Tourism Toolbox to Help Your Outreach

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in Ohio, growing two times faster than the overall employment in the state. In 2014, the industry produced $40 billion in business activity, accounting for $11.4 billion in personal income and almost 9% of jobs in Ohio (Tourism Economics).

Tourism Toolbox 2015-09-24The Tourism Toolbox website was developed in 2009 by the Ohio Tourism Team, a public/private partnership involving OSU Extension, the Ohio Sea Grant Program and other partners including the Ohio Travel Association (OTA), for researchers, organizations and businesses interested in learning more about the industry.

The site serves as a one-stop resource for starting a tourism-related business, creating a community plan, tracking industry trends, or accessing current resources, among other topics and reports. For example, a new report addressing the Ohio tourism industry’s core competencies, training needs and delivery preferences, Ohio Tourism Industry Needs Assessment 2014 Report, is now available on the site.

The site was recently updated and content was transferred to the Extension Community Development site, currently accessible at:

(Submitted by Nancy Bowen, Associate Professor & Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics)

Extension Technology in the City

Cities have been known as centers for innovation and progress for as long as they have existed. This is especially true in the technology sector, as cities often produce new methods of communicating and living with technology. Technology has become a very integral part of society, having something to do with virtually every aspect of our lives, in urban, suburban, and rural regions. As technology becomes more and more prevalent, the need to keep up with the technological changes grows as well. There are already many ways that Extension uses technology to disseminate information and knowledge, reach a larger audience, facilitate professional development, and communicate more efficiently with their local community (Typhinia).

Technology as a Form of Communication

Urban Extension programs have the most to gain from maximizing technology use for their various programs due to their large population base (Schneider). There are many innovative ways of using technology to better communicate with residents, and distribute knowledge on a larger scale, boosting Extension’s presence. There is also an opportunity to become more relevant with a younger generation who otherwise would not use Extension’s services (Typhinia). These connections can be made by social media use, as well as offering new programs that are more based around technology, that would facilitate greater interest among youth and young adults, as well as potentially connect Extension with other programs/partners who are interested in the tech side of youth development(Typhinia).

The Digital Divide

Digital Divide 2015-09-17Extension in the City is also in a position to address an ever increasing opportunity gap in the inner cities in America. Those who are often victims of the digital divide are disproportionately in five groups. Age, income/educational attainment levels, community type, people with disabilities, and language (Mapping the Digital Divide). In a brief released by the White House, the digital divide and how to map it were discussed. The unit of measurement consisted of internet access, educational attainment, age, and household income (Mapping the Digital Divide).

“Closing the gap—between those who experience these social and economic benefits from Internet use, and those who do not—will require further efforts to reduce barriers in affordability, relevance, and computer literacy.” (Mapping the Digital Divide 9)

This quote from the article speaks directly to what Extension can do in bridging this gap. By having adult computer literacy courses, and offering locations in which people without internet access can do things like apply for jobs, or work towards a GED or college degree are just a couple of the many potential programs that Extension can facilitate works towards a more equitable economy. (Full Article:

Potential Impact

Technology innovations give Extension the opportunity to impact the people, programs, partners, and presence of Extension in urban areas. Technology increases the ability to communicate with socially and ethnically diverse populations, assists in the accessibility of our programs, expands the variety of partners that we are able to work with, and increases the presence of Extension, both by name recognition, and physical locations. Maintaining a strong connection to technological changes will assist OSU Extension in the City to continue to be locally relevant, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally. Using this to improve marketing, programming, personnel through professional development, as well as creating new partnerships is necessary to have the type of collective impact that we are aiming for, while also laying the framework for years of Extension excellence in Ohio’s urban areas

(Submitted by James Stiving, Program Assistant, Extension in the City/Central Region)


  1. Kudryavtsev, Alexey, Marianne Krasny, Gretchen Ferenz, and Lisa Babcock. “Use of Computer Technologies by Educators in Urban Community Science Education Programs.” Journal of Extension5 (2007): n. pag. Extension Journal, Oct. 2007. Web. Sept. 2015.
  2. Mapping the Digital Divide.
  3. Schneider, Sandra, Donna-Jean Brock, Crystal Lane, Peggy Meszaros, and Barbara Lockee. “Using Information Technology to Forge Connections in an Extension Service Project.” Journal of Extension6 (2011): n. pag. Extension Journal, Dec. 2011. Web. Sept. 2015.
  4. Typhinia, Eli, Robert Bardon, and Laurie Gharis. “Collaborating with Your Clients Using Social Media & Mobile Communications.” Journal of Extension 53.1 (2015): n. pag. Extension Journal, Feb. 2015. Web. Sept. 2015.

Innovation preserves our stream banks

A lazy summer day sees fishermen with their poles and catch sitting on the banks of the gently flowing Muskingum River enjoying the sounds of water rushing over Devol’s Dam near Marietta, Ohio. Just a few hundred yards upstream, township trustees oversee a project to reduce stream bank erosion to maintain this tranquil setting. This stabilization is imperative to saving not just the stream bank, but also the road that is access to homes along this portion of the Muskingum River.

As flood waters have eroded the riverbank and caused road slippage, multiple efforts and many thousands of dollars have been focused on retaining the stream bank, only to see continued decline. With financial support through a Partners in Watershed Management grant with Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, the township is working with Uretek USA on an underground polymer injection technology. By infiltrating and compacting unstable soil and voids, this technology creates soil stabilization.

Photo: Uretek USA

Photo: Uretek USA

The project began with Dynamic Cone Penetration (DCP) testing to measure soil solidity and identify volatile zones. Testing was completed to a depth that indicated solid rock. Injection holes were then drilled to various depths in patterned grids. Overall length of the three injection regions ranged from 50 to 100 linear feet. Utilizing the URETEK Deep Injection Process, a total of 11,175 lbs. of environmentally safe and water resistant expansive polymer were injected down into the soils through small ¾” diameter tubes, drilled and inserted from the pavement surface.

This new-to-Ohio riparian barrier process is designed to be economically and environmentally beneficial. The work was completed in four days with only one lane closed during the day and all lanes open during the night. Without this repair, the adjoining road would be abandoned and homes in the area would dramatically lose value. Families might even be forced to relocate.

Continued erosion affects water quality by introducing pollutants and sediments into streams. It reduces the ability to grow trees in the area that shade and cool waters helping prevent algae growth. And it disrupts the habitat of many species of plants and animals.

By engaging multiple entities, this project is an example of how Ohio State University Extension works to create opportunities through collaboration. These collaborations empower communities to solve problems that impact the lives of their residents.

(Submitted by Darlene Lukshin, Program Specialist, Washington County & Buckeye Hills EERA)

Is it time for your community to conduct a Business Retention and Expansion Survey?

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Has a company recently closed or downsized?
Does your downtown district have vacant buildings?
Has unemployment increased?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, perhaps it’s time for your community to conduct a Business Retention and Expansion survey.

A Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) survey is a structured, locally implemented, action oriented economic development project aimed at stimulating economic development and growth by helping existing businesses. Research has shown that 60-80% of all new jobs come from existing businesses. Communities should review the checklist below to determine if it is time to conduct a BR&E. Note:  there is no correct score to determine if it is time for BR&E; rather, communities should have conversations pertaining to these items. That will let them know if it is time to conduct a BR&E survey.

  • Has your community ever conducted a BR&E? If yes, when was the last time?
  • Does your community have a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy?
  • Has there been a change in elected officials/appointed officials?
  • Will the legislative body support a BR&E?
  • Has the financial condition of the community changed (high unemployment, many business cures)?
  • Do community officials have a working relationship with the top ten employers in the community?
  • Have businesses closed and no one is sure why?
  • Is there a local economic development agency that could help with the BR&E?
  • Are new business sectors moving into the community?
  • Has the State of Ohio created new Economic Development Tools?
  • Are new business technologies being maximized?
  • Has your zoning code had major modifications?
  • Have there been major changes in adjacent communities (business, farmland, unemployment)?
  • Has the social status of your community changed?
  • Have business transportation needs changed?
  • Does the community have sufficient open space for Economic Development?

After you review and discuss the list above, you can contact Ohio State University Extension, Community Development to learn more about the Business Retention and Expansion Program. Visit us at

(Submitted by David Civittolo, Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics)