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Community Development Programs

Lincoln County Workforce Development

 Young adults watching a professional make a lamp Lincoln County Workforce Development Program participants learn how to make lamps as part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) occupational training. Photo by Christy Blood, Lincoln County Work Force job developer.

Helps underemployed adults and at-risk young adults overcome barriers to education, training and sustainable jobs


Nevada’s Lincoln County has many underemployed residents. In a 2016 survey by the county, residents identified creating more jobs as the top priority. According to the 2015 third-quarter report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county had the lowest average weekly wage in Nevada. Residents have difficulty leaving and living in urban settings due to a lack of skills needed to work and live in those environments. Many underemployed or unemployed residents have barriers to finding jobs in both urban and rural settings, such as being unable to fill out an application, not knowing what jobs fit their interests and skills, lacking confidence, or lacking the knowledge or abilities needed to make a plan or career path. In addition, many young adults ages 17-24 are not advancing academically, are struggling to identify and make career paths, and are not finding sustainable jobs or careers. Finally, the county needs to increase economic development and make more sustainable jobs.

Response/What’s Been Done

The Lincoln County Workforce Development Program helped 31 underemployed or unemployed adults ages 18 and older and 37 at-risk youth ages 17-21 gain education, training and sustainable jobs in 2017. The project held one-on-one consultations with participants to gauge skills, interests, education levels and social barriers. For adults, Extension made personalized education plans based on their needs. Participants learned how to get a fulfilling career and received on-the-job training and employment counseling. Youth learned how to make and follow career plans. Some businesses made work experience positions for participants, and 36 participants received tutoring.

Extension also aided with economic development and projects to increase job opportunities, mentoring the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority on building programs and business, and obtaining funding. It also mentored the Lincoln Communities Action Team on increasing tourism and using education to build businesses and sustainability.

Results/Impact and Partners

Extension evaluated progress for both groups in meetings at least every 30 days, and recorded progress in the One Stop Operating System outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor, which measures gain of employment job training and education. Extension charted progress for the at-risk young adults by measuring math and reading improvement, high school diplomas or equivalents earned, employment, and on-the-job training and post-secondary education completed.

Of the 31 adult participants:

  • 17 became employed
  • 7 completed occupational training
  • 10 received on-the-job training

All 68 program participants rated themselves using knowledge surveys before and after completing the program. They rated statements on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “not at all true for me” and 5 being “very true for me.” Results of the post-program survey show the following ratings, improvements compared to the pre-program survey:

  • 1.22, a 31 percent decrease in “When I get discouraged while making an important decision, I give up trying.”
  • 2.44, a 20 percent decrease in “I don’t believe I can get the education needed for good jobs.”
  • 3.92, a 41 percent increase in “I believe that I can find a job that I like.”
  • 4.33, a 15 percent increase in “I know what types of jobs fit my interests, skills and abilities.”
  • 4.08, a 14 percent increase in “I am worthy and capable of achieving the steps to succeed in a good career.”

Some participant responses to "The most important thing I gained from the program..." were:

  • I actually am capable of handling and maintaining a job. Before I worried I wouldn’t be able to.
  • You’ve got to work hard to succeed in life.
  • I gained confidence. I gained new skills working with computers.
  • Partners included Workforce Connections, Lincoln County School District, Lincoln County Regional Development Authority, Lincoln County Government, Lincoln Communities Action Team, City of Caliente and local businesses.



underemployed or unemployed adults ages 18 and older and at-risk youth ages 17-21 helped in 2017


of the 31 adult participants became employed

"The most important thing I gained from the program was more confidence in myself to succeed.”

— Lincoln County Workforce Development participant

Contact: Holly M. Gatzke, 775-726-3109

Community Development Programs

Programs Program Information

Capacity Building for Healthy Communities

Capacity building strengthens an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission to have a positive impact on communities. Strategic thinking, visioning, action planning, and board development are capacity building activities.

Engaged Leadership Program

Washoe County, Nevada, needed advanced training and skill building for the county’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) members to help them to participate effectively in local government issues that impact their communities. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed and implemented an Engaged Leadership program to assist chairpersons and CAB members in their efforts to create and sustain effective boards.

FIND Project

Lander County’s Future Industrial Needs Discovery (FIND) Project is a comprehensive business matching and sustainable development tool. It is a unique combination of processes that has brought together major stakeholders with community input to visualize and plan northern Lander County’s economic future.

Lincoln County Workforce Development

 Young adults watching a professional make a lamp

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Small business development in rural Nevada

While small business development courses have been offered in Nevada’s urban and metropolitan areas (Washoe and Clark counties) for some time, the need for economic development in rural counties is even more critical. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offered business planning classes to existing and potential small-scale entrepreneurs through a series of interactive video and face-to-face classes.

Social Media Training

Extension Educator Lindsay Chichester explaining Facebook Page Best Practices to a room of people

Stronger Economies Together

Stronger Economies Together (SET) is an exciting collaboration launched in 2010 by USDA Rural Development along with the nation’s Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) and their land-grant university partners. The Stronger Economies Together Program (SET) is a strategic planning program designed to help communities in rural America to work together on a regional basis to develop strategic economic development plans based on current and emerging economic strengths in each region.

University Center for Economic Development

Sam Cordes, Emeritus Professor from Purdue University, presented his keys to future success for rural development at the Building a Stronger Nevada Economic development Workshop. Tom Harris discusses these keys to rural economic development with Sam Cordes in the accompanying podcast. You can make comments on this podcast in the comment section if you like.