How do we achieve excellence? We stop what we are doing, stand back, and assess efforts. At this point we are better able to recognize special accomplishments.
Raymond A. Schindler
The Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award is named in honor of Raymond A. Schindler, one of the first Extension CD professionals in Ohio. Hired in 1962 as an Area Extension Agent, Ray began his career in southern Ohio, based in Highland County. He took a collaborative approach to his work, focusing on tourism development, comprehensive planning, planning commissions, and business retention and expansion programs until his retirement in 1988.
Today, we recognize Extension CD professionals with The Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award. The annual award seeks to recognize:
long term strengths in teaching and research
a long-standing record of teamwork and collaboration in program planning, implementation and evaluation
a successful track record in grant awards, cost recovery, or other external funding
Just last week (January 24), we recognized Susan Colbert with the Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award for her ability to develop and deliver multidisciplinary, evidence-based programs in collaboration with colleagues, stakeholders, private industry and state and federal funding partners that empower others to affect positive change. Since joining Ohio State University Extension in 1998, she has truly demonstrated a record of excellence in creative and scholarly work, teaching and service to community and profession.
Click here to learn more about Susan and her work.
Greg Davis, professor and assistant director, OSU Extension CD.
The content of this site is published by the site owner(s) and is not a statement of advice, opinion, or information pertaining to The Ohio State University. Neither text, nor links to other websites, is reviewed or endorsed by The Ohio State University.
Technology is changing the American workforce and workplace. The workforce is becoming more diverse, demanding multidisciplinary job skills, necessitating continuous learning, higher levels of collaborative work, and greater reliance on technology. The organization of work is adapting and promoting towards a highly educated workforce whose work products are complex problem solving and solution driven rather than traditional service delivery or product manufacturing. With these changes, workers are experiencing greater psychological demands in addition to demands for higher levels of productivity.[i] To combat these dueling demands, Extension programming is focusing on a healthy body and mind working together; the two systems work and support each other’s success.
“To succeed in a work environment of rapid change requires workers to be mentally and physically prepared, adaptable, and resilient—in a word, healthy.” – Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
My Extension programming in Pickaway County is STEM driven,[ii] and as an Extension educator, I experience first-hand the demands of continuous learning. In order to teach effectively, educators must continue to learn; the more educators can learn and adapt, the more they can teach and innovate their Extension programming. In addition, applying more technology is critical to the learning and teaching process. Continuous learning is foundational to developing robust STEM programming that requires working across program areas and disciplines to develop healthy minds in active problem-based learning. This type of programming also requires more connections to real-world problems, employers, authentic situations, and solution seeking designs. One example is “design thinking” processes, which are vital to the incoming workforce mode of operating.
It takes more than one subject, field, or skill to solve real-world problems. Embracing a tech driven lifelong learning approach is becoming the new norm, but only while ensuring that the body and mind are working together. A healthy active mind requires a healthy active body to carry it; again, the two systems work and support each other.
Photographed by Meghan Thoreau. FCS Extension educators and SNAP-Ed program assistants experiencing the PhysBot Wearable Technology at the 2018 FCS Conference: Building Well Connected Communities.[iii]
BODY AND MIND TECH PROGRAMS
Educator Focused PhysBot Challenges. This fall at the 2018 Annual FCS Conference: Building Well Connected Communities, I led a hands-on health tech session with the support of Patty House, educator, Ohio 4-H youth development (4-H), and Bob Horton, STEM specialist, 4-H; (presentation link). We interpreted the conference theme with a STEM undercurrent, connecting communities through applied technology. We engaged both FCS Extension educators and SNAP-Ed program assistants from across the state in wearable technology and the importance of maintaining active lifestyles, by exploring the PhysBot Data Tracker, a wearable device that tracks your body movements and health data – inspiring healthy minds at work. The PhysBot technology was developed through an Ohio-based partnership between Ohio 4-H youth development, Big Kitty Labs, and Tiny Circuits. The PhysBot kits are accessible, affordable, and include the following components:
Youth Focus PhysBot Challenges. This winter I also developed a Body and Mind STEM Program for Teays Valley School District’s afterschool STEM Club for elementary students. The body and brain need a mix of activity and mind challenges to stay fit and productive. Teens need at least 60-minutes of activity every day, where adults can get away with 150 minutes/week![iv] Wearable technology is growing and becoming a popularized accessory for all ages. It’s estimated that in 2019 almost 90-million people in the U.S. will be wearing some form of wearable technology.[v]
Photographed by Meghan Thoreau. Elementary students participating in STEM Club’s Body and Mind Challenges.[vi]
The PhysBot breaks down wearable technology and allows youth to see and understand all the working components. The students learned how to calculate their resting heartbeats by hand. Then they put on their individual PhysBot to compare their heartbeats per minute (BPM) through an LED pulse sensor. Finally, the students were led to engage in different physical fitness challenges while monitoring their hearts’ BPMs. Participants could also download their data to a computer by downloading free PhysBot software to continue investigating their physical activity results. Below is a short video highlighting the youths’ PhysBot challenges:
Produced by Meghan Thoreau. Elementary students participating in
STEM Club’s PhysBot Wearable Tech and Fitness Challenges.
The young STEMists[vii] learned that physical fitness matters, but they were also later challenged with strategic mind workouts to emphasize the importance of the body and mind working together!
“When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right.”
International Strategic Board Game Challenges. Coming up with strategies and tactics to solve challenges and problems requires the 21st Century Skillset. November’s STEM Club programming focused on discovering new ways to plot winning strategies. These strategy activities can foster more strategic thinking skills in general that can help with real-life scenarios. Practicing strategizing skills is important, and exposing youth to international strategic board games is a means to continue playing and learning. The more these types of games are played, the better students will be at coming up with winning strategies and making smart decisions for a lifetime. The games played came from around the world: Chess (India), Five Field Kono (Korea), Backgammon (the Middle East), Fox and Geese (Northern Europe), and Mū Tōrere (New Zealand).
WHY ARE STRATEGY GAMES SO IMPORTANT?
Strategy games are great for learning life skills, such as patience, self-control, and thinking critically. These types of games teach emotional competence and help people learn to control their impulses; not to make a decision immediately, but rather wait for a better, more effective opportunity to present itself and act on. This mode of thinking can also help weigh through some of the psychological demands found in today’s workplace.
Strategic games help people learn to evaluateother factors at play. Players realizing that their next decision may actually cause more problems for them or may potentially lead to a strategic advantage for either them or their opponent. Strategy games also help set and maintain goals which then require many avenues of thought, and decisions have to be sorted through to remain on the goal centered path. People start thinking of the next move, but in reality, they are looking further ahead, thinking how their next move will lead to their next decision. It is that skill of anticipating the counter move that leads to making smart decisions in life. These games teach people, especially youth, to make decisions after identifying the alternatives available to them and anticipating the possible consequences. And that is the basis to critical thinking. Here is a short video highlighting the strategic game challenges:
Produced by Meghan Thoreau. Elementary students participating in
STEM International Strategic Board Game Challenges.
The timing of the strategic game portion of the program could not have been more perfectly unplanned, because the 2018 World Chess Championship was going on simultaneously and making international headlines both in print and on the radio. Fabiano Caruana v. Magnus Carlsen – Carlsen became World Champion in 2013 by defeating Viswanathan Anand. In the following year, he retained his title against Anand, and won both the 2014 World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship, thus becoming the first player to simultaneously hold all three titles. He defended his main world title against Sergey Karjakin in 2016. Stories were being published like, The Magnus Effect: Norway Falls Hard for Chess, How Magnus Carlsen is Making Chess Cool and Wearing his Rivals Down, Chess on the Rise in Primary Schools, or Fabiano Caruana – the American Helping Make Chess Cool. It is important to note that Caruana is an American. The last time an American won the World Chess Championship was back in 1972 by Bobby Fischer! Ultimately, Carlsen retained his title and was victorious over Caruana, but the ripple effects of their chess matches excited the world into learning and playing more chess!
A healthy worker is one who realizes that the body and mind are a working system that internally promotes a healthy worker and workforce, and advocates for a healthier community and world at large. Technology in the workplace does not lessen the need for maintaining a healthy body and mind. Healthy workers have greater stamina to live and work in America’s changing workforce.
Youth Sport Trust, Working. 2016. Active Healthy Minds. 2016 Youth Sport Trust Conference Presentation.[viii]
[ii] STEM, an acronym of disciplines, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but do not get caught up on representing the correct combination; e.g. F-STEM, STEAM, STREAM, STEA2M, that becomes distracting and irrelevant to what the meaning represents. Think of STEM has a verb, stem, stemming together a multitude of any applicable disciplines to collaborating and solving the problems at hand. Solutions are derived from a blend of subjects, such as, philosophy, politics, culture, science, language, emotions, biology, the environment, anthropology, geology, etc.
[iii]Thoreau, M. October 2018. PhysBot: Tech FCS Workout Challenges. 2018 FCS Conference: Building Well Connected Communities. Marriott Airport, Columbus, Ohio.
[vi]Thoreau, M. November 2018. PhysBot: STEM Club Body and Mind Challenges. Teays Valley School District STEM Club. Retrieved from: https://u.osu.edu/tvstemclub/2018/12/13/physbot-fitness-and-strategic-board-game-challenges/
[vii] Team Groovy created the definition of the word “STEMist” because children are natural engineers and had to have a title to support their multidisciplinary applied curiosity.
Meghan Thoreau, educator, community development (CD), Ohio State University Extension-Pickaway County.
The content of this site is published by the site owner(s) and is not a statement of advice, opinion, or information pertaining to The Ohio State University. Neither text, nor links to other websites, is reviewed or endorsed by The Ohio State University.
The economy is humming. You may have heard recently in the news, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the addition of 250,000 new jobs in October, topping the 118,000 jobs created in September. More likely, you have seen the “help wanted” and “now hiring” signs posted in your community and throughout your travels.
Even better, the Labor Department reported that average hourly earnings increased again in October, from 2.8 percent in September and to 3.1 percent on the year. This is the largest quarterly wage gain in ten years.
David Civittolo and Eric Romich discuss the Business Retention & Expansion program as a community economics tool
Serving as a model for the world, the U.S. economic system was the subject of study during a recent three-week, multi-state visit coordinated by the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) program. The SABIT program builds partnerships and provides technical assistance through training Eurasian business leaders in U.S. business practices.
The SABIT visit involved a 19-member delegation from many of the former Soviet bloc countries such as: Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. The individuals represented academic institutions, regional/state/local governments, and national business associations (e.g. ‘chambers of commerce’).
As part of the SABIT program, Ohio State University Extension CD professionals were invited to share more about the ways Extension partners with communities, agencies, and organizations in pursuit of local and regional strategies for economic development. The delegates were particularly interested in learning more about our role in:
Cultivating and facilitating regional collaboration and partnership frameworks (e.g. advisory/planning committee approach)
Identifying and supporting industry clusters
Community and organizational strategic planning
Business incubators, and
Building capacity of elected officials
Myra Wilson and Eric Romich discuss Extension’s involvement in workforce development
Working through interpreters, we discussed the land-grant system, Extension, and shared recent examples of how we engage others through the application of a wide variety of community economics programs and tools. After spending a couple of hours together, they were particularly interested in learning more about how they could strengthen their partnerships with academic institutions to inform research, teaching, and engagement efforts.
Despite the language barrier, there were many questions and the discussion was lively. Some of the delegates even inquired about returning to the U.S. to study and learn more. Others were eager to extend invitations to visit them in their home countries. Collaboration truly knows no boundaries!
In short, no matter where you are, we serve to partner with you and your community to share, learn, and identify ways to strengthen the local and regional economy.
You can learn the numerous ways we might work with you throughout these blog pages. To better understand the range of what is possible, take a look at the ‘Tags’ which highlight the content found here and feel free to contact the post’s author for more info. Or contact me directly at email@example.com or 614-292-5942.
Greg Davis is a Professor and Assistant Director, OSU Extension – Community Development.
Since the turn of the century there has been increasing attention on K-12 education systems and improving the quality of curricula and authentic learning experiences for students entering the 21st century workforce. There is greater emphasis on elevating fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in response to workforce demands that are requiring a more tech savvy multidisciplinary skillset.[i] For this reason, numerous new learning approaches, curricula, programs, community partnerships, and specialized schools are emerging.[ii] While most of these initiatives address one or more of the STEM subjects separately, there are increasing calls for emphasizing connections between and among the subjects, as well as bringing real world problems into the classroom through business and industry partnerships with educators. STEM is rapidly transcending into a verb, describing inclusionary critical thinking skills to solving everyday real world problems facing our communities and socioeconomics.
APPLIED SKILLSETS & LIFELONG LEARNING
Education advocates and academic researchers find that a more integrated, problem-based, hands-on learning approach is vital to the K-12 education.[iii] This is because it gives students applied skillsets that today’s workforce requires. These advocates find educational impacts increase when K-12 educators involve solving real world problems. The education impacts are furthering impacts when the educators include business and industry partnerships that support the problem-based learning approach. These authentic partnered learning approaches make STEM subjects more relevant to students, teachers, and program participates. [iv],[v] This in turn can boost motivation in the learning process and improve students’ interest, achievement, and persistence in schooling and become lifelong learners. Being and remaining a lifelong learner is critical for success in the 21st century. These outcomes, STEM advocates are asserting, will help address calls for greater workplace and college readiness as well as increasing the number of students considering STEM careers; where currently 40% of STEM jobs go unfilled due to applicants not having the required skillsets.[vi] Extension can be a solution to closing the 21st century skillset deficit and connecting our youth to STEM skillsets and career pathways.
“Lifelong learning is an essential challenge for inventing the future of our societies; it is a necessity rather than a luxury to be considered … It is a mindset and a habit for people (student, educator, or the worker) to acquire. It creates the challenge to understand, explore, and support new essential dimensions of learning such as: (1) self-directed learning, (2) learning on demand, (3) informal learning, and (4) collaborative and organizational learning. Lifelong learning requires progress and an integration of new theories, innovative systems, practices, and assessment.”
-Gerhard Fischer, Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design of the University of Colorado
For over a year and a half, my particular Extension programmatic focus has been on preparing Pickaway County youth for STEM education and the 21st century workforce. I work collaboratively with a team of Extension professionals, volunteers, campus collaborators, and community partners to provide leadership for the development, production, and evaluation of educational programs and applied research to foster STEM educational opportunities that increase career attainment in STEM fields. More specifically, I work to provide leadership and programming to meet current and future needs related to K-12 STEM education with Pickaway County schools. I work in conjunction with the Pickaway County Educational Service Center, Pickaway HELPS, Pickaway WORKS, school district curriculum directors, K-12 teachers, business leaders, economic development organizations, local business and industry, and the Ohio State University collaborators.
Figure 1: NACDEP 2018 presentation clip highlighting the workshop agenda, “21st Century Workforce: skillsets & Growth Mindset for Educators to Target.” Retrieved from: go.osu.edu/NACDEPcodeworkshop.
This spring I took my STEM programming on the road to the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals in Cleveland, OH to present on the 21st century workforce, the applied skillsets required, and a hands-on coding challenge to educators across the country. Coding literacy is a 21st century requirement, which gives us a skillset to participate in the digital world. We should not just learn how to use computers and technology, we should develop applied programming that inspires and builds confidence for our communities and youth participates to learn to program computers – to be drivers in the digital world, not passengers. If this is something that interests you, visit the resource links below and start learning.
Video: video highlights OSU Extension Sphero Coding Programs. The first clip, was filmed by Brooke Beam, OSU Extension Educator. Brooke recorded Extension Educators from across the country engaging in Sphero coding challenges at the 2018 NACDEP Conference in Cleveland, OH. The following videos and photos were recorded or taken by Meghan Thoreau. All iPads and Spheros came from Apple Education. The music is by Stromae, Tous les Mêmes.
The video highlights Sphero (one connected education toy I include in my coding programs), but there are dozens of connected toys for educators to choose from. For example, the educational Parrot Drones can be programmed through code and is a great tool for educators looking to innovative their youth and adult Extension programs. Knowledge in drone technology is an example of how technology impacts the future of work. UPS is actively testing residential drone delivery, where a traditional delivery driver will soon have to add programming a drone to their daily tasks. Electric vehicle maker Workhorse Group (based in Columbus, OH) is working with delivery companies in actual use. Domino’s is currently delivering pizza via ground drones in Europe and New Zealand with more cities scheduled to go online in the very near future. Amazon, the e-commerce giant, tested its first drone deliveries in the U.K. in 2016.
But back to basic entry level coding. Connected toys, robotics, gaming, all make code interactive and fun learning, but it is also a critical skillset to today’s workforce. Instilling the importance of lifelong learning extends from the educators to their students, but it must also be from the employers to their workforce so that we may all support and incorporate more technology into curriculum, programming, outreach, and work itself. The shift to applied programming is central for Extension being a solution to closing the skillset deficit and connecting our youth to STEM career pathways through hands-on connected learning that is developed around real-world problem solving.
I have personally watched and listened to my youth participants, and they have become more curious, focused, and engaged in a STEM education and problem solving. The hands-on programming excites them beyond the program itself or their classroom. For example, after teaching a two-day computer science program with four elementary school buildings I returned the following month to be bombarded by students who wanted to share all the coding challenges they tried at home with me. The students engaged in self-directed learning. Extension provided the students and parents with a coding factsheet that highlighted several online sites that offer self-directed code challenges to get kids coding. Several even returned after winter break with their own Spheros. I witnessed a switch – the students did not just want to get a new game to play, they wanted a connected toy to code and write programs for themselves.
DRIVE YOUR PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
Educators: how many times have you altered or borrowed a lesson plan for your Extension programming? You understood the language and changed what was necessary to make the lesson applicable to your program’s objective. Code has languages too, and in order to remain relevant and impactful to your communities, you may have to gain some basic coding skills to alter or borrow technology to implement it into your Extension programming, not to mention instill a very important 21st century skillset into your participates’ mindsets – the ability to code, to create, and to problem solve.[vii]
You do not have to be a computer science expert. Your goal can be to just teach enough of the basics to inspire our youth and program participates to explore the multitude of self-directed learning platforms that teach code and connect them to career opportunities that computer science underlays. Code is everywhere: agriculture, sports, education, art/design, pharmaceutics, robotics, health, entertainment, travel, law, politics, engineering, transportation, meteorology, tourism – you get the point. No youth or 21st Century Workforce Development Program should be absent of code or technology.[viii]
OSU DIGITAL FLAGSHIP INITIATIVE
There are exciting advances happening at The Ohio State University campuses, but by far I’m most interested in the OSU Digital Flagship Initiative taking off this fall. To learn more details about this initiative visit, digitalflagship.osu.edu/, but the highlights are as follows:
Figure 2: presentation slide that highlights the new OSU Digital Flagship Initiative.
I’m actively working with a team of Ohio State professionals to support Extension’s consideration in this exciting initiative and hopefully rally interest in organizing an Extension Digital Flagship Educators Cohort to bring the digital impacts of this initiative statewide through employing innovative technology, curriculum, and coding resources more comprehensively within our OSU Extension programs and outreach.
Adopt a growth mindset. This approach helps educators continue learning and problem solving through challenges. It is important for educators to fight through lifelong learning and remain a driver in the digital age, not a user. Be creative, curious, and adaptive.
A person learns best on the job. Therefore, bring real world problems and technology to your programs. Educators embrace technology and lifelong learning, look to community partners, and business and industry leaders to engage in the K-12 learning experience.
STEM matters. Technology matters. Both are essential to the 21st century teaching and learning programs. K-12 Education requires over-lapping STEM technology with real world problems and partnering with educators, business, and industry to close the 21st century skillset deficit. Educators must be knowledgeable about technology, be critical thinkers, and problem-solvers to prepare our youth for the real and ever-evolving workforce.
With rapidly changing advances in technology and automation, the nature of work is rapidly changing too. How will these changes impact jobs and the communities in which we live (and serve)?
As an example, Amazon’s recent move to purchase Whole Foods made headlines not only because the merger will impact how people shop for food, but also how people shop in general. With goals for increased efficiency, convenience, and personalized experiences, such business models stand to significantly impact traditional workforce and community development models. Given such challenges, how might we go about changing the way we partner with individuals, organizations, businesses and communities to secure and strengthen community vitality?
Or consider this: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58.7 percent of all wage and salary workers (or 79.9 million workers) age 16 and older in the US were paid at hourly rates. How will this workforce be affected by new automated technologies, especially those paid an hourly minimum wage? How will an increased use of automated technologies drive pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, over 40 percent of STEM-related jobs go unfilled due to an unqualified applicant pool in the United States.
Extension professionals work “to create opportunities for people to explore how science-based knowledge can improve social, economic, and environmental conditions.” (OSU Extension, 2017). There is little doubt that the nature of work is changing and what the workforce of tomorrow wants in the way of work is changing too. We are facing some significant challenges… Who is ready to get to work?
Meghan Thoreau is a County Extension Educator (Pickaway County and Heart of Ohio EERA).
Leadership! It is a basic fundamental need for any organization to perform at its best. And whether you want to learn more about public service or have thought about becoming more involved in your community, participating in a formal leadership development program may be helpful.
OSU Extension has been involved in such programs for over half a century and recent research shows such programs make a difference. Currently, OSU Extension Clermont County is working to address the needs of local elected officials and appointees of local government committees, zoning and planning commissions, school boards or task forces. The Clermont County Organizational Leadership Academy (CCOLA) includes eight, weekly two-hour workshops involving foundational principles of organizational leadership and decision-making tools enabling participants to learn more about their leadership style and those of others. It also provides opportunities to explore effective strategies for team-building, conducting effective meetings, communicating with citizens and media, managing conflict and building sustainable communities.
The components of the CCOLA can also be customized to fit a specific organization for hands-on training. The workshops below are available on single-session basis in addition to the multi-session Academy format. The sessions are:
Public Officials and Public Service:Build a framework for improving your tenure and service in public office. Topics include Duties and Responsibilities of Public Officials, Codes of Ethics, Standards of Conduct, Conflict of Interest, and Open Meetings Laws/Executive Sessions.
Team Building: Explore the principles for building effective working relationships with others, with organizations or local governments. Learn more about these relationships with Real Colors ®.
Conducting Effective Meetings and Decision Making:The goal for every public official is to “make good decisions.” What is a good decision? How do we make them? Learn the most effective techniques to conducting effective meetings as well as decision-making processes.
Communicating and Working with Citizens and the Media:How can you develop positive and effective working relationships with all community residents, as well as with media representatives? Polish your skills for building effective relationships, while engaging community residents and improving media relations.
Building Sustainable Communities: Explore the relationships between growth, development, environment, ecology, social structures and the civic culture. Learn how to build sustainable communities in the areas you serve.
Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution:Learn how to work through difficult situations by developing conflict and dispute resolution skills needed to create strong, lasting collaborations.
Leadership Skills and Styles:Do you know your leadership style? Do you know that understanding leadership styles and types can help improve interpersonal relationships and the effectiveness of your organization(s)? Gain skills to improve the operations and effectiveness of your governing body and your personal decision-making.
Intergovernmental Relations: Opportunities and Challenges for Cooperation: Explore Ohio law pertaining to opportunities and limitations for intergovernmental agreements and cooperative arrangements. Invest in opportunities to cooperate with others.
For more information about the Clermont County Organizational Leadership Academy or how to register, go to OSU Extension – Clermont County, go.osu.edu/ccola, or contact me using the information below. How are you making your organization or your community better?
For further information, contact Trevor Corboy, Clermont County Community Development Program Coordinator, at 513-732-7070 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you help support an organization which aims to transform lives through education, job training, and local job growth through entrepreneurship development? If it is the Reeb Avenue Center in the south side of Columbus, you meet up with a colleague for lunch in their South Side Roots Café and Market.
The Center was once the Reeb Elementary School (circa 1904). The school served the South Side neighborhood comprised of immigrants from central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and Appalachia, many of whom worked in the area’s steel and glass industries. After experiencing the post-war boom period in the 1950s-60s, the neighborhood began a slow and steady economic decline.
Over the past year, the Reeb Elementary School has been transformed into the Reeb Avenue Center; a hub for new investments in social, cultural, human, and built capital. Today, the school houses offices for over a dozen different non-profit agencies such as Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus, Godman Guild, and Mid-Ohio Foodbank. One of the building’s former classrooms serves as a satellite location for the Franklin County Extension team as well. Together, these Reeb Center partners having been working to build a prosperous and sustainable south side community.
Part of the center also serves as a gathering place for community members to join others in a meal and purchase fresh produce. The South Side Roots Café (run by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank) is located on the ground level in the area that formerly housed the school kitchen and cafeteria. Combined with a variety of seating options, reading materials, and local art, it makes an ideal venue for building community with others as a patron or volunteer. In addition to daily lunches, a weekly meal is offered every Tuesday evening that accepts a variety of payment options (full price, full price and ‘pay it forward’, and volunteered time in place of payment). A Kids Café is also available for participants of the Girls & Boys Clubs programming.
To learn more about the Reeb Avenue Center or the South Side Roots Cafe, take a closer look at their webpages or plan your own visit when you are in the neighborhood at 208 Reeb Avenue, Columbus.
Greg Davis is the Assistant Director for OSU Extension, Community Development.
“As a learning leader in your organization, which program outcome is more important to you: The learners remembering what they learned OR the learners applying what they learned?”
As you think about the question, take a few minutes to reflect on your career and the learning events you have led. What were your expectations of the learner and how did you assist them in applying what they learned? What kind of structure needed to be in place? What resources were needed (time, tools, etc.)? What worked? What didn’t work? What barriers interfered with the follow-up?
Reflecting on my career, I see my approach to learning has changed over time. Early on, my approach was more informal, less-structured, and guided by very little in the way of lesson plans. It was a more intuitive and “Just-In-Time” approach to instruction. As I moved up the ladder, my approach evolved to that of a coach. I’d share a few of my experiences, question them, and then call them to action at the end….not telling them what to do per se, but rather aiming to trigger their thoughts about how they might do things differently. Now that I am in the business of education/training, everything about my approach is more formal, structured, planned, written and timed out, with reinforcement and coaching throughout and after the event.
When it comes to training others, first and foremost I focus on enabling the learner to apply what they learned as quickly as possible. With interpersonal skills, for example, I remember acting as a “champion” for 14 managers/ supervisors after the learning event to coach them on using the tools presented in the class to successfully apply what they learned.
In summary, both remembering and applying are important: remembering the material is required to repeatedly apply what has been learned, and this enables mastery of the new skill or knowledge on the job.
You may want to do a self-assessment as a learning leader. In thinking about your most recent programming efforts, to what degree have you engaged participants in a timely follow-up/support/evaluation? Do you follow a Standard Operating Procedure to assess the degree to which your learners are remembering… and applying?
What are your thoughts?
Frank Gibson is a Program Manager with OSU’s Alber Enterprise Center.
Beyond the Training Event: 6 Best Practices That Ensure Learning Results (Wilson Learning Corporation)
What do we need most to thrive in school, work and community? To be successful in life, children, youth and adults need a home. According to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, there is a shortfall of 54,000 affordable homes and apartments in Columbus, Ohio alone. Such shortages cause an increase in the number of “rent-burdened” renters, those who pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. Unfortunately, this leaves very little for other necessities. Consequently, these families struggle to make ends meet and are forced to make hard choices between rent and food, medicine or transportation to work.
In Franklin County, OSU Extension is working to help families become stable by teaching them how to take control of their finances by:
Offering monthly Financial Literacy training, including counseling to youth and adults.
Providing monthly U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified and City of Columbus approved Housing Counseling to prospective home buyers, existing homeowners and renters.
Collaborating with Workforce Development agencies to connect residents to living wage employment opportunities.
Working with community, civic, corporate and collegiate partners to develop safe, decent and affordable housing.
Forging strategic partnerships to address infant mortality, food insecurity, public transportation, child support and restored citizens.
Providing one-time, emergency financial assistance to low-moderate income, working families.
A stable home provides a solid platform for positive growth, vibrant neighborhoods and economic prosperity. If you are interested in learning more about these programs or in conducting them in your own community, please contact Susan Colbert or 614-247-1983.
(Submitted by Susan Colbert, Program Director, Expansion and Engagement, Franklin County & Heart of Ohio EERA)
Community economic development roundtable discussions are designed to create a level of dialogue necessary to explore the potential for creating manufacturing, industrial and trade jobs that will impact the lives of the unemployed and underemployed in communities.
Photo credit: recordherald.com
Such a roundtable discussion was recently held in Fayette County, Ohio, the second in the past 12 months, aimed at promoting social and economic equity using state, regional and local resources in the forging of new and sustainable communities. The event brought together local stakeholders with state and regional economic development players to address significant community and economic development challenges; with the goal of cultivating a broader collaboration among business, government and civil society communities.
Topics discussed ranged from gas pipeline projects and how the counties can work together for the benefit of the region, to ways to recruit and attract business to the area. Conversation also focused on job creation and retention strategies, workforce and skills development issues, and state policies that undermine local economic development growth.
As Extension professionals, the roles we play in such community conversations can vary depending on the issues and the stages of the educational process. At times we are “conveners” who identify a public issue(s) and key stakeholders, gain their support and cooperation in the educational process, and work with them to design and carry out a process to achieve a mutually satisfying outcome. As “networkers,” we identify and link people and resources to increase people’s knowledge of public issues and their ability to participate in public decision-making. And finally, at times we are “diplomats” who move tactfully between stakeholders to encourage them to work together through an educational process. Ultimately we are educators focused on strengthening individual and family lives through research-based educational programming in collaboration with individuals, families, communities, business and industry, regional and state agencies, for example.