URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The dean of the University of Illinois (UI) College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) announced Monday the findings of a report that detailed the impact of Illinois Extension.
A press release said Illinois Extension, a “public outreach and engagement arm” with the UI, was valued at over $603 million for its annual economic and functional benefits. Its annual budget is $60.9 million.
Illinois Extension has offices in all of the state’s 102 counties. Associate Dean and Director Shelly Nickols-Richardson said it develops and adapts its programs to meet local community needs.
“The report assesses and explains Extension’s programs in terms we hope will be informative and impactful to administrators, funders, legislators, and the public,” she added.
The report was published by TEConomy Partners, a Columbus, Ohio-based firm that specializes in impact assessments.
“Extension is a driver of economic and societal progress,” said TEConomy principal Simon Tripp, who co-authored the report. “Extension has the pragmatic, purposefully-designed mission to ensure that research-based knowledge is not confined to academic circles, but is deliberately and professionally provided to individuals and organizations, enabling them to solve problems, adapt to changes and new opportunities, make informed decisions, develop new skills, and carry innovations forward into practice.”
Last year, Illinois Extension held 50,000 educational program sessions — also an average of 960 sessions per week — and made 1.3 million educational contacts at 3,800 locations across the state. It’s made possible by a mix of federal, state, and local funds, both public and private.