WMU News

Economic development course draws professionals from around U.S.

May 17, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Greenspace. Brownfield redevelopment. Downtown revitalization. These are just a few of the current hot topics in the field of economic development, and all are on the agenda for a course being offered at Western Michigan University the week of June 11-16.

The sixth annual Michigan Economic Development Course to be held at WMU's Fetzer Center is drawing professionals from as far away as California and Colorado. Sponsored by the Office of Business Development Services in WMU's Haworth College of Business, the course is aimed at entry-level development professionals and local elected officials.

The MEDC is one of only 20 programs in the nation accredited by the American Economic Development Council. The 30-hour course enables participants to qualify for that organization's Economic Development Institute, and is the first step in acquiring the designation of Certified Economic Developer.

"It's really quite an honor for WMU to be hosting this course, as the criteria for accreditation are rigorous," says William Cotton, who directs both the course and the University's Office of Business Development Services in the Haworth College of Business. "The universities selected as accredited sites must have a strong commitment to university/business partnerships and have the resources to enhance economic development in their region."

Course presenters include Judy Moore of the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce, Dan Ogema from the City of Grand Rapids, George Erickcek of Kalamazoo's W.E. Upjohn Institute and James Hettinger of Battle Creek Unlimited, along with other business experts from Southwest Michigan and around the nation.

Topics range from "Marketing Your Community" and "Business Retention and Expansion" to "Successful Brownfield Programs" and "Working with Foundations."

Registration begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 11, followed by an orientation at 4 p.m. and the course's first session at 5:15 p.m. Classes run Monday through Friday, with Wednesday afternoon reserved for recreational activities including fishing, golf or shopping. The course concludes Friday afternoon with an awards ceremony.

The cost to register is $425, which includes books and handouts as well as continental breakfasts and lunches. Registration is limited and space is filling quickly. For more information, persons may call WMU's Office of Business Development Services at (616) 387-2714.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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