Make the Most of Your Extension Services

If there is a particular skill or skills you need to learn but don't have the time or money to take conventional courses, extension services in your area might be available to fill their place.

| January/February 1979

Say you're headin' back to the land and have to pick up a lot of rural survival skills in a hurry. Or maybe you want to learn a new trade to increase your urban earning potential (or to open your own business). Of course, if you have lots of time and/or money you could take a regular university course or apprentice yourself to a master of your chosen craft, but what do you do when you're bucks down and in a big hurry? Just listen up, 'cause there is away: your local and state extension services!

The University Extension

You see, every one of the 50 states has a land-grant university that—in cooperation with the federal government—offers hundreds of short courses, seminars, and workshops on just about any topic you can imagine. Most of these programs are open to anyone who wants to attend them, too, and registration (as well as materials) fees are modest. If you're interested, just figure out what you want to know, and then contact your state's extension service director for a schedule of the subjects offered and class meeting times.

Nearby Knowledge

You'll also be glad to know that you won't have to travel to here-and-gone to attend these classes, because extension courses are held in a number of locations throughout every state. So the subjects that you're interested in may be taught in your town hall, in high school classrooms or workshops, or even in empty store buildings!

And, if you can't attend the regular workshops, seminars (or whatever), you might still be able to get the information that you need from some of the state university extension publications. Every extension issues a large number of these pamphlets, fact sheets, instruction manuals (and even books), and the publications cover everything from beekeeping and greenhouse insulation to catfish culture and adobe brick making. Some of these booklets are free-for-the-askin', and others are available for as little as a nickel. Your extension service director's office will gladly supply you with a list of their current publications.

If you happen to live near a state university, you should also take advantage of the on-campus extension offerings. As an example of the subjects covered in these programs, one Midwestern state college schedules courses on beef and dairy cattle, poultry management, crop drying, new farm equipment, and an annual "Day for Women," which actually includes a week of sessions on everything from estate planning to energy conservation in the kitchen.

Technology, Too! 

Technological subjects aren't ignored in the extension service program, either. Many areas offer regular courses in such subjects as auto tune-up and welding, for instance, in which (for a payment of $20 or so) the student can get background training and actual hands-on experience under the sharp eye of a trained instructor. (As an added bonus, you can often—in the tune-up classes—work on your own car while you learn!)

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