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Voinovich School and OEDA partner to offer Ohio Economic Development Institute

Daniel Kington
December 7, 2016

At the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) annual conference this fall, with a crowd of more than 300 people in attendance, the OEDA formally announced the launch of the Ohio Economic Development Institute (OEDI). OEDI is an economic development continuing education program offered by OEDA in partnership with JobsOhio and Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The program is designed to provide Ohio-centric economic development training to intermediate and advanced economic development professionals.  

At the time of the announcement, the program had been in development for over a year, with JobsOhio providing financial assistance as well as acting in an advisory capacity. The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs was selected by OEDA to lead the course and curriculum development for the program.

Jason Jolley, assistant professor of economic development at the Voinovich School, led the School’s involvement in the project.

“The Ohio Economic Development Institute will offer courses in areas that represent core responsibilities for most economic developers, while being centered on Ohio-specific content, programs, and practices,” Jolley said.

Paul Brehm, president of the OEDA board and economic development director for the city of Forest Park, said that he hopes the new institute will help economic development professionals strengthen the state.

“The efforts of economic development professionals at the local, regional and state level provide the fuel to keep Ohio’s economy growing,” Brehm said. “The Ohio Economic Development Institute will provide these leaders with the training and connections they need to stay ahead of the curve, create measurable results, and ultimately strengthen their communities. Working together, we can improve Ohio’s competitive position in the global economy.”

According to Jolley, the program will meet the needs of Ohio’s economic development professionals by focusing on critical economic development issues; responding to the particular needs of Ohio’s communities; reacting to emerging issues impacting economic development; and providing skills that can be immediately applied in communities and organizations. Because of the applied nature of the program and nontraditional teaching methods, it should provide real world solutions to the problems that participants face.

“The interactive delivery model, rather than traditional lecture-style, helps ensure that participants leave with immediately applicable knowledge,” Jolley said. “Each course is designed to take advantage of the teaching technique that is most effective given the course content. Some courses include expert panels and guest speakers while others include more small group activities, case studies, simulation exercises, and project work. The program builds on the Voinovich School’s content knowledge in applied economic development and practical approach to education.”

The program will offer four core courses: “Real Estate Development,” “Site Selection and Site Development,” “Finance and Incentives” and “Retention and Expansion.” Each course is an intensive two-day program, the first of which will be held in March. Upon completion of the four core courses and a capstone course, eligible participants receive the Ohio Certified Economic Developer credential.

“The certification ensures Ohio economic developers are on the cutting edge of economic development practice in the state and have the knowledge to leverage Ohio’s resources for economic growth and development,” Jolley said. “Economic developers need to be kept abreast of new trends, policy changes, and governance frameworks to be most effective in making their communities prosperous.”

This is not the Voinovich School’s first time working with the OEDA; in 2015, the School facilitated its board of directors retreat. Due to the existent relationship between the two entities, the OEDA invited the Voinovich School, among a small group of other universities, to respond to a request for proposals to develop the certification. The Voinovich School was selected as the OEDA’s partner on the project upon the completion of the interview process.

The first series of core classes will be offered at Ohio University’s Dublin Center. More information can be found here.