WMU News

Economic development course expanded

Aug. 30, 2005

KALAMAZOO--A highly regarded economic development course offered each summer at Western Michigan University will be expanded and enhanced this year, thanks to a new partnership between the University and the Michigan Economic Developers Association.

Together, WMU and MEDA will offer the Michigan Economic Development Course, scheduled this year for Sept. 12-16 at the Graduate Center-Downtown on the Grand Rapids, Mich., campus of WMU. The course is designed to reach a broader market segment and will include expanded content. The changes are expected to make the course more attractive to professionals involved in economic development and make it a model for similar courses designed for other states.

"This new partnership will combine the University's resources with the resources of a statewide professional organization to create a premium educational opportunity for professionals involved in economic development," says Dr. Nicholas Andreadis, dean of WMU's Extended University Programs.

For the past 10 years, WMU has offered the course in Kalamazoo and attracted entry-level economic development professionals and elected officials from around Michigan and the nation. The course features instruction on such topics as business retention and expansion; strategic planning; marketing and business attraction; finance; entrepreneurship; and community, real estate and work force development. The course was initially offered through WESTOPS, which was once the University's business outreach entity. More recently the course has been offfered in cooperation with the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce.

MEDA's resources, Andreadis says, will allow course coordinators to build on the previous course structure and incorporate expanded content and a broader array of instructors.

"We've been supportive of the course since its inception," says John Avery, executive director of MEDA. "Many of our members have either taken the course or been involved in presenting information on the topics covered. We recognize the enormous value the course brings to the state and, with this partnership, we're committing our organization to continuing its success and increasing the number of trained economic planners in Michigan."

The course is one of only 19 such courses in the nation accredited by the International Economic Development Council. Completion of the course can be used to fulfill the first requirement in the process required for earning the designation of Certified Economic Developer. CecD certification through the IEDC is a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment, and a commitment to personal and professional growth. Its goal is to advance and help assure a high overall quality of professional services in the economic development field.

The Michigan Economic Developers Association is a 45-year-old organization serving members across the state of Michigan. It provides a variety of services focusing on education, information and networking opportunities to the state's economic development community.

For more information or to register for this year's course, contact MEDA at (517) 241-0011 or online at www.medaweb.org.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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