episode 17: Key Workforce Issues

University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality hosted a workforce symposium to bring together researchers and practitioners across Extension and the University.  This symposium encouraged those in attendance to explore the topic of workforce and consider how we might come together to better learn about and serve the people of Minnesota. In this episode you will hear from a variety of speakers who shared insights on specific issues that are directly impacting Minnesota’s workforce.   Guests: Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Davis, Professor, Department of Applied Economics Dr. Yingling Fan, Associate Professor, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Dr. Jennifer Schultz, Co-directory, health Care Management Program and Professor of Economics, Labovitz School of Business and Economics Dr. Ann Ziebarth, Professor, Housing Studies    

39m
Sep 19, 2018
Episode 16: Workforce Wrap Up - It's the people

University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality hosted a workforce symposium to bring together researchers and practitioners across Extension and the University.  This symposium encouraged those in attendance to explore the topic of workforce and consider how we might come together to better learn about and serve the people of Minnesota. In this episode you will hear from a variety of speakers who shared insights on the people being impacted by our current workforce issues and how to better prepare and help them in making vibrant economies around the state.   Links from this episode: University of Minnesota’s Extension Center for Community Vitality http://www.extension.umn.edu/community/ is your go-to resource for help in your community work. Find out more about the University of Minnesota Workforce Research Symposium http://z.umn.edu/workforcesymposium

51m
Aug 24, 2018
Episode 15: Making Business Succession Planning Successful

The idea of business succession planning can create a sense of fear for business owners and communities.  Sharing of resources and building supportive relationships can help calm those fears and encourage success.  Cathy Enerson, Community and Business Development Specialist and Economic Development Director, joins us for this episode to discuss how the community of Spring Valley, Minnesota worked together to create a program to help business owners look towards the future.

29m
Apr 26, 2018
Episode 14: Understanding Rural Business Succession

Selling a business is not the same as selling a house.  There are a unique set of factors that owners, potential buyers, and communities must consider as small businesses change hands.  Liz Templin, Extension educator in community economics, discusses how business owners and buyers can prepare for this transition and how communities can help.

39m
Apr 19, 2018
Episode 13: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Our business community is on the front line of addressing workforce issues.  This includes working to create welcoming environments for newcomers, tapping into under utilized pockets of workers in our state, and addressing issues at a political level to help all Minnesotans.  Bill Blazar, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Business Development, from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce joins us for this episode to explore what is happening to Minnesota’s business community and how they are working to support immigrants and immigration policy.

43m
Mar 22, 2018
Episode 12: Minnesota's Changing Workforce

Minnesota’s workforce is changing.  Our workers are aging and new workers are often newcomers, not just to our community but to our country.  Ryan Allen, Associate Professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, joins us for this episode to discuss the impact of immigrants on Minnesota’s workforce and what it means for our future.

38m
Feb 28, 2018
Episode 11: Glenwood Studies Housing

Workforce housing is at a premium in many communities throughout Minnesota.  It is crucial for communities to have quality workforce housing to recruit new community members and retain those who are already there.  In today’s episode we learn about the housing study conducted in Glenwood, Minnesota and how understanding the needs of the individuals working in the area played an important role in planning this community’s future.

39m
Jan 30, 2018
Episode 10: Working to Address the Childcare Shortage

Communities are getting creative in how they work to understand and address childcare shortages.  Greg Wagner from the West Central Initiative shares steps they are taking to increase childcare capacity in communities.  Through the use of their Forgivable Childcare Loan Fund, home-based childcare providers in West Central Minnesota are able to start or improve a childcare business to help communities remain vibrant.   Links from this episode: University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality http://www.extension.umn.edu/community/ is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. The West Central Initiative works to share resources to improve west central Minnesota through various programs and events. Learn more about the Initiative Foundation http://www.greaterminnesota.net/ in your area and they work they are doing to strengthen communities.

31m
Jan 04, 2018
Episode 9: Minnesota's Childcare Crisis

Minnesota is experiencing a childcare crisis and it directly impacts our workforce.  Marnie Werner, Director of Research for the Center for Rural Policy and Development, joins us for this episode to better understand the issue and how it varies across the state.  She shares insights from research she led on the topic for the Center.   “There is a shortage of childcare providers in all parts of the state.  The solutions to it are going to be different because of demographics, economics, and population density.”   “[In the last 30 years] we found that the number of people providing in home childcare has been on the downslide and in the last 10 years it has been going down quite a bit.”   “In the Twin Cities the issue is really getting affordable daycare.  Outside the Twin Cities the issues is getting any kind of daycare.”   “This isn’t just a personal family issue you know where the parents are just going to have to figures this out.  Communities are really starting to come together and thinking about how can we work at this at a larger scale to figure out solutions to this. “   People will “interview for a job and if there isn’t childcare in that community they will move on and the employer is stuck looking for someone else.”   “A lot of providers are getting out of the business because they can’t make money at it.”   “Childcare has always been a family issue.  A personal issue.  So I think it remained largely invisible and under the radar because families were trying to figure it out themselves and it is only now where it is really interfering with business and employers and communities that it is really starting to be talked about.”   “A thing that may have kept childcare under the radar is that I think a lot of parents think ‘okay we only have to figure this out for five years and then our kids will be in kindergarten so once the kids enter kindergarten then they don’t really have to worry about it as much anymore and it's not as much of an issue and so it's more of a temporary thing.”   Links from this episode: University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality http://www.extension.umn.edu/community/ is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. The Center for Rural Policy and Development https://www.ruralmn.org/ provides articles, recordings, and research on a variety of topics important to understanding issues in greater Minnesota. Read the report as well as the recent update to their report to learn more about this issue. See if you live in a childcare desert in this map https://childcaredeserts.org/?state=MN from the Center for American Progress.   Other research on the issue of childcare: Legislative Task Force on Access to Affordable Child Care (January 2017) Greater Minnesota's Child Care Center Wage & Rate Survey Results (Minnesota Initiative Foundations, March 2017) Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, June 2017) Kids Can’t Wait: 2017 Legislative Agenda (Children’s Defense Fund, January 2017) It’s time for an ambitious national investment in America’s children (Economic Policy Institute, April 2016) United Way of NE Minnesota Child Care Study Results

33m
Dec 14, 2017
Episode 8: Manufacturing in Minnesota

We continue exploring Minnesota’s economy and its workforce in this episode as we meet Bob Kill, President and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota.  Enterprise Minnesota is a consulting organization that helps manufacturing companies become efficient and helps them to grow.  Their team of thirty-four individuals provides services throughout the state that help clients save time and energy, improve productivity, increase sales, improve profits, as well as create and retain jobs.  Bob talks with us about the work that Enterprise Minnesota is doing as well as the results of their 2017 State of Manufacturing Survey where workforce issues tripled in importance to manufacturers across Minnesota. Links from this episode: University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality http://www.extension.umn.edu/community/ is your go to place for information to help you in your community work. Enterprise Minnesota http://www.enterpriseminnesota.org/ offers many resources for manufacturers across Minnesota as well as those interested in learning about this important industry. Read more about the 2017 State of Manufacturing survey in the September issue of Enterprise Minnesota Magazine.

35m
Nov 22, 2017
Episode 7: Make It Litchfield Update

In this episode we catch up with Judy Hulterstrom and David Krueger who are part of the Make It Litchfield program and hear about their next steps.  This episode is a follow up to Episode 2: Make It Litchfield.  

21m
Nov 09, 2017
Episode 6: Minnesota's Workforce

There are challenges with Minnesota’s workforce.  We hear about them every day.  Baby boomers are retiring.  The workforce is shrinking.  Immigrants add workers, but there is no clear path to an effective immigration policy.  There are mismatches between where the jobs are and where the people are.  The good news is that these challenges have brought out one of Minnesota’s greatest strengths, ingenuity.  Laura Kalambokidis, Extension Economist and Minnesota State Economist, is back as we finish our discussion about workforce challenges, and opportunities in Minnesota.

25m
Sep 28, 2017
Episode 5: Minnesota's Economy 101

Laura Kalmbokidis, Ph. D., is an Extension Economist, Professor of Applied Economics at University of Minnesota, and Minnesota’s State Economist.  She joins us for this episode of Vital Connections on Air to help us learn more about Minnesota’s global economy.  She shares that our economy continues to grow and is supported by a strong and dedicated workforce.  She also gives us insight into things happening in our economy that are creating challenges for employers and communities around the state.

35m
Sep 14, 2017