Hall disheartened by unfilled Extension jobs

Two empty positions in the local Penn State Extension office – one already temporarily filled — have raised the ire of the head of the county commissioners, but a university official says that they’re just looking for the right people.
The positions are important to Susquehanna County as under a Memorandum of Understanding the county pays Penn State over $120,000 a year to staff them. One position of a 4-H Youth Development Unit program coordinator is still vacant but has already been posted online.
“This is very disheartening to Susquehanna County once again and our 4-H kids,” said Susquehanna County Commissioners Chairman Alan Hall.
“PSU had plenty of notice of the 4-H educator leaving but again waited until after she was gone before they put the wheels in motion. If they would have been proactive, they would have a new educator in place before the position was vacated,” Hall said.
That position is significant as Achievement Night, which recognizes 4-H members for their accomplishments throughout the year, is coming up November 18.
The other position is being temporarily staffed by an Extension employee from Bradford County. Throughout the county hundreds of kids participate in 4-H programs each year.
“The only ones who lose in this process are the kids. The adults should be ashamed of themselves,” Hall observed.
But Mark Madden, the client relations manager for Penn State Extension, said that any programs, including Achievement Night, will not be affected by the lack of an administrator as those responsibilities are being temporarily handled until Penn State finds a permanent replacement.
“We need to make sure we have the right person at the right time doing the right job,” Madden said.
Penn State Extension provides a variety of services across the state. Services it provides include but are not limited to technical advice to farmers and other food producers across a large scope of services ranging from soil testing to gauging the local impact of Marcellus Shale drilling.
Madden explained that the job is demanding, complicated and requires an appropriate fit to make it work in the long term. The job was posted October 5 but funding for it depends in part on state monies, an uncertainty given the unresolved state budget. The online listing notes that a master’s degree is preferred but not required.
“It’s a very important job. It’s a very large county,” Madden added.
“What I would suggest is that if anyone knows anyone who is interested they should get their credentials to the Penn State Extension office as soon as possible,” Madden said.

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