Community Development Institute
April 2 - 5, 2019


To Register, click here

Improving Communities and Increasing Opportunities

Never before has the practice of community development been more important than it is today. As the world grows smaller through the increased use of global communications, communities of all sizes are finding their boundaries are expanding beyond their city limits. CDI California provides practical, interactive, and comprehensive training designed to meet the needs of economic and community development professionals working in a fast paced environment. CDI California builds the capacity of individuals and communities to effectively and positively impact economic and social development

Who Should Attend?

Participants include community and economic development practitioners, city, county and state officials and community volunteers, non-profit staff and board members, chamber staff, private industry, municipal districts, and academics will find the Institute a valuable learning tool for the development of individual and community leadership skills. Attendees will expand their ability to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration, and respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.


The complete program consists of three, one-week training sessions.  In addition to learning from successful practitioners, CDI also offers valuable networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.  Each CDI site offers the core curriculum courses listed below in addition to other course offerings based on site needs and demographics.


Year 1 (Offered in 2019)

Focus is on the foundations of community development and includes group simulations providing participants with a better understanding of the challenges and benefits of a community development approach.


  • Asset-Based Community Development Community

In this session, participants learn the difference between an asset-based and need-based approach to development. A perspective that emphasizes assets, rather than deficiencies, creates more momentum for positive change. Participants become familiar with the different types of assets utilized in communities and learn techniques to identify assets in their own communities. 


  • Community Development Practice

This session emphasizes the importance of undertaking a community assessment early in the development process, that is, prior to strategic planning. Participants learn the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) approach and how to gather both qualitative and quantitative information about their community. The session explains the need to conduct assessments, how they fit into the overall development process, and best practices in assessing communities. Examples of community assessments and their use. 


  • Community Development Simulation

In this session, community development is defined as both a process and an outcome and the relationship between economic development and community development is explained.  The role of the community developer is discussed, especially as it affirms the core values of the discipline.  Finally, participants examine a case study in which they must consider which process is preferable for effective community development.


  • Community Visioning and Strategic Planning

This session describes a powerful approach to harnessing change in a community; strategic visioning and planning. First, the difference between visioning and planning is defined and participants learn the steps to implementing a strategic visioning and planning process. Next, the role of the facilitator in the process is outlined. Examples of community visions, goals, and objectives are provided. Finally, participants learn of ways to move into implementation to ensure that the process leads to measurable outcomes.


  • Economic Development Basics
  • Team Building and Group Decision Making Development Assessments

In this session, participants experience team building through interactive exercises.  They learn about the different types of teams and gain an understanding of how effective teams are structured and operated.  Furthermore, they learn about collaborative techniques in working with larger groups and various ways to facilitate decision-making in groups.


Year 2 (Offered in 2019)

Emphasis is placed on the “nuts and bolts” of implementing economic development strategies, including business attraction, expansion and retention, and entrepreneurship. Overview of commercial and industrial development projects and group simulations are learning tools for this course.

  • Building Entrepreneurial Communities
  • Business Retention and Expansion
  • Business Site Selection Process
  • Community and Economic Development Finance
  • Understanding Community Economies


Year 3 (Tentatively Scheduled for 2020)

Focus is on implementing the knowledge gained in previous years plus acquiring skills in leadership, marketing and organizing the community development effort.

  • Establishing and Managing Local Development Organizations
  • Marketing Your Community
  • Measuring Progress
  • Workforce Planning and Development
  • Best Practices


PCED Certification (after completing Years 1 - 3)

Enhance your career by becoming a Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED). CDI helps prepare you for this nationally-recognized certification offered through the Community Development Council (CDC). Application and eligibility information are available at Pre-registration for the exam is required 45 days in advance. The PCED is optional and not required for CDI attendance.


Registration and Attendance 

The cost to attend CDI California is $600. Registration fee covers training, participant materials, and breakfast, lunch and refreshment breaks daily. Accommodations and other food costs are the responsibility of the participant. All sessions will be held at:

California State University, Fresno
University Business Center
5245 N. Backer Ave, Fresno, CA 93740-8001
Tel. (559) 278-2352

Attendance at all sessions is required to earn full credit. If a participant misses more than 10 percent of the course sessions, credit for course completion will not be given. Completion of CDI earns one PCED certification or re-certification point.

Register here


CDI Across the Nation

CDI California is part of a national network of training sites endorsed by the Community Development Council (CDC), a nationally-recognized, non-profit organization with the mission of advancing the practice and profession of community development. For more information about the CDC and CDI site locations visit