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. 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.

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

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.
•     Asset-Based Community Development
•     Community Development Assessments
•     Community and Economic Development Practice
•     Community Visioning and Strategic Planning
•     Understanding Community Economies


Year Two

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
•     Business Retention and Expansion
•     Business Attraction and Site Selection
•     Community and Economic Development Finance
•     Quality of Place

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


Year Three

Year Three focus is on implementing the knowledge gained in previous years plus acquiring skills in leadership, marketing and organizing the community development effort.
•     Understanding Local Development Organizations
•     Marketing Your Community
•     Measuring Impact
•     Workforce Planning and Development
•     Community Leadership Development

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.