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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Volunteer Selection

Ohio State University Extension
Volunteer Selection Policy and Procedures

Approved by OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet: January 12, 2023

Click here to download the following information as a PDF.


Adults who desire to volunteer their time, energy and talents to Ohio State University Extension must complete the outlined volunteer selection process.

Long-Term or High-Responsibility Volunteer Assignment
All long-term and/or high-responsibility volunteers for OSU Extension must complete the following:

  1. Receive, at the time of application or change of position, a written volunteer position description.
  2. Read, agree to, and sign the OSU Extension Volunteer Standards of Behavior form and any other relevant paperwork for the respective program area (e.g. Pest Management Information Policy, Use of Name, etc.).
  3. Complete a volunteer application, in its entirety, and submit the application to the appropriate OSU Extension office.
  4. At a minimum, have two reference forms completed by non-relatives.
  5. Complete an interview with the appropriate OSU Extension representative.
  6. Submit to a criminal history background check.
  7. Follow Ohio State Youth Activities and Programs Policy.
  8. Participate in a new volunteer orientation/training program.
  9. Maintain annual status of a volunteer in good standing. This may include but is not limited to: volunteering effectively within the parameters of the position description, annual volunteer reenrollment, meeting local training requirements and deadlines, receiving training/guidance from OSU Extension professionals.

In addition to items 1 through 9 above, adults exercising care, custody, and control over a vulnerable population (e.g. youth, elderly, and/or disabled) in an unsupervised capacity will also:

  1. Get a criminal history background check every four years. (Note: This step also is required anytime there is a break in service from your organization. Please consult the respective program for clarification on what constitutes as a break in service.)
  2. Complete the annual training as part of the Ohio State Youth Activities and Programs Policy.

Short-Term Helper/Invited Guest
Adults serving a one-time assignment (e.g. judge, speaker or presenter) or serving a short-time assignment of approximately one week or less in consecutive days, and/or one day a month or less, in which they will be under the direct supervision of a paid staff member or approved resource volunteer (e.g. camp craft instructor, horse camp trainer, or community garden volunteer) not having the potential for care, custody, and control and no sustained/ongoing contact with clientele will complete the following:

  1. When appropriate, receive a role position description.
  2. Receive role/responsibility orientation.
  3. OSU Extension professionals will verify an individual’s lack of record on the national sex offender public website. (National Sex Offender Public Website

Partnerships and Exceptions
Observe the following:

  • When entering into partnerships/collaborations, OSU Extension professionals shall work cooperatively with those entities to establish volunteer selection procedures that meet minimum requirements of all organizations.
  • In partnerships where volunteers are representing OSU Extension programs, the volunteers must meet minimum OSU Extension selection requirements.
  • In limited situations, Extension professionals may need to implement alternative selection strategies that are not identified in OSU Extension policy. In those cases, Extension professionals shall work with the associate director, Operations and the appropriate program area representative.

Original policy: approved by OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet – October 12, 2006; updated – March 2013. Replaced – January 12, 2023.