Please note that participants must move through the program sequentially. To attend Year 2, attendees must have attended Year 1, and to attend Year 3, attendees must have attended both Years 1 and 2. To attend the Advanced Year, participants must be a CDI graduate. The complete program consists of three, one-week training sessions (hosted the first week of August each year). In addition to learning from successful practitioners, CDI also offers valuable networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Each CDI site offers the core curriculum courses (listed below) in addition to other course offerings based on site needs and demographics.

All core curriculum topics are based on the Community Development Handbook, which participants are provided digitally during Year 1 of CDI (included in registration costs). The core curriculum is the foundation of the Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) exam. Graduates of CDI interested in becoming PCED certified can learn more about the PCED exam and certification HERE.

You must attend all sessions of CDI to get credit. Any absences during the week of CDI must be approved by the Director on a case-by-case basis.

Year One (Core Curriculum)

Year One focuses on the foundations of community development and includes group simulations providing participants with a better understanding of the challenges and benefits of a community development approach.

  • Community and Economic Development Practice (Chapter 1)
  • Community Asset Mapping and Assessments (Chapter 2)
  • Community Strategic Visioning and Planning (Chapter 3)
  • Identifying and Developing Stakeholders, Leaders, and Volunteers (Chapter 4)
  • Understanding Community Economies (Chapter 5)

Year Two (Core Curriculum)

Year Two emphasis is placed on the “nuts and bolts” of implementing economic development strategies, including business attraction, expansion and retention, and entrepreneurship. Overview of commercial and industrial development projects and group simulations are learning tools for this course.

  • Building Entrepreneurial Communities (Chapter 6)
  • Business Attraction and Site Selection (Chapter 7)
  • Business Retention and Expansion (Chapter 8)
  • Community and Economic Development Finance (Chapter 9)
  • Quality of Place (Chapter 10)

To register for Year Two, participants must have attended Year 1.

Year Three (Core Curriculum)

Year Three focus is on implementing the knowledge gained in previous years plus acquiring skills in leadership, marketing and organizing the community development effort.

  • Community Leadership Development (Chapter 11)
  • Marketing Your Community (Chapter 12)
  • Measuring Community Progress (Chapter 13)
  • Workforce Planning and Development (Chapter 14)

To register for Year Three, participants must have attended Years 1 and 2.

Advanced Year

Advanced Year is open to all graduates of CDI. It is a five day, intensive workshop that takes place in an  Arkansas community and that allows CDI graduates the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they’ve gained from CDI in a real-world setting.

To register for the Advanced Year, a participant must be a CDI graduate.