National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

one-one-one conversations with business owners on what they did as employers or saw from their employees as changes. The specifics of how the program would be delivered also was discussed in detail. There are always a lot of trade-offs to make in program planning and this situation was no different. Ultimately it was decided that a 90-minute session would be developed, and it would be initially offered in the early afternoon. There would be both an English and a separate Spanish version of the training to increase the participants level of interaction with the content of the program. While it would be focused on the specific needs of the multi- cultural location, invitations would be extended to the broader retail sector to connect to the entire community. Extending the invitation broadly was seen by many of the 4 th street businesses as a way to reach out and start the process to become a part of the larger retail area. Marketing the program would happen through traditional channels such as the Chamber of Commerce calendar, media, flyers, and word-of-mouth in both English and Spanish and through the personal contacts and social media used by both the 4 th street businesses and the larger retail community. It was anticipated that the pilot effort would start small and then grow. If there were 10 to 20 participants at both the English and Spanish speaking programs, the effort would be considered a success. A pilot of that size would allow for some diversity of business perspectives and candid program feedback not only on content but on delivery and program participation across the community. Once the program would move from the pilot status, a more formalized program effort would be developed which would include website promotion by Extension and cross-training of both Extension and non-Extension partners.


As educators, it is easy to make assumptions about what you think people may need to know about a subject. This is especially true if you have taught the material for many years and worked in a variety of both student and community environments. But the minute you get complacent in program planning is when an entirely new situation can present itself, as it did in this experience. Two new aspects converged at the same time, the multi-cultural nature of the audience as well as new trends and expectations of customers due to the Covid pandemic. To be responsive to these unique opportunities, a new approach was needed. One of the huge assets in identifying unique needs and expectations of the business owners in this situation was the linkage to a local extension educator who had developed an excellent repour over time with the owners.

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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