UACES Facebook Division of Agriculture to offer racial sensitivity training to agents, stakeholders
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Division of Agriculture to offer racial sensitivity training to agents, stakeholders

By Sarah Cato
U of A System Division of Agriculture
May 10, 2019 

Fast facts:

  • Coming Together for Racial Understanding offers training for discussing race
  • Division of Agriculture faculty attended “train-the-trainer” events
  • County agents to be trained to start civil dialogue over race 

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LITTLE ROCK – County agents across Arkansas will soon be equipped with the training necessary to facilitate community dialogue about race. 

Coming Together for Racial Understanding is a pilot initiative that enables Cooperative Extension Service employees to help their communities discuss race. 

The program follows a two-phase process. First, it will work within the Cooperative Extension Services in multiple states to give CES workers the capacity to run the program. Those individuals will then identify, recruit and support a planning team in at least one community to host a community-based dialogue covering race. The processes are spread out over six to seven weeks, meeting weekly. 

Arkansas was one of 20 states chosen to participate. Laura Hendrix, associate professor - personal finance and consumer economics for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, was able to help the program take off.

“I was a part of a team representing Arkansas Extension at a train-the-trainer event to learn about using civil dialogue to discuss race issues such as inequality,” Hendrix said. “We are planning an in-service training to train a cohort of Extension professionals to do this work around the state.” 

Although there are no confirmed dates yet, there are plans to expand the program across Arkansas. 

“We hope to conduct the in-service training for Extension employees through the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service as well as University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Extension later this year,” Hendrix said. “The cohort we train will be responsible for planning local, county civil dialogue programs.” 

For more information on public outreach in Arkansas, contact your local county agent or visit


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126