UD Extension Professionals Honored at National Conference

November 14, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Four University of Delaware Cooperative Extension professionals were recognized at the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences conference, which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this fall.

Kathleen Splane receiving the National Early Childhood Childcare Training Award from the NEAFCS 2011 President Marsha Lockard

Kathleen Splane received the National Early Childhood Child Care Training Award and an editing team consisting of Maria Pippidis, Margo McDonough and Sandy Peralta received an Eastern Region Newsletter Communication Award.

Splane is Extension’s family and consumer science educator for Kent County. The child care training award recognizes Splane’s innovative online program, “Healthy Habits, Healthy Start.” Splane received funding from the state Division of Public Health for the program, which is designed for providers throughout the state who serve preschoolers. Some curriculum content was provided by Nemours Health & Prevention Services.

“There is a critical need for training materials about childhood nutrition and exercise,” says Splane. “Delaware has a very high percentage of children who are obese or overweight. In a state by state ranking, we rank 16th highest. Child care providers, in conjunction with parents, can play an important role in giving young children a healthy start.”

The Extension editing team, led by Maria Pippidis, was recognized for Two Cent Tips for Delaware, an email newsletter that focuses on consumer money management skills. Recent issues have covered such topics as retirement planning, getting along and saving money in multigenerational households, reducing the cost of holiday travel, and helping teenagers and young adults become credit savvy. Pippidis is the director of the New Castle County Cooperative Extension office, Peralta is an administrative assistant in that office and McDonough is a UD communications specialist.

Maria Pippidis receiving the Eastern Region Newsletter Communication Award from the NEAFCS Eastern Regional Director Theresa Mayhew

To learn more about “Healthy Habits, Healthy Start,” contact Splane at ksplane@udel.ed or 302-731-4000. To subscribe to Two Cent Tips for Delaware, send an email to TwoCentTips@udel.edu.

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2011 GAP/GHP Training Sessions Announced

February 18, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will offer voluntary food safety Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GH’s) training sessions for fruit and vegetable growers in 2011.

The training includes certification issued by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

According to Gordon Johnson, extension specialist and assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, “For wholesale growers, this training certification program satisfies some wholesale buyer requirements that growers attend GAP/GHP training. For those expecting to go through an audit this year, this program will help you to know what is covered in an audit and how to develop your farm food safety plan.”

Smaller growers that do not market wholesale are also encouraged to become trained and learn about the best ways to keep produce safe from food borne pathogens.

Limited or no wholesale, mostly direct market growers will need to complete only 3 hours of training, while significant wholesale growers must attend 6 hours of training in order to receive certification.

Training sessions in 2011 include:

Kent County

Wholesale growers: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday, March 3.

Small growers (limited or no wholesale): 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Monday, April 4.

Both sessions will take place at the Kent County Extension Office, UD Paradee Building, 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901.

Call (302) 730-4000 to register, and contact Phillip Sylvester (phillip@udel.edu), Kent County cooperative extension agent, for more information.

Sussex County

Wholesale growers: This will be broken up into two sessions. Session 1 will take place 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, March 10 and Session 2 will take place 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, March 17.

Small growers (limited or no wholesale): 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, April 14.

All sessions will take place at the University of Delaware Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, DE 19947.

Call (302) 856-7303 to register or contact extension agents Tracy Wootten (wootten@udel.edu) or Cory Whaley (whaley@udel.edu) for more information.

New Castle County

Small growers (limited or no wholesale): 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Tuesday, April 26.

The session will be held at the New Castle County Extension Office, 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, DE , 19716

Call (302) 831-2506 to register or contact extension educator Maria Pippidis (pippidis@udel.edu) for more information.

Trainings are also sponsored by the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware.

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UD program teaches female entrepreneurs about ag business

January 13, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, in conjunction with the University of Maryland, is offering a series of classes focused on the business of agriculture, geared specifically to women.

The classes begin Jan. 26 and are part of a national program called Annie’s Project. The registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 14.

“Annie’s Project developed as a way to empower farm wives,” says Tracy Wootten, Cooperative Extension horticultural agent for Sussex County. “It was designed for women who work with their husbands on family farms to help take them to the next level of knowledge. But the program is equally appropriate for those who have never been a part of agriculture but would like to be.”

The eight-part series focuses on the myriad aspects of managing a farm or other agricultural operation. Topics covered include risk management, production, marketing, computer and other technological issues, financial affairs, and human resources.

Special guest lectures will be presented by Robin Talley, of the USDA Farm Service Agency, who will speak about updates to the agency’s programs, and by Buck Smith, who will discuss effective estate planning.

Annie’s Project encourages females in agriculture to build professional networks. The class format encourages such networking via a dinner and social networking period at the beginning of each three-hour class session.

The program runs from Wednesday, Jan. 26, to Wednesday, March 16. It will be offered at UD Extension’s Paradee Center, 69 Transportation Circle, Dover. The cost of the course, including meals and materials, is $75. Registration ends Friday, Jan. 14.

The class is limited to 25 participants but late registrants will be accepted if any space is still available.

For more information, call Tracy Wootten at 302-856-7303 or email her at [wootten@udel.edu], or call Maria Pippidis at 302-831-2506 or email her at [pippidis@udel.edu].

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Refocus Your Job Search — Tips from UD Extension

February 15, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

As if being unemployed isn’t tough enough, there’s more bad news for those who have found themselves out of work. It’s taking longer than ever to find new job. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in management, professional and related occupations who had lost their jobs in March of last year were unemployed for a median of 19.6 weeks, nearly 5 months. That’s longer than in previous economics downturns.

Even though a number of indicators show that the econony began improving in mid 2009, employers are continuing to be cautious and slow to add workers.

For job seekers, this means they need to be especially resourceful and creative in their search for employment, says Maria Pippidis, a University of Delaware Cooperative Extension educator for family and consumer science.

“It’s not enough to send your resume to online career boards that might receive thousands of applications for a single position,” says Pippidis. “You need to do a targeted job search and utilize every tool available, including newpaper and online ads, job fairs, headhunters and personal contacts.”

If you have been out of work for a while, here are some recommendations from Pippidis on how to refocus your job search:

  • Personal Contacts are Paramount. Some studies show that about 60 percent of all jobs are found by networking.  Network with everyone — people who work in your field, neighbors and friends and those you know from social, civic and religious organizations. Don’t ask for a job – unless you know the person is actively hiring. Do ask for information about how to proceed with your job hunt or improve your resume, and referrals to others who might be able to help.
  • Treat Job Hunting Like a Job. Make your job search the first priority of every weekday. Expect to spend 15 to 20 hours a week looking for work.                                                   
  • Give Your Resume a Makeover.  Make sure your resume reflects current terminology for your field and includes all necessary key words. Ask a colleague   in your field for constructive criticism. Also, ask an English teacher or other wordsmith to check for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes you may not have noticed before.    
  • Give Yourself a Makeover.  No, Pippidis isn’t suggesting cosmetic surgery or expensive beauty products. But you do need to make sure that your interview suit fits well, that your shoes are polished and that your hair is well groomed. Go to a local beauty school for budget prices on hair cuts, perms and color treatments. 
  • Consider Freelancing, Temp and Contract Jobs. All of these short-term employment solutions provide income but they offer additional benefits, including expanded opportunities to network. Some temporary jobs lead to permanent employment. A short-term job also gets you out of the house, with other people, and thus can help to keep your spirits up at a stressful time in life.    

For more tips on job-hunting, ways to save money and stretching your dollars, sign up for Two Cent Tips for Delaware, a free monthly email newsletter from University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Send an email to [TwoCentsTip@udel.edu] with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

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