Extension close to hiring 4-H agent

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After five months without a 4-H agent, Moffat County could hire one within a few weeks.

The Colorado State University extension office in Craig has been without an agent since Jennifer Duncan resigned from the position last summer. Duncan was the agent from May until August.

Elisa Shackelton, extension office director, said the office advertised for the position in October and November and recently made an offer to a candidate.

Shackelton declined to name the candidate.

Five candidates applied for the position, and the office interviewed two, Shackelton said.

If the candidate rejects the offer, the office will start again and advertise for the position, Shackelton said.

Extension offices statewide have had trouble in recent years hiring 4-H agents, Shackelton said.

The agents oversee the county's 4-H program, which enrolls about 250 children every year. The agents screen and train 4-H leaders and manage 4-H volunteers.

Five years ago, extension officers could expect between 15 and 20 people to apply for 4-H agent positions, Shackelton said. But this year, extension offices expect between three and five applicants.

Overseeing a 4-H program can take a lot of work and involve unpredictable hours, Shackelton said.

"It is a demanding job," Shackelton said. "It is not an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job."

Since Duncan resigned, some of the agent's duties have been pushed to the extension office's administrative supervisor, Jackie Goodnow.

Goodnow has been helping children enroll in the program and trying to fill in where she can, she said.

Goodnow has been at the extension office for 15 years and was active in 4-H before that.

But without a full-time agent, the children in 4-H are missing out on some programs, such as leadership training, Goodnow said.

While the last 4-H agent held the position for only a few months, most agents tend to stick around for a few years, Goodnow said.

In her 15 years at the office, there have been four agents, she said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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