County Extension Agents are professional educators who work collaboratively with faculty, specialists, associates and clientele in carrying out educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service in all counties of the Commonwealth.  The Cooperative Extension Service is the primary outreach arm of the University of Kentucky.  In accomplishing the University’s outreach mission, Extension agents are expected to develop and conduct educational programs that meet the needs of individuals and communities across the state. 

One of the most important factors in ensuring the success of the Cooperative Extension Service involves the employment, development and retention of high quality personnel.  One mechanism for encouraging continued professional growth and development is through the implementation of a professional promotion system.  Such a system outlines specific expectations of different stages of professional development and employee performance, and thus provides the motivation that encourages professionals to achieve a high level of performance.  

Often referred to as a “career ladder,” an agent professional development system rewards individuals for securing additional education and training, as well as for outstanding job performance and experience gained through Extension program development.  The result is that the Cooperative Extension Service will advance and retain the best qualified individuals who will develop into top notch professionals carrying out the highest quality educational programs.  This high level of performance will reflect positively on the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and will have a positive impact on the lives of individuals, families and communities.