UW Extension restructuring due to budget cuts could eliminate jobs

UW Extension restructuring due to budget cuts could eliminate jobs

Jobs could be on the chopping block as the UW Extension undergoes major restructuring this year.

The 2015 state budget included $3.6 million in cuts for the Extension this year, according to a press release. Restructuring will include merging some county locations into regional outlets, as well as reducing the number of specialist and support positions.

Who, what or where those positions will be is still unclear, but Patti Herman, of Columbia County’s Extension office, said managers are committed to keeping as many jobs in the state as possible.

“It may not be in the same county, may not even be in the same region, so there will be shifting of people,” Herman said. “At this point, administration is very committed to helping everybody who wants to stay in Extension, stay in Extension.”

The Extension held an online town hall meeting Wednesday to talk about its reorganization plan.

Sarah Lloyd, a local farmer and president of the Columbia County Farmers Union, was in attendance to express her support for the Extension.

“We have to hold on to the resources we have in our communities,” she said. “When we start losing those resources, I think it’s a problem.”

The Extension will hold another public meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Columbia County Annex. Changes will begin in July and will continue through 2017.