Mains named Kentucky extension’s director of workforce and equity initiatives
Published 5:08 pm Sunday, November 14, 2021
A dynamic, experienced leader in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will assume a new position Jan. 1.
Mark Mains, assistant director of Kentucky 4-H, will transition to the director of workforce and equity initiatives within the UK Cooperative Extension Service. In this newly created position, Mains will work with internal and external workforce initiatives on behalf of extension to help develop a more nimble, versatile and diverse workforce.
“Dr. Mains’ proven leadership will be an asset to move us forward with our workforce and equity efforts across the state to benefit local communities,” said Laura Stephenson, director of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.
Mains will use extension’s statewide network to support economic opportunities to leverage new and emerging technologies, speed economic recovery, kickstart new businesses and retool the workforce to meet industry demands.
“In this rapidly changing world that is experiencing economic recovery, it is important that we provide our diverse and varied citizens with the tools and support they need to experience personal economic success as well as contribute to the success and growth of their communities,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of this effort.”
Mains brings more than 23 years of experience in extension to the position. He has served as assistant director of Kentucky 4-H since 2016. During this time, he has overseen the growth of Kentucky 4-H Camps, which had a record attendance in 2019. He has worked to increase training opportunities for 4-H youth development agents so they can provide the most positive youth development experiences possible to young Kentuckians. Prior to this role, Mains served as a Kentucky 4-H extension specialist and coordinated the 4-H leadership and communications projects. He also worked in Kenton County as a 4-H youth development agent.
“One thread that has run throughout all these experiences is the need for providing local citizens access to life skill and workplace education opportunities that will allow them to achieve success and access opportunities,” Mains said. “I’m excited to continue this work in my new role in the Extension workforce and equity initiative so that we can help the citizens of Kentucky quickly recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mains’ family has strong ties to UK and extension, which started when he was a 4-H’er. Mains earned three degrees from the college including a bachelor’s in agricultural biotechnology, a master’s in vocational education and a doctorate in family sciences.
Stephenson will name an interim assistant director of Kentucky 4-H soon.