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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The University of Missouri is using its Extension program to bring the faculty, research and students to Missouri residents so that the school is more accessible.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Extension is a partnership between the University of Missouri and each of the state’s 114 counties. The university employs most of the specialists and each county funds office space, among other things.

There is usually a land-grant emphasis on agriculture, mechanical arts and other practical skills. But with the onslaught of technology and the gradual growth of cities, the population’s needs and expectations changed.

“Our general mission is still the same,” said Jody Squires, associate regional director for Extension in the St. Louis city office. “The challenges change but the goal is always to provide resources to overcome those things, whatever they may be.”

Extension leaders said they’re ready to provide financial planning classes, leadership training and dozens of other programs that vary by region.

By the end of the year, each county office will have a specialist who will focus on one of three issues: Education and workforce development, health and access to health care, and the economy.

“They’ll be uniquely positioned to focus on one of those top issues,” said Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for Extension and engagement at the university’s Columbia campus. “They’ll have content expertise but a focus deep in that county to see how that expertise can be helpful.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com