In the first 12 to 18 months of employment, agents will complete core in-service trainings within three core curriculum training sessions, each focusing on topics relating to individual and organizational development, management skills, and program development.

The order in which new agents participate in sessions will vary according to the date of initial appointment. Agents are to complete a minimum of 35 in-service hours, selected from a list of trainings that can be found on the Program & Staff Development Website (for the list of trainings click here).

Most sessions occur in February, May, and October, the third week of the month, and range from two to three days in length.  February's training takes place at the 4-H Educational Leadership Center in Jabez, KY.  May's training takes place in Western Kentucky and October's training takes place on Kentucky State University's campus. All of the Core inservice trainings focus on the three primary areas mentioned above. Developing and enhancing skills in these are pertinent to the development and success of county Extension agents.

Individual Development and Organizational Development

Individual development focuses on the agent’s role as a leader and change agent. Agents will better understand how they can gain practical leadership skills in order to effectively interact with others.   Agents will learn several definitions of leadership, explore how leadership skills are acquired, learn about leadership styles, and participate in a self-assessment of leadership tendencies.

The Cooperative Extension Service is based upon the fundamental assumption that the programs it develops and conducts are based on needs identified by the local community. Training sessions in this category will assist agents in building strong, effective advisory groups and ensuring that there is adequate volunteer participation in program planning, implementation, and evaluation.  Agents will also develop advisory councils representatives and the management of volunteers will also be explored.

Topics related to Individual Development and Organizational Development will include:

  • Leadership Development
  • Group Dynamics
  • Professionalism
  • Building strong and effective advisory councils and boards
  • Utilizing Effective Communication
  • Working with the Media
  • Working with Elected Officials
  • Understanding Diversity
  • Understanding Extension Policies

Management Skills

Successful agents are effective managers of resources, which include time, money, and human capital. These related session will help agents get the most out of these resources and use them to provide leadership to the county Extension program.

These training sessions will focus on priority setting and time management. Agents will also learn how to structure their work environment to be of the greatest benefit. Agents will also learn strategies pertinent to valuing differences, as they work with a wide array of individuals.

Topics relating to this category includes:

  • Client Protection/Risk Management
  • Facilitation Skills
  • Fiscal Management
  • Hiring and Supervising Support Staff
  • Understanding Diversity

Program Development

Program development is a deliberate process, through which representatives of the public are involved in designing, conducting, and evaluating educational programs that identify and address specific issues or needs. The process of program development is the common thread that links together everything we do. These core in-service topics will introduce agents to the six-stage model for program development used by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and will help agents operationalize that model through our planning and reporting system. Rationale for the involvement of the public in program development will be discussed. 

Discovering your community, building linkages within the community and situation analysis to set program priorities will be a part of this session. This will also be a "hands-on" program for modifying the plan of work. The session will also help agents gain a greater understanding of the linkages between program development and accountability, in addition to exploring how sound program development practices can be used to reach previously underserved audiences.

This training session also discusses effective learning experiences based on the subject matter to be taught, the target audience, and other situational variables. The differences in the ways adults and youth approach learning and the implications those differences have for how we design learning experiences will be emphasized.

Related topics will include:

  • Plan of Work
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Logic Models
  • Marketing/Branding Extension
  • Teaching Methods
  • Urban Program Delivery