Community Development Institute | Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives

Community Development Institute

The Community Development Institute (CDI) began at the University of Central Arkansas in 1987, with the goal of equipping community leaders and economic development professionals with the tools and strategies they needed to create vibrant, successful communities. Thirty years later, CDI is still the go-to resource for training.


For five days each year, professionals from Arkansas and surrounding states come to CDI for applied training in community and economic development. Experienced practitioners provide attendees with practical tools and techniques that they can take back to their communities to make an immediate difference. The CDI experience is a three-year training program, with one week of training per year.

While attending CDI, participants learn to:

  • Identify community assets
  • Set goals, collaborate, and build partnerships
  • Bring together diverse groups of people to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues

Other benefits of attending CDI include:

  • Shared learning experiences and networking opportunities with other community and economic development professionals from Arkansas and surrounding states
  • Enhanced personal leadership skills
  • The opportunity to seek a professional certification

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