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Belusko takes on new role as community and economic development educator

Valerie Belusko

URBANA, Ill. – Central Illinois is building its service to community with the addition of staff devoted to community and economic development. Valerie Belusko has advanced to community and economic development educator serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, and Montgomery counties. She previously served as a program coordinator.

University of Illinois Extension helps community leaders, residents, and businesses build capacity for renewal and growth by collaborating with local communities to build effective teams to address their community's challenges.

Belusko has a robust professional background that includes nine years of community development through philanthropic cultivation with the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation and six years with Illinois Extension as the economic development program coordinator in Montgomery County. She has experience launching important projects such as iDREAM/iCREATE for Litchfield School District, a career exploration program that helps youth and adults develop dreams, set goals, and navigate the world of creativity and entrepreneurship, as well as other programs that create the foundation communities need to adapt and thrive.

“Valerie brings years of experience working with non-profits, local levels of government, and direct education delivery experiences," says Amanda Cole, county director. "Her knowledge and experience will be useful throughout the unit in helping leaders and communities tackle complicated challenges in creating resilient communities."

Belusko has a bachelor's degree in liberal studies and a master’s degree in public administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She will be based in Hillsboro in the Montgomery County office and can be reached at

SOURCE: Amanda Cole, County Director, Illinois Extension

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Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.