WMU News

WMU again playing host to economic development course

May 20, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Some of the state and region's most influential economic developers will be at Western Michigan University June 8-13 to teach newcomers the basics of the profession.

The ninth annual Michigan Economic Development Course to be held at WMU's Fetzer Center is attracting professionals from around Michigan and the nation. Sponsored by WMU's Haworth College of Business, the course is aimed at entry-level development professionals and local elected officials.

The program, which is co-sponsored by the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce, is one of only 19 in the nation accredited by the International Economic Development Council. The 30-hour course enables participants to qualify for that organization's Economic Development Institute, and is the first step for professionals who hope to acquire the designation of Certified Economic Developer.

"The University has become a major force in economic development and it makes sense for WMU to play host to an event like this," says Patricia Guenther, director of the course. "We've got today's leading economic developers teaching the professionals who will be following in their footsteps in the years to come."

Course presenters include Kathleen Blake, Steve Opper, Harry Whalen and John Czarnecki of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Carol Lopucki, state director of the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center; George Erickcek, senior regional analyst with the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; Dan Ogema, economic development coordinator for the city of Grand Rapids; and Barry Visel, community services manager for American Electric Power, along with other business experts from Southwest Michigan and around the nation.

Topics range from "Issues in Brownfield Development" and "Small Business Creation and Entrepreneurship" to "Business Retention and Expansion" and "Strategic Planning for Sustaining Community Development."

Registration begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 8, and will be followed by an orientation at 4 p.m. and the course's first session at 5:15 p.m. Classes run Monday through Friday and the course concludes Friday afternoon with an awards ceremony.

The cost to register was $600 before May 1 or $650 after that date. That figure includes books and handouts, as well as continental breakfasts and lunches. Registration is limited and space is filling quickly. For more information, contact Patricia Guenther at (269) 381-4000 or <pguenther@kazoochamber.com>.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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