Penn State Extension is in the midst of a two-year restructuring that will result in one director for a four-county area that includes Lycoming County.
It recently named seven program leaders and 21 area directors. Two of the directors will oversee one large county each, while the other 19 will be the heads of areas incorporating multiple counties.
Lycoming County is included in District Seven, which also takes in Clinton, Centre and Clearfield counties. Craig Altemose has been named the local district director.
"It's a little bit different of a model," Altemose said.
The program will go from a geographic-based approach to an audience-based approach.
He said the extension still will have a presence in each county with an office, but will provide the educational materials in a more efficient way. He added that it will prioritize the programs in a catalogue and make it available to the state.
Some things, such as staff, will be tweaked, Altemose said.
"We're going to use the staffing we have," he said. "In some instances, we're going to retool that staffing. We're probably going to do more from distance through things like webinars."
Altemose explained that all of these changes are to get the most out of each aspect of the extension. He said the extension wants to get the "most efficiency" out of its programs.
"We are looking at things that we can be more efficient with the staffing that we have. We're trying to look at our operational side and be more efficient," Altemose said.
One new area of study the extension is looking into is Marcellus Shale. Altemose said it has been working with Pennsylvania College of Technology on the subject.
When asked what his hopes for his district are, Altemose said he's been so busy he hasn't had a chance to really think about it. He said he's just trying to learn as much as he can about the area at this point.
"Right now I am still trying to get feet on the ground and meet the commissioners, see how counties work," Altemose said. "I don't have that view fully made yet."
Altemose added that he is gracious to be in the position but said it's still a work in progress and he'll need some time to transition.
"Our restructure is pretty much in place but we're still transitioning," he said. "I hope people will give us the time to make it all work."