Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs

2002-2005 Goals and Plan of Work

Vision Statement
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System envisions a comprehensive statewide Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs Unit encompassing traditional, nontraditional, new and emerging programs, and delivery approaches in order to meet the needs of Alabama citizens wherever they live and work. The focus however, is to meet the needs of urban, ex-urban and suburban communities to improve their quality of life.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System's Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs unit is to provide learning opportunities to meet the needs of all urban and nontraditional audiences with a specific focus on limited resource families, underserved audiences, individuals and small enterprises.

Goals 2002 - 2005

  1. Focus on urban youth development by providing social, economic, health, leadership and citizenship programs designed to empower urban youth to reach their fullest potential as positive and contributing members of a diverse society. [Goal 1]
  2. Provide creative programs that offer solutions to bridging the digital divide, creating expanded access to technology and independent systems of information retrieval to help all Alabamians succeed in the Information Age. [Goal 2]
  3. Promote nontraditional agricultural and environmental sciences by providing information to help citizens make informed decisions on how to manage urban and suburban environments and explore alternative markets, niche crops, diversified products and new markets. [Goal 3]
  4. Conduct health and nutrition programs across an individual's life-span to improve the general health of Alabamians, focusing on under-served and high-risk audiences. [Goal 4]
  5. Investigate the changing definitions and profiles of families and offer solutions to issues related to resource management, families in transition, parenting, senior lifestyles, domestic violence, legal education, companionship and health care, to promote strong resilient families and communities. [Goal 5]
  6. Increase the capacity of urban communities to respond to urban/rural -interface issues through engaged partnerships, community building and diversity councils. [Goal 6]
  7. Design and implement programs to improve the workforce preparedness of unemployed and underemployed citizens. [Goal 7]


Focus on urban youth development by providing social, economic, health, leadership and citizenship programs designed to empower urban youth to reach their fullest potential as positive and contributing members of a diverse society.


According to Statistics released by the United States Census Bureau (2000), youth comprise about 25.8% of Alabama's population with over a million children between the ages of 5 and 18. Alabama's advocates for children have defined clear goals to help youth meet the demands of citizenship and realize their full potential. The goals are based on premises that children deserve: 1) to be free from hunger and disease; 2) to have an education that prepares them to meet the future; 3) opportunities to grow up free from violence and abuse; 4) a secure future and stable family; and 5) to live in a community that affirms their membership (Alabama's Kid Count Special Edition, 1995).

However, not all children are privileged with resources and environments that support achievement of these goals. Twenty six percent (26%) of the state's children are below poverty (Census, 2000). More than 1.6 million children experience some form of abuse or neglect nationwide (Healthy People 2000). Single parents are raising one child in every four. Teen pregnancy and high school drop out rates are far too high, and the chances of poor health are three times greater for low-income adolescents compared to higher-income adolescents (Snapshots of America's Families, 1994).

Communities and families have a responsibility to "build young people's potential to be resilient and to strengthen their protective processes in the face of external risk factors such as gang warfare; low teacher expectations; physical, verbal, or sexual abuse; alcohol or other drug abuse; pregnancy; and so forth." (Winfield, NCREL Monograph: Developing Resilience in Urban Youth, 1994)

The Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs Unit of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has implemented the Urban Youth Initiative to provide enhanced programming to meet the needs of the urban youth culture. The initiative takes a proactive approach to building and engaging the service learning and prevention skills of young people who dwell in Alabama's metropolitan areas. Programmatic activities are designed to promote positive citizenship and community development.

Specific objectives of the initiative are to provide opportunities for youth to:

Kids Count data 2000 affirms the importance of helping youth and families make the right connections. "Too many impoverished urban and rural communities and families are overwhelmed by factors such as low literacy, unemployment, single parenthood and welfare dependency putting them at high risk of poor life outcomes" (2000 Kids Count Data Book).

The program proposes to reach an estimated ten percent (70,883) of the targeted urban youth audience of 708,836 (Census 2000).

OBJECTIVE 1: Establish an urban youth initiative to promote social, economic, leadership and service development of youth in inner cities.

Performance goals 1a: Increase by 5% the number of trained educators in the state available to provide youth leadership by collaborating with Prairie View Cooperative Extension to train trainers to Implement the Teen Leadership Connection program across the state and region.

Performance goal 1b: Conduct an annual statewide Youth Expo and enrichment camp designed to involve youth in community service and leadership development.

Performance goal 1c: Increase youth involvement in community and leadership development by implementing a minimum of one traceable, youth lead, service impact project annually in each of the state's ten metropolitan areas.

Performance goal 1d: Educate youth on nontraditional, innovative workforce and career development resources (such as Welcome to the Real World) to prepare them to make sound career choices.

Performance goal 1e: Improve statistics in credit and resource management among youth 12­19 years old by recruiting and training youth on resource management and consumer education issues using the online LifeSmarts curriculum in partnership with the National Consumer League. Recruit a minimum of one competitive team from each urban center to participate in state and national LifeSmarts competitions.

OBJECTIVE 2: Educate young adults to take responsible roles in their families and communities.

Performance goal 2a: Design educational curricula and provide training to prepare young adults for responsible independent living through independent living training.

Performance goal 2b: Build partnerships with foster care facilities to implement independent training programs to improve life skills of youth reaching the age for independence.

OBJECTIVE 3: Develop mentoring groups or organizations to provide role models in urban communities to support positive youth development.

Performance goal 3a: Increase the visibility and availability of mentoring programs and competent mentors by 5%.

Performance goal 3b: Train a minimum of 100 mentors across the state to serve as positive role models in urban communities to support positive youth development.

Performance goal 3c: Establish agreements with individuals, organizations, corporations, etc. to support youth job shadowing programs for career development.

Performance goal 3d: Expand the pool of technologically prepared professionals by conducting career summits in 50% of the state's urban centers to expose youth to professional role models and to educate them on career opportunities.

OBJECTIVE 4: Promote positive self-esteem, and efficacy in young adults by encouraging service and volunteerism.

Performance goal 4a: Recruit a minimum of 2% of Alabama's students enrolled at secondary (high schools) and post-secondary schools by implementing the SPACE (student volunteerism) program across disciplines.


Alabama Kids Count Special Football Edition, VOICES for Alabama's Children, 1995.

Healthy People 2000.

Moore, Kristin, et. al. "Children's Behavior and Well-Being." Snapshots of America's Families II, National Survey of America's Families, 1997 ­ 1999. Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Census Bureau, State and County Quickfacts. Retrieved September 14, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

Winfield, Linda. "NCREL Monograph: Developing Resilience in Urban Youth," North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1994. Retrieved May 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

Back to Goals


Provide creative program solutions to bridging the digital divide by, creating expanded access to technology and independent systems of information retrieval, to help all Alabamians succeed in the Information Age.


The Information Age has created unprecedented access to information within and between nations, as the use of computers and telecommunications networks continue to grow. 1997 statistics indicate that 50% more Americans owned computers than in 1994. But, as we witness the resulting expansion in the flow of trade, accelerated e-commerce, and increased global marketing, access to the information highway is out of grasp for many. Moreover, the rate of technological progress and change has the potential to contribute to a continuing gap in social and economic inequality between the technology have and have-nots.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) reported in 1999 that although the number of Americans connected to the nation's information infrastructure was soaring, many groups still lacked access to the promised "information society." Computer ownership levels show 40% for white households, but only 19.4% for Latino homes, and 19.3% for black households. The levels are lower for minorities living in rural areas. Single parent, female headed households lag behind also at about 25% compared to dual parent households at 57.2% (Digital divide growing, study says, Mascavinta, 1998).

Families must have access to Internet resources so they can obtain online government services, tele-medicine, online courses, and participate in one of the most thriving sectors of our economy. Additionally, youth must be prepared for jobs in the digital world. Figures indicate that by the year 2006, almost half of American workers will hold related jobs (1999 U.S. Commerce Report, Falling Through the Net). We need to be sure that Alabama's youth have the necessary skills to compete

Closing the digital divide is essential to the continued growth of our economy and the welfare of our citizens, regardless of their race, income level, or geographic location. Information providers have a pivotal role to play in providing access to all of those who may not otherwise have access. Extension's mission encompasses helping citizens who are at risk of exclusion due to the absence of access, computer training and Internet awareness.

Extension seeks to initiate programs that involve:

  1. Creative approaches to using technology to design and deliver virtual programs to clientele including web-based, satellite, video productions, e-commerce, computer aided decision support systems, and other information technology opportunities.
  2. Building a resource center and clearinghouse/research institute to promote dissemination of state of the art best practices in telecommunications and relative to other urban-focused social and economic issues.
  3. Development of multifaceted and interconnected public access resources for System-wide distribution that address the myriad of social problems confronting Extension audiences in the 21st century.

Programs and activities target urban communities, limited resource families, and underserved rural communities.

OBJECTIVE 1: Create greater public access to Extension resources to families and individuals with limited access to technology through computer networks and independent systems of information retrieval and referral.

Performance goal 1a: Partner with community agencies and university units at both Alabama A&M University (AAMU) and Auburn University (AU) to educate citizens and create a greater awareness of computer resources and access.

Performance goal 1b: Create safety nets for digital have-nots by educating and training an estimated 5% of the state's population of "digital have nots" to use technology resources at their disposal (i.e. public libraries, community centers, continuing education centers, Extension services, etc.)

Performance goal 1c: Utilize interactive computer technology, hotlines, e-mail, web-sites, info-stands, etc. to establish independent information dissemination centers in a minimum of 50% of the state's urban centers.

OBJECTIVE 2: Expand Extension outreach through technological delivery of programs that target limited access individuals, families and communities including web based, satellite, video, e-commerce, computer aided support and other information technology.

Performance goal 2a: Increase access to Extension information for 10% of the state's targeted urban and nontraditional audiences by using technology to deliver Extension programs through on-line web-based publications, web-based training, satellite programs, video transfer, etc.

Performance goal 2b: Recruit "virtual volunteers" to donate computer training expertise and resources to educate citizens on how to use the computer as a resource and information tool.

OBJECTIVE 3: Engage youth and adults in interactive training programs and activities to educate more of the states limited access communities to the particulars of digital technology applications.

Performance goal 3a: Build community coalitions with local service agencies to coordinate training activities of local technology centers.

Performance goal 3b: Establish formalized agreements to connect with the education community to ensure ongoing use of computer labs and training rooms in local communities.

Performance goal 3c: Through engaged university activities in collaboration with AAMU's interactive video laboratory, implement mobile laboratory training programs in 10 of the state's targeted underserved communities to expose remote communities to technological tools and resources.

OBJECTIVE 4: Build a resource center and clearinghouse/research institute to promote dissemination of state of the art, best practices in telecommunications.

Performance goal 4a: Continue to build on the Urban Resource Center concept to make available on-line resources and Internet access to organizations and individuals in a laboratory setting.

Performance goal 4b: Compile and distribute statewide a directory of resources available within the System to address urban priority needs.


Macavinta, Courtney. Digital Divide Growing, Study Says. CNET, July 28, 1998. Retrieved May 29, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

"Falling Through the Net: A Survey of the "Have Nots" in Rural and Urban America. U.S. Department of Commerce, July 1995. Retrieved May 31, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

Back to Goals


Promote nontraditional agricultural and environmental sciences by providing information to help citizens make informed decisions on how to manage urban and suburban environments and explore new and alternative markets, niche crops, and diversified products.


The Agriculture community is continuously developing innovative approaches to address the needs of limited resource farmers and small family farms within the ag-ecosystem. Enhanced programming is needed that responds to production needs and consumer demands through alternative production systems, market niches, greater diversity of farm products, biotechnology research applications, alternative animal and plant production, and other nontraditional animal and plant science research.

Nontraditional agricultural approaches are becoming increasingly prevalent to meet demands for agricultural production and to address the accompanying environmental issues such as the use of chemicals and pesticide management. Agricultural and environmental sciences must complement one another as research and technology bring about changes in the way we have traditionally maintained our food and animal supply.

Families and communities have a right to clean, safe, and controlled environments. The quality of the air we breath and the water we drink are environmental issues that pose human health concerns for the entire nation. Air pollution can cause respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer (Petit, 1995). Hence, pollution control is a serious issue for urban communities.

And, as urban communities continue to grow and expand in land mass, urban fringe issues such as managing backyard wildlife become concerns for many families. There is an increasing demand for agricultural and environmental programs to address integrated approached to nontraditional agriculture, urban wildlife and urban landscapes.

Moreover, over the past two decades there has been increasing concern that some segments of the population are at special risk for environmental threats. In February 1994, President Clinton issued Executive Order (EO) 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. Generally, environmental justice program efforts seek to ensure that limited resource and minority communities are not "unjustly dumped upon," or, more specifically, do not experience disproportionately high or adverse health or environmental impacts of programs, policies, or activities within communities.

Real changes in the environment cannot take place until community residents are prepared to provide broad input in environmental decision making efforts. Additionally, each individual citizen must be prepared to make a conscious effort to minimize damage to enhance the environment whenever possible. Knowledge and understanding of environmental issues are essential tools for such in-depth involvement. People working together with agencies, such as the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, who share the goal of saving the environment and improving the living standards of families wherever they live can make a difference.

OBJECTIVE 1: Address the needs of small, nontraditional farmers by offering educational resources and training in niche crop and alternative animal and plant production.

Performance goal 1a. Improve the earning potential of small, new and nontraditional farmers by training on alternative animal production and care including small ruminants (sheep, goats, rabbits, emus).

Performance goal 1b: Improve the annual income of small, new and nontraditional farmers by educating them on alternative niche crops including Shiitake mushrooms.

OBJECTIVE 2: Explore agricultural concepts in urban horticulture, urban forestry, wildlife and the environment; and educate small farmers, urban families, urban communities and other nontraditional audiences on their applications.

Performance goal 2a: Provide educational resources and information to assist Alabama's small, new and nontraditional farmers in making wise decisions about alternative growth and maintenance of crops and animal products through on-line services and publications.

Performance goal 2b: Maintain a Shiitake mushroom production website.

OBJECTIVE 3: Provide information, opportunities and methods in nontraditional agriculture, alternative and niche crops.

Performance goal 3a: Produce, for statewide distribution, a quarterly "nontraditional agriculture and animal production" focused newsletter.

Performance goal 3b: Through the engaged university concept, establish a buck test facility to support health care, educational training and services for small ruminants at AAMU.

OBJECTIVE 4: Pursue technological developments in food and animal production systems and address the implications for communities and families.

Performance goal 4a: Partner with university research departments to provide programs and services to enhance the general knowledge and awareness of citizens on biotechnology and nontraditional animal and plant production.

OBJECTIVE 5: Expand wildlife and pest management programs to address the needs of urban communities.

Performance goal 5a: Increase the number of "nontraditional" wildlife and pest management education programs offered by the Alabama Cooperative Education System, to prepare citizens in urban and suburban communities to respond to changing environments.

OBJECTIVE 6: Prepare citizens to make informed decisions on issues of quality and safety that surface with new farm products and nontraditional production procedures.

Performance goal 6a: Provide educational training on quality assurances and safety information for new products.

OBJECTIVE 7: Educate urban citizens to improve their knowledge of the ecosystem as it relates to urban environments to impact their responses to issues related to pollution, water quality and indoor air quality.

Performance goal 7a: Enhance the Alabama Cooperative Extension System's programming efforts in pollution control, water quality and indoor air quality in urban environments to reduce pollution, improve water quality and enhance indoor air quality in Alabama's metropolitan areas.

OBJECTIVE 8: Partner with local and state agencies to train citizens in environmental law and environmental justice.

Performance goal 8a: Train approximately five percent (5%) of Alabama's urban communities to understand policies and procedures to prepare them to respond to environmental justice issues that protect the health and environment of citizens.


Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, Federal Register, Vol 39, No. 32, February, 1994.

Petit, J. and D. Gangloff, "People of the Urban Ecosystem" Urban Forests, December/January, 1995.

Back to Goals


Conduct health and nutrition programs across the life-span to improve the general health of Alabamians, focusing on under-served and high risk audiences.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks nutrition and health education as a top priority. Government, industry and educators working together can reach even the hard to reach individuals and families, providing valuable information needed to make informed dietary and health decisions. Programs that have been most successful are those designed to provide direct outreach to citizens wherever they live and work. (Food Insight, May/June, 1997). A priority program for Alabama's Urban (Extension) Centers is the "Health Education Initiative Impacting Under-served Populations."

Geographically, Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) cover only about one third of the state's landmass. However, more than two thirds (2/3) of the state's population resides in these counties. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 estimates place Alabama's urban population at 3,065,673 citizens, comprising over 70% of the state's 4,369,862 residents. There are 572,743 families and 792,583 households. The racial make-up of the MSAs is predominately white (74%); blacks represent 24%. Marginal percentages are Hispanic, American Indian and Asian, with Hispanics being the fastest growing minority population. There is a small percentage more females (52.8%) than males (44.5%) and the median income is $25,449. The median income for the urban counties of the state is $31,569. Seventy percent (70%) of the urban population has attained a high school diploma and 18.1% has a college degree or higher.

In the state, 17.6% live below the poverty level. Twenty four percent (24.2%) of the state's children live in poverty. There are 274,000 working parents below 200% of the poverty level. The majority of the poor are white, and about half are less than 18 years of age. Blacks represent about 32% of those below the poverty level. Poor families are more likely to be female-headed households and single parents. Over nine percent (9.3%) of the state's population received Food Stamps. In the primary metropolitan counties, statistics for Food Stamp recipients are as follows: Tuscaloosa, 8.6%; Morgan 4.4%; Montgomery, 13.4%; Mobile, 12.5%; Madison, 5.0%; Limestone, 7.4%; Lauderdale, 6.8%; Jefferson, 7.6%; Houston, 10.1%; Etowah, 8.7%; and Calhoun, 9.2%.

While the urban health statistics tend not to be significantly different from rural statistics on many high-risk disease variables, research indicates that there are significant variations on certain health factors and for some targeted groups. Specifically, some groups within the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are at higher risk for nutritional deficiency and some forms of cancer. They are usually poor, elderly, homeless, under-employed, or suffering from chronic diseases (Health Status of Rural Alabamians, Alabama Rural Health Association, January 1998).

OBJECTIVE 1: Provide nutrition education to urban, nontraditional (culturally diverse), and underserved audiences to promote an understanding of nutrition and the importance of good nutrition throughout the life cycle.

Performance goal 1a: Work with community planners (ASU, AAMU) to identify Alabama's underserved community "pockets."

Performance goal 1b: Design and promote a state health theme and calendar of events recognizing the importance of good nutrition and wellness.

Performance goal 1c: Conduct training seminars to educate Alabama's under-served and hard to reach audiences on how to stay physically fit to prevent and/or control chronic diseases through proper nutrition, physical activity and reduction of stress.

OBJECTIVE 2: Increase knowledge of how to use pharmaceuticals appropriately through pharmaceutical personnel and nurse educators (especially diabetes educators).

Performance goal 2a: Establish coalitions with the medical community to create nutritional awareness and reduce incidences of the abuse or misuse of prescribed medication by 15% for the targeted senior citizens who participate in Extension programs.

OBJECTIVE 3: Increase knowledge and skills in the areas of food selection, preparation, and safe storage.

Performance goal 3a: Educate new audiences and underserved communities on food safety issues through health fairs, publications and seminars.

Performance goal 3b: Reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses among the elderly in the state of Alabama by conducting the "Food Safety, It's In Your Hands" program to train a minimum of 5% of food handlers in elderly care facilities in a minimum of 10% of the state's counties.

OBJECTIVE 4: Promote lifestyle changes in dietary, social, and personal health habits, providing necessary knowledge, hands on activities, and support for lifestyle changes.

Performance goal 4a: Plan and implement a health campaign that addresses obesity or chronic weight gain to reduce the rate in adolescents.

OBJECTIVE 5: Reduce the risk factors associated with chronic diseases.

Performance goal 5a: Establish community partnerships with health providers that increase knowledge, improve proper food selection and decision-making skills, and enhance stress management practices among an estimated 5% of the state's population relative to chronic diseases.

Performance goal 5b: Conduct nutrition education, workshops, food demonstrations, and supermarket tours to promote wellness.

OBJECTIVE 6: Increase awareness of breast cancer and other forms of cancer by educating on: 2) early detection, b) risk factors, and c) support groups.

Performance goal 6a: Continue the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Awareness Program in partnership with the American Cancer Society to increase the percentage of females who conduct breast self-exams, and have annual mammograms.

Performance goal 6b: Reduce the mortality of breast cancer victims in the state of Alabama by implementing Breast Self-Exam (BSE) and Tell-A-Friend breast cancer awareness training.

Performance goal 6c: Conduct breast cancer awareness seminars at churches, community centers, professional meetings, etc.


Food Insight, International Food Information Council Foundation, May/June, 1997.

Health Status of Rural Alabamians, Alabama Rural Health Association, January 1998.

U.S. Census Bureau, State and County Quickfacts, Retrieved September 14, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

Back to Goals


Investigate the changing definitions and profiles of families and offer solutions to issues related to resource management, parenting, families in transition, senior lifestyles, domestic violence, legal education, companionship and health care issues to promote strong, resilient families and communities.


The concept of family has expanded over the years to include many types. Families can be as diverse as single headed households managed by teenage moms to widowed senior citizens residing in retirement communities. In fact, the meaning of family has become so broad that the term is no longer associated only with those who dwell together under the same roof, but is inclusive of individuals who share similar concerns and conflicts (Rouse, "A Profile of Families in North Carolina Public Housing Communities"). For many urban families this broad definition is significant, for as society and traditions change, larger numbers of families are having to rely upon their communities for support in addressing needs and responding to issues which must be confronted daily.

Social, economic, environmental and legal issues, including violence and crime, increased abuse and neglect, family conflicts and welfare reform place some urban families at risk for meeting basic core needs and having coping skills necessary for survival. Specific factors likely to be related to risk are race, gender, income and age (Wireman, 1985). With respect to age, for example, seniors are making up an increasingly larger percentage of the nation's population and more widowed seniors are living independently and heading their own household (Winchip, 1995). The elderly comprise a large portion (one in five) of the nation's population at poverty level, as larger numbers of elderly women are now living alone with decreased pensions.

While the overall financial status has improved slightly for non-elderly adults in Alabama, the general well being of children and families has not changed significantly since 1997. Family environments, employment, health status and statistics on parenting measures have remained fairly constant (Snapshots II: Findings from the National Survey of America's Families, 2000).

The Urban Family Network offers a comprehensive program to advance families in the twenty first century through programmatic activities that address:

  1. key financial management and consumer education issues for youth, adults, and seniors;
  2. parenting and family strengthening approaches designed for nontraditional families, grandparents parenting grandchildren and families in divorce transition;
  3. family resiliency and conflict resolution programs for domestic violence prevention;
  4. people and pets engaged in an effort to aid some of the social, economic and health problems that afflict the family; and
  5. legal issues for families, consumers, and pet owners.

The intent is to build partnerships, networks and groups to support strengthen the resiliency of families, targeting urban community dwellers. Nontraditional delivery modes and state and nationally renown, interactive curricula and resources are used to educate families.

Programs target seniors, families in inner city areas, families affected by domestic violence, and other nontraditional families including families in divorce transition, single family households and grandparents parenting grandchildren (Census, 2000).

OBJECTIVE 1: Partner with legal services, agencies and organizations to deliver training in legal education to assist citizens in responding to basic legal issues.

Performance goal 1a: Design and distribute a quarterly newsletters to address basic legal issues.

Performance goal 1b: Provide legal assistance education workshops for senior citizen groups and establish partnerships for referrals with agencies such as Area Agencies on Aging, Legal Aid, etc.

Performance goal 1c: Conduct educational seminars to enhance citizen's awareness of legal ramifications and provide information on how to respond to issues related to sexual harassment on the job, elder law, civic rights and responsibilities, etc.

Performance goal 1d: Provide educational training and referral information on estate planning (i.e. wills and trusts).

OBJECTIVE 2: Through programs coordinated by the Urban Family Network, initiate resiliency training in resource management, nontraditional parenting, companionship, health issues, and domestic violence prevention to prepare families to respond to and function in environments of stress and change.

Performance goal 2a: Increase family program offerings that target urban families through the System's established Urban Family Network to expand Extension's outreach to families by an estimated 10%.

Performance goal 2b: Conduct an annual Family Life Conference to increase community connections and partnerships and enhance the knowledge of families relative to available resources in parenting, resource management, elder care and other family related areas.

Performance goal 2c: Initiate partnerships with appropriate service providers to train trainers such as health care professionals and cosmetologists, to enhance awareness, response (conflict resolution) and referral training to decrease the incidences of domestic violence in the state.

Performance goal 2d: Partner with Alabama A&M University's Community Development Corporation to offer budgeting and resource management training to educate limited resource families on how to manage resources to qualify for home ownership through the Home Buyers Club program.

OBJECTIVE 3: Implement family dynamics training to teach urban and nontraditional families to identify and respond to forces that impact their lives such as a changing economy, physical stress, changing roles, managing work and family, divorce, aging, grandparents parenting grandchildren, and parenting long distance.

Performance goal 3a: Educate urban audiences on the changing dynamics of families and expand the availability of programs that embrace family diversity including families in transition, teen parenting, single headed households, teen fathers, limited resource families, etc.

OBJECTIVE 4: Create support groups to educate and counsel citizens on the financial, physical, emotional and social needs of the elderly to prepare elder care givers and concerned communities to understand and better assist aging families in transition.

Performance goal 4a: Implement programs such as "Primrose" and other supporting curricular to educate communities and caregivers on the financial and physical abuse of the elderly, and appropriate community responses.

Performance goal 4b: Collaborate with Area Agencies on Aging, American Association of Retired Persons and other service agencies to establish a minimum of one support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren in each of the state's primary metropolitan areas.

Performance goal 4c: Expand the training offered in collaboration with the EFT 99 program (Electronic Funds Transfer) to increase the percentage of seniors using direct deposit.

OBJECTIVE 5: Design and implement a certification program on "Dogs as Companions" to offer a nontraditional approach to responding to health and companionship needs of families.

Performance goal 5a: Design and distribute educational resources that address the social, psychological and therapeutic benefits of animals as companions.

Performance goal 5b: Partner with local and state agencies to increase by a minimum of 2% the number of animals certified as companions.


Rouse, S. A Profile of Families in North Carolina Public Housing Communities, Cooperative Extension Program, North Carolina State University, 19___.

Winchip, S.S. Proportions of Income Expended for Rent Among African American and Caucasian Elderly, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Summer, 1995, p. 27-33.

Wireman, P. Urban Neighborhoods, Networks and Families, Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1984.

Back to Goals


Increase the capacity of communities to respond to urban/rural interface issues through engaged partnerships, community building and diversity councils.


Urban Extension is a National agenda item and a mandated program for the State of Alabama. All Americans have common needs for food, clothing and shelter that are end products of the agricultural system. Likewise, community and family issues are sometimes so prevalent that they cross boundaries to have an effect on people wherever they live. Whether the focus is rural or urban agriculture, families or communities, Extension's charge is to provide practical education for all citizens ­ education that they can use to address critical issues that affect their lives.

Through programs that address the interface, the Urban Affairs unit seeks to:

  1. Acknowledge the value of the dimensions of diversity and the changing faces of Alabama by focusing on managing and embracing diversity and multi-cultural issues.
  2. Provide links to agriculture, environmental sciences, family programs and community issues that engage Alabama's underserved citizens in meaningful exchanges and learning partnerships.
  3. Foster informed decision-making, the application of knowledge, and sharing of resources to solve critical issues that impact both urban and rural communities.
  4. Critically analyze and make application of traditional (rural) Extension concepts and programs in agriculture, families, communities and the environment as they relate to urban audiences.
  5. Pursue emerging issues of urbanization and the impacts on urban and rural communities.
  6. Help youth, adults and communities better understand the agricultural system, urbanization and issues of urban-rural interdependence through programs like the Urban Youth Farm Day, the Urban-Rural Interface Conference and Farm-City programs.

OBJECTIVE 1: Plan and implement programs that address the interface of urban and rural communities and offer resources and solutions to help families and decision makers respond to issues.

Performance goal 1a: Conduct annually an Urban/Rural Interface Conference to provide enhanced opportunities for community and agency partnering, information exchanges and resource sharing to address urban/rural interface issues.

Performance goal 1b: Conduct Urban Youth Farm Day activities at 10% of the state's university research and farm stations to expose urban youth to the agricultural system.

OBJECTIVE 2: Engage in community partnerships and collaborations with agencies and organizations addressing real issues of urban/rural interface

Performance goal 2a: Establish partnership agreements with municipalities, agencies and organizations to create satellite centers in close proximity to inner city areas to support community based program delivery of family, nutrition, and other urban programs.

Performance goal 2b: Partner with the Alabama A&M University's Community Development Corporation to implement the Home Buyers Club program.

Performance goal 2c: Partner with Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences to implement an Urban Forestry and Human Development Clearinghouse and Research Institute.

OBJECTIVE 3: Improve the access to Extension information for non-English speaking citizens.

Performance goal 3a: Establish a website and referral listing on family, nutrition and health resources for non-English speaking citizens with an emphasis on Spanish speaking audiences.

Performance goal 3b: Search and acquire multicultural training resources for distribution in 50% of the state's Urban Centers.

Performance goal 3c: Design and position free-standing information displays of multicultural resources in 50% of the state's metro areas.

OBJECTIVE 4: Collaborate with service agencies, organizations and diversity councils to provide an array of programs that offer educational opportunities for urban communities on diversity issues including age, sex, race and culture.

Performance goal 4a: To reduce incidences of racial and cultural discrimination, profiling, and hate crimes across the state, increase programs and community events designed to enhance the understanding of citizens on diversity issues of age, sex, race and culture to promote enhanced understanding, value, respect and management of diversity.

OBJECTIVE 5: Establish environments that promote unity and sustain diversity within urban communities.

Performance goal 5a: Establish or identify diversity councils in each of the state's ten (10) metro areas to support expanded awareness of multi-cultural needs and differences.

Performance goal 5b: Offer multi-cultural activities which go beyond just creating awareness of other cultures but are designed specifically to include adapting to or integrating cultural differences to build healthy and lasting relationships across racial and cultural barriers (i.e. including Spanish speaking presenters, using teaching tools translated in Spanish, etc.).

OBJECTIVE 6: Collaborate with law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to establish training programs to expand and enhance knowledge and understanding of diversity among law enforcement and social service personnel.

Performance goal 6a: Conduct law enforcement and criminal justice diversity training series to equip a minimum of 5% of the state's law enforcement and criminal justice professionals with an enhanced understanding and more competent skills to react appropriately to diversity and diversity issues in their professional roles.

OBJECTIVE 7: Design and implement a training series to educate and empower minority cultures in Alabama to function in the larger society by offering training in health and safety, family resiliency, civic responsibilities and rights and legal issues.

Performance goal 7a: Identify referrals and resources of agencies and organizations that can provide services to minority cultures such as Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans.

Performance goal 7b: Conduct a series of family education and information fairs designed to appeal to minority cultures focusing on 50% of the North Alabama urban counties that are experiencing significant growth in minority populations.

Performance goal 7c: Create free standing kiosks offering information in Spanish on family and resource management issues in 50% of the state's urban centers.


Urban Extension: A National Agenda, A Report of the National Extension Urban Task Force, United States Department of Agriculture; Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension, May, 1996.

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Design and implement programs to improve the workforce preparedness of unemployed and underemployed citizens.


Basic skills for today's workforce have been redefined by new technologies and information based products. Essential skills for job readiness and job success identified by recent research include: 1) the ability to be a perpetual learner, 2) competence in reading, writing and personal computer skills, 3) proficiency in communication, 4) creative problem solving skills, 5) self esteem, 6) inter-personal skills, and 7) leadership potential. (Workforce Skills Needed by Today's Employers, 2000)

Recent legislation such as the Welfare Reform Act (1996) and the Work Force Investment Act (1998) have caused states to look more closely at programs and services that address work force preparation and employment needs. In response to growing demands for training and support programs, Extension has identified workforce development as a national initiative.

Through their outreach mission, land-grant universities have a major responsibility to provide training opportunities that respond to local workforce needs. Extension's research base strategically positions educators to provide support in assessing market needs, analyzing available skills and providing comprehensive program support to help eliminate barriers and compensate for inadequacies.

Through workforce preparation activities, Extension in Alabama seeks to establish partnerships, design web-based resources, explore interactive curricula, conduct skill assessments, and identify entrepreneurship opportunities to:

This goal targets unemployed, newly skilled and newly hired youth and adults. Projected contacts are based on Census data 2000 for Alabama's SMAs.

OBJECTIVE 1: Design, adapt and adopt user-friendly resources to educate citizens on individual assessments, job search and job preparedness skills.

Performance goal 1a: Use adult and youth focused curricula such as Welcome to the Real World to educate an estimated 5% of the State's unemployed or underemployed citizens on career and job search skills.

OBJECTIVE 2: Design a one-stop, online job search and preparedness tool to assist citizens in preparing for and identifying available jobs across the state.

Performance goal 2a. Develop an on-line, user-friendly job search tool to educate citizens on available jobs and required qualifications; and decrease citizen's spending associated with job searches.

Performance goal 2b: Train a minimum of 5% of the State's unemployed or underemployed citizens on how to use the job search tool.

OBJECTIVE 3: Provide community focused seminars and career summits to educate young adults on career choices and job alternatives including small business ownership/entrepreneurship.

Performance goal 3a. Conduct career summits in 50% of the state's urban centers.

Performance goal 3b. Collaborate with small business organizations to provide training in small business enterprises.


Workforce Skills Needed by Today's Employers, 2000, EdInfo Number 98-07, Retrieved March 28, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Beaulieu, L. Improving Job Opportunities for Low-income People: The Hope of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Southern Rural Development Center, Information Brief, Number 8, July 1999.

Tootle, D. Great Expectations: From Welfare to Work in the South, Southern Rural Development Center, Economic Research Service, U.S.D. A., august, 1999.

Joblessness, the Urban Underclass, and Welfare Reform, Highlights of a Discussion with William Julius Wilson on September 1996; Family Impact Seminar, National Health Policy Forum, George Washington University, January, 1997.

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Page was last updated:
9 JUNE 2003