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Extension programs strive to benefit Washington County residents

Several new programs have been added to the list of ongoing opportunities offered to Washington County residents through the UT Extension Office.
Accomplishments during the first six months of 2014 were shared with county commissioners in a mid-year report included in the June meeting packet.
The Washington County office is part of the University of Tennessee Extension Eastern Region, which comprises the 33 counties of East Tennessee.
Funded by federal, state and local governments, the Extension Office offers research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, resource development and youth.
All of the services and most of the programs are free of charge to county residents.
The office recently received certification to teach the Tennessee Housing Development Agency First Time Home Buyers class in Washington County. This class is mandatory for first time homebuyers who are receiving financial assistance through state resources.
“Before, there were only two certified agents, one in Granger County and one in Blount County,” Extension Director Connie Sharp said.
The five-hour class must be conducted one-on-one with an extension agent, which created a challenge for those having to travel from Washington County to attend.
“Manners Matter: Social and Business Etiquette” is a new after school outreach program that teaches etiquette, social behavior and workforce preparation skills.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for years,” Sharp said. The curriculum has been expanded from its original focus on table manners to include behavior differences in social and business interactions. Enrollment in the re-marketed course doubled, with 5th-8th-grade students being the primary participants.
The first annual Washington County Agriculture and Business Appreciation Dinner saw more than 300 participants and was considered extremely successful for all in understanding the importance of agriculture to Washington County.
Sharp encourages residents to visit the Extension Office’s redesigned website and Facebook page for more information and a schedule of events.
Requests also can be made by phone at 753-1680.
The Extension Office is located at 206 W. Main St. in downtown Jonesborough.