Connecting Rural Communities: Cooperative Extension as a Catalyst. June 2006 Conference.

Connecting Rural Communities is a service of The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, (NERCRD). Major project funding was provided by the Southern Rural Development Center as part of its CSREES National Extension e-Commerce Demonstration Project.

Connecting Rural Communities is a Web based guide that provides Cooperative Extension educators and faculty with the background and tools they need to help community leaders identify, develop and implement sustainable projects that will improve their community's ability to participate in the global economy. The guide is designed to let Extension educators and faculty determine how deeply they will become involved with work at the community level.

This hands-on conference was provided to give an in-depth understanding about how technology is impacting rural communities and how Cooperative Extension staff in all program areas can use the processes and materials in the guide to help community leaders (agricultural, youth, government, healthcare, education, business) identify and implement projects that improve their community's digital development.

An Evaluative Study of the United States Cooperative Extension Service's Role in Bridging the Digital Divide

ARTICLE: Elbert, C. and A. Alston. 2005. 43(5) Journal of Education. The study reported here focused on Extension administrators throughout the United States to gauge their opinion concerning the role of Extension in bridging the digital divide. It was found that a perceived digital divide existed. Extension administrators expressed that Extension was an adequate mechanism to combat this societal dilemma. Recommendations included establishing strategic partnerships with local community groups to provide technology access and training for residents.