Small southeast Minnesota communities sought for recruitment program

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

Southeast Minnesota Together and the University of Minnesota Extension are seeking small communities for a resident recruitment program to help alleviate workforce shortages.

U of M Extension research has found there is a movement of people who are moving to rural towns, bringing with them college degrees, careers, professional contacts, and young families. This research finding has inspired many Minnesota towns to intentionally market their community to newcomers, prompting the design of the Extension program “Making it Home.”

The program was offered to communities in the region in 2018 as part of the Southeast Minnesota Together regional collaboration. Extension is offering the program again to communities across the region in 2019.

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“The ‘Making it Home’ program is a carefully-designed process that helps rural towns uncover what makes them unique, and what they have to offer to residents,” said Jennifer Hawkins, Extension educator in community economics, in a press release. “Because of the many regional efforts to recruit and retain a workforce for Southeast Minnesota, this is a perfect time for rural communities to take on efforts like this in their towns.”

The effort seeks to engage 2-4 rural communities across Southeast Minnesota to start the 6-9 month process in early 2019.

The program has been used in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Communities that have participated have seen some impacts with outcomes including the creation of social media outreach strategies and other marketing initiatives, campaigns that target high school alumni, expanded recruitment of new professionals, community beautification, and increased community morale.

Applications for the program are due by Oct. 1, 2018. An informal webinar will take place on June 27 for those that want to learn more. Registration for the webinar can be done at

For more information, visit or contact Jennifer Hawkins at or 507-280-5575.