University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offering educational programs to residents of all of Illinois' 102 counties — and far beyond. Extension provides practical education you can trust to help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future. U of I Extension offers educational programs in five broad areas:
- Energy and environmental stewardship
- Food safety and security
- Economic development and workforce preparedness
- Family health, financial security, and wellness
- Youth development
While most Extension programs are offered on an informal, non-credit basis, U of I Extension does offer continuing education credits in some fields of study. Extension programs may be offered as hands-on workshops, field days, online self-paced tutorials, or in other formats that are suitable for the audience and subject-matter.
More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in Extension programs each year, including nearly 200,000 who participate in 4-H youth programs. Each month, U of I Extension web pages draw more than 5 million page views, and people in more than 200 countries access Extension's web-based information.
Communities are directly served by Extension staff in 27 units located throughout Illinois. Extension educators in local offices and specialists located on the U of I campus develop and deliver in-depth programming locally, in regional venues, and through distance-learning technologies.
As part of the nationwide Cooperative Extension System, U of I Extension also is able to draw on research-based expertise from land-grant universities all across the country. Volunteers who serve on local advisory councils provide direction for U of I Extension programming, ensuring that programs continue to meet critical needs.
U of I Extension is based in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and works with all colleges and units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.