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Introduction to Economic Development

Please note: IEDC is not currently teaching the Introduction to Economic Development course. This course requirement can be met by attending one of the Basic Economic Development Courses held throughout North America this year.

» Sample Agenda


"This was my first IEDC event and I really thought the topics covered were very appropriate. I learned a lot!"

This comprehensive training course will introduce the economic development profession to highly-engaged participants both young and old. Economic developers use a number of financing and development tools to ensure a healthy local economy, from helping small businesses grow to leading large real estate development projects. Learn how economic development strategies can be structured to encourage local and regional development and advance your community's growth potential. This course emphasizes theoretical and practical perspectives on economic development and provides participants with the skills needed to organize, plan, and implement economic growth initiatives. Those new to economic development are encouraged to take this course first as an overview of the field's key activities.


Course Highlights:

• Economic development credit analysis
• Business retention and expansion
• Real estate development and reuse
• Strategic planning
• Marketing and business attraction
• Entrepreneurial and small business development
• Neighborhood development strategies
• Technology-led economic development
• Workforce development and training
• Ethics in economic development


Sample Agenda

Day 1

8:00 - 8:30 am


8:30 - 9:30 am

Introduction and Overview of Economic Development
The goal of this session is to put economic development into context. What is it and how does it affect the local economy? This session will develop a common definition of what is meant by economic development, discuss the major trends and factors that shape local economies, and explore how state and local initiatives can further economic development goals. There will also be a discussion of the different players in economic development and their roles.

9:45 - 11:45 am

Managing Economic Development Organizations
Successful Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) are distinguished by their ability to be innovative in their program activities and to quickly react to changes in the marketplace. To do this, EDO leaders must engage the board of directors and staff to create an efficient and effective organization. Participants will be introduced to the various aspects of EDO management, with an eye toward achieving organizational excellence.

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Working Lunch)

Workforce Development
Workforce development is quickly becoming the #1 focus for economic development organizations. A skilled and educated workforce is crucial in today's economy. Without the proper infrastructure of skilled labor in place, communities cannot be competitive in attracting and retaining business. This session will focus on the need for the creation of workforce development programs that address both community and business needs. This session will also cover the ways to reach out to the community to help build support for workforce development.

2:15 - 4:15 pm

Technology-led Economic Development
What is technology? Why is it important? The goal of this session is to put technology into context. During this session you will be provided with a common definition of what is meant by technology-led economic development. You will identify the similarities and differences between technology businesses and examine technology transfer - the movement of a technology from one location to another - and how it impacts economic development.

4:30 - 6:30 pm

Economic Development Ethics
Ethical behavior is conduct that is beyond reproach and is in accordance to the common standards of a society, institution or organization. As organizations and institutions evolve, underscoring the need for regular education about acceptable conduct in the profession and the organization is needed to ensure long-term growth and development. This session will elaborate on ethics help participants work through case studies to better understand ethics and economic development.


Day 2

8:00 - 10:00 am

Economic Development Marketing and Attraction
Marketing is a useful tool for economic development practitioners. Marketing can be used to help attract, retain, and expand businesses, improve a community's image both inside and outside the community and promote policies and programs. Communities have also started to use marketing strategies to attract and retain a labor force. Marketing, however, is neither an end in itself, nor is it a panacea, as it cannot make up for a community's shortcomings. Rather, marketing is a tool to help economic development practitioners reach their short and long term economic goals. Examples of successful, well-executed marketing campaigns as well as the types of messages that speak most strongly to site selectors will be discussed.

10:15 am - 12:15 pm

Real Estate Development and Reuse
Redevelopment of blighted areas and downtown business districts is a central component of the economic health of cities and neighborhoods. Successful redevelopment initiatives can attract new firms and jobs, stimulate tourism, and encourage major new investment in a community. It can also boost the overall morale of the region's residents. This session addresses major issues facing redevelopment projects and the strategies and programs to address them.

12:30 - 2:30 pm (Working Lunch)

Business Retention and Expansion
Business retention and expansion is a core component of any economic development program, in addition to efforts to attract new businesses and encourage the creation of new businesses. Business retention and expansion programs assist businesses in an effort to keep them from relocating to other areas; help them survive economic difficulties; assist them with expansions that add new jobs; and increase their competitiveness in the wider marketplace. The focus is thus on existing companies, which form the local or regional economic base. Studies have shown that the businesses already existing in a community are responsible for up to 80 % of all net local employment, and a significant percentage of cities consider business retention and expansion programs to be a primary mission.

2:45 - 4:45 pm

Small Business and Entrepreneurial Development
This session will focus on local programs and strategies to increase the creation and growth of small businesses. Small businesses are increasingly supplying more jobs in today's economy. Local communities can use their influence to help these businesses grow. This session will examine the programs and tools to support business start-ups and efforts to support the growth of existing small businesses.


Day 3

8:00 - 10:00 am

Strategic Planning
So that economic development issues are addressed in a comprehensive way, it is important that communities undergo a strategic planning process. This plan should explore the community's vision of the future while at the same time identifying realistic and measurable goals and objectives to get there. Participants will look at the best ways to structure participation in a strategic planning effort. Upon completion of a planning process, community members should be able to quickly get to work implementing the plan.

10:15 am - 12:15 pm

Economic Development Finance
Economic development is a means to stimulate growth and development by increasing access to capital for both ventures and projects that may not take place if left to market forces, but do provide economic benefit. This session will provide an overview of the role of capital in economic development, the sources of capital market gaps, and programs to bridge those gaps.

12:30 - 2:30 pm (Working Lunch)

Neighborhood Development
Any local or regional economy is affected by the economies of the communities or neighborhoods in the area. Developing sound economic development strategies within smaller communities and areas will lead to a healthier economy overall. This session discusses working with the community as part of the overall area's economic development plan, and identifies some of the specific hurdles that will need to be addressed.


* Agenda subject to change

**Please note: In order to receive full IEDC certification credit for this course and a certificate indicating course completion, participants must stay until the final session on the last day. Please make travel plans accordingly.