Jessica Hemingway, Vice President of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, and Charley Kingery, Bossier Chamber Board Member and Sr. Business Development Manager at Weiland Corporation, was among the 28 individuals who were awarded graduation certificates during the 34th annual Community Development Institute – Central (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas on August 6, 2021. Hemingway and Kingery completed all three years of the institute’s program of study and are both now qualified to sit for the Professional Community and Economic Developer exam. Hemingway and Kingery received a scholarship from AEP SWEPCO to attend the third year program.
“What we have learned at CDI about building communities, collaborating with stakeholders and getting out in our own communities to make them better is unparalleled,” said Hemingway of her three years attending Community Development Institute. “Not only has this experience taught us so much to bring back and make a difference within our own region, it has given us all such a great network of professionals from across the South to lean on throughout the important work of building community.”
CDI trains community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organizations and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.
The complete institute experience is a three-year program, with one week of training per year. Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts, and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.
UCA is the birthplace for the Community Development Institute, which started in 1987 in partnership with Entergy, Southwestern Bell, and ARKLA. Since that time, CDIs have been established in Texas, Alabama, Idaho and Illinois, and a national governing and certification body, the Community Development Council, has been created.
More information about CDI can be found at www.uca.edu/cdi.