On Monday I announced a restructuring of Extension's federally-funded nutrition education program for low-income Minnesotans. Due to the loss of federal funding, we need to restructure the program to match the funding levels. We will do this by creating a regional delivery model that has been used successfully with our other Extension programs. However, we will have to do this with 40 percent fewer nutrition staff.
This reorganization will result in new regional positions and we are encouraging our current nutrition staff to apply for these positions. Those who do not apply or do not receive a position will receive layoff notices after the completion of the internal hiring process in mid-December.
I am saddened that we had to make this decision, especially since we know there are so many low-income Minnesotans struggling to provide food for themselves and their families. Our nutrition staff and educators have made a significant difference in the lives of over 63,000 low-income individuals each year. Working with more than 1,200 state and local agencies, they help individuals and families learn how to stretch limited food dollars and make healthy, affordable choices.
We remain committed to providing educational programs to low-income individuals across Minnesota. While the regional model will enable us to continue to do this, we will not be able to provide the same level of educational programs that we have in the past.
Information and resources for nutrition staff are available on a special section of the Extension intranet. I appreciate your continued support and consideration for our nutrition staff.