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Train-the-Trainers: Futures Workshops and Emergency Economic Impact Analysis

Communities often need economic data for decision-making. Communities looking to attract or retain a business may want information on how that business/industry affects their local economy. Communities facing the sudden loss of a key employer may find information on the ripple effects of the loss helpful in decision-making and in seeking additional assistance.

University of Minnesota Extension has developed two successful programs to address these needs. In 2015, the Northeast Center provided funding to their team, which includes several partner institutions, to expand this programming into other states. Resources generated from this effort will be compiled here.

  • Futures Workshop: Go in-depth exploring how industries in your economy interact and the implications for other industries and households:
    • Communities compare and contrast the economic impact of 100 jobs in five to seven industries of their own choosing. 
    • Communities not only see how one particular business or industry affects their local economy, but also see the different type of effects. For example, not only is the magnitude of the impact of a manufacturer quite different than the magnitude of the impact of a health care facility, but the types of impacts are also very different.
    • Workshop participants report a better understanding of their local economy and increased appreciation for the need to work together to improve their economy. 
  • Emergency Economic Impact Analysis: Explore how a sudden economic change will affect your economy, industries, and households:
    • Communities facing the loss of a major employer due to an emergency (fire, downsizing, etc.) are often forced to make quick decisions about how to react.
    • A simple analysis is performed with two to four weeks. Communities receive a short report along with a public presentation by Extension staff.
    • Participants report information has been useful in decision-making.  One community used the report in a successful application for a federal EDA economic adjustment grant.

Project Team

  • Florence Becot (University of Vermont) 
  • Laura Brown (University of Connecticut)
  • Daniel Eades (West Virginia University)
  • Jane Kolodinsky (University of Vermont)
  • Neil Linscheid (University of Minnesota)
  • Geoffrey Sewake (University of New Hampshire)
  • Bill Shuffstall (Penn State)
  • Elizabeth Templin (University of Minnesota)
  • Brigid Tuck (University of Minnesota)
  • Walt Whitmer (Penn State)