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Community Development

Successful communities recognize, tap, and invest their resources—and do these things well. Together with communities and their citizens, Extension Community Development identifies and builds on the skills, assets, and opportunities available to and inherent within those communities, with the goal of strengthening community sustainability and vibrancy. The program provides research-based knowledge and skills in the processes, tools, and techniques within four core areas:

  • Leadership development and coaching
  • Civic engagement training
  • Community visioning, strategic planning, and capacity building
  • Entrepreneurship

Horizons is a guided experience that builds community capacity through individualized coaching and strategic planning. To date, Horizons has been delivered in more than 40 rural South Dakota communities.

Facts on Community Development:

  • Over 2,000 citizens have learned and practiced dialogue techniques to discuss community issues
  • Over 900 citizens have completed leadership training
  • More than 3900 citizens have participated in community strategic planning
  • Participants have been elected to city leadership or have increased their levels of civic engagement
  • Economic impacts include creation of new small businesses, community foundations, community gardens and farmers markets, and housing initiatives

To learn more about Community Development programs, contact Dr. David Olson, Community Development Program Director, at 605.688.5614 or Dr. Jane Hegland, Department Head, at 605.688.5196.