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The CDI curriculum gives participants a core body of knowledge and skills in Community Development and Economic Development.


At the Midwest CDI, we believe that Community Development and Economic Development are complementary. In our view, the goal of development is a coordinated effort that stimulates both, and therefore, makes for an economically and socially vibrant community.

It is important for development professionals to have an understanding of both Community Development and Economic Development, regardless of whether they focus on one or the other in their current job. At CDI, best practices in Community Development and Economic Development are presented and explained. 

The complete CDI program consists of attending three four-day sessions, referred to as Year One, Year Two, and Year Three.

Year One focuses on the foundations of community development. It covers community development principles and practices, strategic visioning and planning, facilitating meetings, asset mapping, community assessment, managing volunteers, and group decision-making. A simulation engages participants in better understanding the challenges and benefits of a community development approach.

Year Two focuses on economic development. It covers the "nuts and bolts" of implementing specific economic development projects, such as how to put together a financing package, how to establish a business retention and expansion program, how to support entrepreneurs, how to use the social media tools to promote your community, and how to begin a brownfield redevelopment.


Year Three focuses on putting it all together: how to coordinate community and economic development efforts for the best possible results. Participants learn skills in how to start and maintain a successful development organization, how to market your community and organization, and how to work with the media and board. Furthermore, participants learn how Community Foundations leverage philanthropy to improve livability. They learn how community events and assets translate into income and tax revenue when tourism is a priority.

After completing three years of CDI, participants are well-prepared for the examination to become a Professional Community and Economic Developer.

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