Exceptional Item Request
Provide critical infrastructure for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service educational program delivery in all core programs, including food and nutrition, child care, youth development, risk management for farmers and ranchers, and Texas’ agricultural economy.
AgriLife Extension seeks to expand its program delivery and outreach efforts through a statewide digital education platform. This platform will be a companion to face-to-face meetings, equipping agents and specialists with modern tools and resources to educate an increasingly diverse and growing audience and to respond during unforeseen events, as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An integrated digital network will:
- Enable individuals to access agency resources on-demand, regardless of time or proximity to the educator.
- Ensure continued educational program delivery even if the AgriLife Extension network is diverted from program delivery to assist during emergency response across the state.
To build a statewide digital network, requested funds would be used to:
- Acquire software licensing for a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system.
- Use e-commerce tools for registration, transactions and access to courses, workshops and events.
- Develop a technical support system for CRM, e-commerce, marketing analysis, analytics and search engine optimization.
- Ensure that program delivery continues during an emergency response.
Beyond Face-to-Face Delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the need for a single, integrated platform when face-to-face gatherings are limited. AgriLife Extension used existing resources to provide CARES Act educational support to county judges, commissioners, and municipal and school district officials across Texas. The agency developed four online child care courses at the request of the Governor’s Office. Through June 2020, child care providers completed over 139,000 COVID-19 online courses. Many agents and specialists “bootstrapped” their work through Google Sites and Facebook Live tools.
Jeff Hyde, Ph.D.
Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Office of External Relations
Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Relations
814 Lavaca St. Austin, TX 78701