MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The University of Minnesota Extension Service will cut 43 positions in an attempt to revamp the organization.
When the cuts take full effect in August, the number of extension educators will be reduced to 236. Retirements and attrition will claim 23 positions and 20 more employees will be laid off.
Extension has offices in all 87 Minnesota counties, with staffers whose duties include running 4-H programs for children and offering agricultural and business expertise to communities. Persistent funding problems prompted the service to warn late last year that it intended to reorganize, reassess programs, cut staff and perhaps begin charging for some services.
In a statement, Extension Dean Charles Casey said that reorganization allows the service to align staffing with community needs. County educators who formerly worked in one county now will have regional responsibilities, though extension officials hope to keep an office in every county.
Aimee Viniard-Weideman, extension communications director, said the organization will keep staffing between metropolitan and rural areas of the state proportionally the same as it was before reorganization.
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