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Economic Mobility

Economic Mobility Project Team Designs New National Community Learning Network

A research team across three states is seizing the opportunity to share their aspiration to create a data-driven National Community Learning Network to support economic mobility.

The team—comprised of leading researchers from the University of Virginia, Virignia Tech, Iowa State University, and Oregon State University— has designed a six-part webinar series exclusively for Cooperative Extension professionals.

The Community Catalysts series features leaders and researchers who will deliver the training aimed to transform the work of Cooperative Extension professionals with data-driven learning and discovery. Through vibrant dialogue with experienced researchers, Cooperative Extension professionals will acquire tools to maximize their time, develop responsive programs using data insights, and foster impact in collaboration with communities. 

After participating in the six-part series, individuals will be able to use new strategies to:

  • Engage community stakeholders to identify issues
  • Build partnerships with communities and subject experts
  • Provide data insights for decision makers 
  • Share learnings to drive positive change and impact
  • Support communities in taking the next step towards addressing issues   

“This series is a new component of our our three-state partnership for advancing economic mobility and was made possible through support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Sallie Keller, principal investigator and Division Director and Distinguished Professor, in the Social and Decision Analytics division at the Biocomplexity Institute.

“CES has been effectively disseminating the research of public and land-grant institutions to communities since the mid-nineteenth century through a well-honed knowledge distribution model. Today, they are poised to become a catalyst to bring the data revolution to their communities and address some of the most pressing needs of our time.”

This series focuses on equipping Cooperative Extension professionals with state-of-the-art approaches to data-informed decision making, and allows Cooperative Extension professionals to play a key role in supporting the development and facilitation of a National Community Learning Network. 

Learn more about the team’s Economic Mobility initiative at