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The 2018 midterm elections affirmed that the deep geographic divides within the United States are here to stay. There are real economic challenges confronting small towns, many of which struggle to add jobs and retain population in today’s knowledge-driven economy. But it would be a mistake to enact policy solutions to save rural America at the expense of cities. Follow this link to read more about why cities matter to rural communities. Sourced from Brookings
The U.S. is currently experiencing its longest stretch of continuous monthly job creation and the lowest unemployment rate (3.7 percent) in 50 years. A tight labor market often improves job prospects for typically hard-to-employ groups with fewer skills and less experience, including teens. However, as of October 2018, the U.S. unemployment rate for teens remained high at 11.9 percent – more than three times the overall rate. As of August 2018, 37.1 percent of teens were participating in the labor market, far below the historical peak of 59.3 percent in August 1978. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
School leaders serve many critical roles in their schools. They split their time between supporting their teacher workforce, communicating with parents, working with the district office, and managing all of the operational processes to keep the school open day to day. A demanding job, school leaders often work nearly 60-hour weeks, filled with challenges ranging from layers of bureaucratic and policy requirements to regular criticism from parents or employees. Given the importance and visibility of school leaders, it is important to consider the racial and ethnic diversity of this group of educators. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from Brookings
Young people are key players leading community change to achieve greater results. Directors and administrators are invited to join co-hosts from the Well Connected Communities initiative on December 11, 2018 at 3 p.m. EST, to learn how communities across the country are forming youth-adult partnerships to facilitate innovative ideas to improve health and advance equity. During this webinar youth and field experts will share ways in which young people are informing decisions and taking action. Follow this link to register.  Sourced from: The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy 
Last month, My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance at the Obama Foundation launched the MBK Network, a new learning community and support system for MBK leaders that will provide support, resources, and opportunities to build on local success and create lasting change. Last week, the National League of Cities (NLC) announced their partnership with the MBK Alliance. Through the Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) initiative, the National League of Cities provides ongoing assistance, including webinars, that will equip you with some of the tools and information needed to strengthen the MBK foundation in your community. Every day, leaders are working to create safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
The National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) Steering Committee Meeting was held December 3-5, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Attendance included more than 30 participants representing 18 states and 22 universities. The group reviewed 2018 accomplishments including Regional Caucus meetings held in each of the five ECOP regions and greater support and understanding of the importance and unique work of urban Extension professionals from state directors. The 2019 priorities from the NUEL Urban Extension Implementation Plan include creating national partnerships, sharing best practices across states, and state directors designating one person from each state to serve as an urban coordinator. Attendees participated in a thought-provoking and insightful discussion with Wake County, North Carolina government officials regarding improved partnership and marketing opportunities. Takeaways from the discussion included: Align county Extension priorities and office plans of work with county government priorities; Be bold! Step outside of the lines and take chances to improve our communities; Partner with county government to address community needs; and Show up! by participating in activities such as tabling events and attending local government and community meetings. What’s next? The National Urban Extension Conference will be held in Seattle, Washington on May 20-23, 2019. The hotel registration is open and conference registration will be available soon. The Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) 2019 Conference will be held October 14-17, 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The OSU Chapter is Alpha Eta. ESP now has an urban affinity group which ESP members can join (ESP membership is $40). Report submitted by Nicole Debose, Ohio State University Extension, NUEL Steering Committee/North Central Region Caucus Chair