Monday, June 17, 2024

Bossier Chamber to host Community Development Initiative site in Bossier City

by BIZ Magazine

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce has announced that Bossier City will be the newest site of the Community Development Institute, a national program aimed at training community leaders and economic development professionals. In partnership with Louisiana Economic Development, the Bossier Chamber will join host sponsor Louisiana Tech University to offer the only site in the state of Louisiana and will serve as a satellite site of CDI Central at the University of Central Arkansas in 2024.

“Louisiana Economic Development is excited to partner with the Bossier Chamber of Commerce to bring the Community Development Institute to North Louisiana. Continued training in community and economic development for our local and regional stakeholders is a crucial ingredient to our success in an ever changing environment,” said Don Pierson, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. “Hosting this accredited training in an area of the state that is made up of many rural communities will help to provide guidance to local leaders and encourage their thoughtful engagement in growth opportunities. We look forward to working with the Bossier Chamber and Louisiana Tech to offer this certification in Louisiana.”

CDI trains leaders 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 CDI Central: Louisiana satellite site in Bossier City will open up even more doors for connection and will equip leaders with the knowledge they need to ensure their communities are thriving economically and boast a high quality of life. We are excited to partner with the incredible staff at the Bossier Chamber of Commerce to make this training opportunity more accessible to Louisiana leaders,” said Shelby Fiegel, director of CDI Central at UCA. “Community and economic development training is essential for any community leader to participate in. At the Community Development Institute, our goal is to provide high-quality, real-world training to our participants and create a network of leaders across the nation.”

The ideal participants include elected officials, city planners and employees, chamber directors, community and economic developers, nonprofit leaders, bankers, state employees and anyone who is dedicated to making the community a better place to live, work, play and learn.

“Personally, I have attended four years of Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas and have brought a lot of those practices back to incorporate into our work at the Bossier Chamber,” said Lisa Johnson, President/CEO of the Bossier Chamber. “I could not be more excited to bring this training to our community. It could really change the game for North Louisiana and the entire state when it comes to building desirable communities that people want to live in, work in, and learn in.”

The complete CDI experience is a three-session program, with one week of training per session. Unlike other CDI sites, the Bossier City site will have participants complete all three sessions within one year whereas other sites host participants for one week each 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. After attending all three sessions, participants are then eligible to take the Professional Community and Economic Developer exam to earn that certification.

Thanks to Louisiana Tech University’s partnership, all of the sessions in Bossier City will be held at the Louisiana Tech Academic Success Center.

“This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen our communities across Louisiana and region, and perfectly aligns with the College’s vision to be a catalyst for economic development and growth in the region and beyond,” said Dr. Chris Martin, Dean, College of Business and Chase Endowed Professor at Louisiana Tech University. “We are honored to partner with the Bossier Chamber and CDI to offer this professional development opportunity and look forward to welcoming the first cohort to Bossier in February.”

One reason the Bossier Chamber sought to bring this training to our area is the recent trend of outmigration in Louisiana, particularly North Louisiana.

“I am really excited to be a part of this program to increase professional development access to our economic development officers within Louisiana. CDI is a nationally recognized program for economic development training and this is the first time we have brought the training piece to Louisiana. The partnership between the Louisiana Tech University College of Business, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, and CDI represents a crucial step in economic development for the region,” said Dr. Patrick Scott, Associate Professor of Economics at Louisiana Tech University and Director of the Center for Economic Research. “Affordable and accessible professional development training is an important component to the long-term aspirations of our economic development professionals. This means more of them stay in the region, which only serves the community better.”

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