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County Needs Assessment

County level needs assessments provide a means for Extension to determine the issues important to the communities we serve. There are many methods of learning about community needs, including the use of existing data, conducting surveys, community forums, focus groups, and working with advisory committees. County level needs assessments are part of the larger statewide priority setting process for determining which issues and programming needs are most important and how issues can best be addressed with our current resources and capacity.

Methods of Data Collection

Secondary Data: The County Profile provides a variety of metrics related to county population, demographics, educational attainment, economy, employment, health, environment, and agriculture. The dashboard is interactive and designed for online viewing; however, a pdf version of the profile can be downloaded by first setting your county filter on each tab then clicking download at the bottom of the screen, select pdf, generate, and download.

County Manager Interviews: Each District Extension Director (DED) will conduct interviews with the County Managers in each county in their district and request they complete a follow-up survey. The County Manager Interview Guide provides instructions and data collection instruments needed to conduct the interview and survey.

Interview Instructions

Conducting an Interview

Interview Script

Survey Request

Interview Notes

Interview Data Entry

County Commissioner Survey: County Extension Directors (CEDs) will reach out to their respective County Commissioners and invite them to complete an online survey prioritizing county needs for Extension programs and services.  The County Commissioner Survey Guide provides instructions and data collection instruments for the Commissioner Survey.

Conducting Needs Assessment Surveys

Survey Link

Printable Survey Instrument

Stakeholder Focus Groups:  County Extension Directors (CEDs) and County Extension staff will meet with their advisory leadership councils and committees, community partners, program participants, clients, potential customers, and other stakeholders and conduct focus groups to gather information about county needs for Extension programs and services. The Focus Group Guide provides instructions and data collection instruments for the Focus Groups.
Employee Survey: An anonymous online survey will be administered by Extension Evaluation & Accountability to County based Extension Directors, Agents (including Area Agents & Area Specialized Agents), Program Assistants/Associates/Coordinators, Ag Technicians. The survey will be used to identify from the perspective of those delivering programming, what programs are needed in the county and what curriculum resources, online materials, factsheets, or other resources are lacking. (materials forthcoming)
Citizen Survey (Optional): County Extension Directors (CEDs) and County Extension staff will directly administer or administer through partner organizations electronic or paper surveys of community members including current Extension customers and potential Extension customers. The population surveyed should include nontraditional and underserved audiences. The Community Survey Guide provides instructions and data collection instruments for the Community Survey. (materials forthcoming)

Written By

Photo of Dr. Meredith WeinsteinDr. Meredith WeinsteinEvaluation and Accountability Coordinator (919) 515-2665 meredith_weinstein@ncsu.eduExtension Administration - NC State University
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