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When you want or need Va. Coop. Extension advice or expertise, what’s the best way to get it?

The Virginia Cooperative Extension office (VCE) that serves residents in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park is conducting a situation analysis survey in the Greater Prince William community to find out how to structure its educational services to best meet the public’s preferred delivery method.

The survey, which will run through April 1, will review the educational needs of county and city residents, said Paige Thacker, unit director for VCE Prince William. “The survey is part of a process to help staff understand community dynamics and who we serve.” 

VCE currently offers educational programs that include classes on nutrition, finances, horticulture, parenting and agriculture. While some of the programmed classes require attendance, some of the classes might be offered online if the survey shows that people would rather get the information that way, Thacker said. “If they would rather do an online training at 3 a.m., they could go and get the resources there rather than attending a class. If a significant number of people say that they want something like that, it might be something we should consider.”

The survey will ask if people prefer instructor-led training, on-demand webinars or online informational resources. The survey will also ask if people would like to attend classes in the daytime or evening, or whether groups might like volunteers to come to them to provide community education.

People who take the survey will be able to rate the importance of classes on buying a first home, financial retirement goals, gardening, improving credit scores, leadership skill development, planning and paying for college, stretching food dollars, creating spending plans and saving strategies, among other topics. 

Thacker said VCE wants as many responses from the community as it can get to complete the survey – even from people who don’t receive extension’s services. “Maybe they’re not a direct recipient, but they see a value in having the services in the community.”

The survey can be completed online at The s.urvey can also be printed, completed and mailed to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Prince William Unit, 8033 Ashton Avenue, Suite 105, Manassas, VA 20109.

The survey results will be compiled and included in the situation analysis document to be finalized in May, Thacker said. “It will be posted locally and provided to Virginia Tech and VCE. Results will be taken into consideration and incorporated into current programming, as possible. If we see a significant gap, then we will seek additional resources through specialists, to try to address it.”

For more information about Virginia Cooperative Extension in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park and the available programs,  go to .

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