Training Needs of a Regional Extension Agent
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Based on the research by Reid in 1997, the needs of the County Extension Agents in the agriculture/natural resources/forestry, family consumer sciences, and youth programs were addressed. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) has since expanded their educational efforts into fourteen program-specific areas. Along with expanding the education programs and content of the Cooperative Extension System, Regional Extension Agents were created. Differing from a traditional County Extension Agent, this agent would cover multiple states and focus on a specific educational program area. Due to the change in the type of extension agent and the expansion of the program areas, a concern exists between the appropriateness of training needs of a County Extension Agent and the training needs of a Regional Extension Agent. This study examined and answered those training needs. In the area of Agriculture/Forestry/Natural Resources, the highest rated areas of training were integrated pest management (M = 4.19) and production agriculture (M =4.00). In the area of Urban Extension, the highest rated training area was in the area of health and wellness (M = 5.0). In the area of Alabama 4-H, the highest rated training area was workforce preparation (M = 4.45). In the areas of Agriculture/Natural Resources/Forestry, significant differences based on location were found in production agriculture (p=0.02) and seafood production (p = 0.04). In the areas of Human Sciences and Urban Extension, no significant differences were found in the types of training needs based on location. In the area of Alabama 4-H, significant differences based on location were found in Violence Prevention (p = 0.07), Problem Solving (p = 0.01), Forestry (p =0.04), and Wildlife (p =0.04). Regional agents rated technology updates (M = 4.19) as the highest area of training needs. A significant difference was found in the topic of using new program delivery methods (p = 0.01). Agriculture/Natural Resource/Forestry and Alabama 4-H agents rated this topic as either important or very important. A significant difference based on responsibility was also found in the training topics of leadership and volunteerism (p = 0.01) and conflict resolution in the workplace (p = 0.03). No significant differences were found between Regional Extension Agents and administration. While there were no significant differences, the highest rated training topic by Alabama Extension administrators was programming for impact (M = 4.25). No differences were found between Regional Extension Agents and County Extension Coordinators.