Reaching our human potential in Montana: An overview of building human capital through Montana State University and Active Parenting

Folkwein, S.
Unpublished manuscript


This manuscript overviewed the development and application of Active Parenting in Montana as used by the Montana State University Extension Service. The Extension Service staff chose the Building Human Capital Initiative as one of three to pursue in Montana and appointed a seven-member task group to plan and manage programs dealing with this initiative, including the broader concept of human development. The task group accepted the definition of building human capital from a USDA publication (1988) which defined it as developing the skills, abilities, and understanding people need in order to reach their full potential in their families, organizations, communities and workplaces. The task group chose four areas of major concern to Montanans: 1) family skills; 2) personal development/people empowerment; 3) preparation for career and transitions; 4) people at risk. A survey was conducted in which respondents rank-ordered items of concern. Results indicated family skills as one area of most interest. The task group adopted the following instructional goal: The citizens of Montana will enhance their human potential by acquiring skills in the areas of parenting. The Active Parenting program was chosen to promote building human capital for the 1990-91 program year. Forty-seven MSU Extension Agents were trained and certified as Active Parenting leaders. They represented 35 of 56 Montana counties. Discussion groups, in conjunction with broadcasts of the program on local cable-access television stations, provided the Extension Service the opportunity to reach 42 of 56 counties with parent education. Results from this one-of-a-kind program in the United States were positive and led Extension agents in each county to pursue developing coalitions with other human service program providers.