A Curriculum that Trains
the Mind to Think

The partner universities have developed a core curriculum that specifically addresses the demands of our complex profession. AEDL relies on experienced faculty, industry practitioners, business leaders and the country’s foremost site consultants to present leading-edge strategies and techniques necessary to succeed in the evolving world of quality job creation.

Areas of Focus Include:

  • Sound leadership
  • Disruptive economic development
  • Innovation
  • Project management
  • Negotiation
  • Global challenges
  • Moneyball economic development
  • Communication/media training
  • Marketing in a social media world
  • Managing change
  • The broad execution of economic development
  • Lessons from Mega-projects
  • and more!

“A nicely structured, professional learning and networking experience to engage with like-minded economic development practitioners.”

Jay SchwedlerSumter, South Carolina Economic Development

“AEDL convenes some of the best economic development professionals from across the country to interact and learn from one another's knowledge and experience. AEDL not only equips its participants with meaningful tools to improve teamwork and working relationships but also zeros in on the critical issues that economic developers have to face in our daily work. After almost 20 years in the economic development sector, I found AEDL to be a motivating and refreshing experience!”

Jody Alan LassiterDaville-Boyle County EcD Partnership

“AEDL provides an interactive classroom learning experience from experts in economic development. Your classmates are seasoned professionals from many different community and regional settings who will share their experiences and techniques in solving some of our industry's challenging real-life situations. Networking is a valuable tool at AEDL as we learn that, even though we are from different settings, we commonly share many of the same issues and problems. Working on a team paired with different personality types teaches you to take every team member's opinion into consideration when working to solve the case study problems assigned to your team with a well-rounded answer. This is further enhanced in the open classroom setting when discussing potential answers to each case study.”

Roy BakerOpportunity Florida
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A Hands-On Learning Approach

Hands-on learning is the foundation of the Advanced Economic Development Leadership program with evolving economic and community development issues taught through an experiential, applied learning approach.

With limited lectures and no tests, AEDL immerses participants in a collaborative, team-centric approach that fosters learning through exploration, debate, exercises and team competition. The program attracts practitioners from across the U.S. bringing a wide range of thought, ideas and experiences to these sessions. Through this approach and the diversity of thought represented, participants often learn as much from interaction with fellow professionals as they do from faculty instruction.

“I had an incredibly beneficial experience going through AEDL. As someone who has been in the field for several years, it was great to review some legacy topics and learn new ones. I especially appreciated the media training and strategy discussions. I found it to be one of the more thought-provoking economic development programs.”

Subash Alias
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Program Topics

Crisis Management for EcD Professionals

Professionals face unexpected crisis that impact the economic vitality of a community. It could be a historic pandemic or the unexpected closing of a major industry. How we handle these events quite often determine how the community recovers.

The Rainforest Application featuring author Victor Hwang

The Rainforest is a seminal book on entrepreneurship and this session featuring the author will examine principles for job creation in communities and lessons for initiating a successful virtual or brick incubator.

Talent Challenges and Opportunities

Given the past pandemic year, workforce challenges are more complex than ever. More workers, often not fully trained, are out of work presenting the opportunities to grow the workforce pipeline through targeted local training. This session examines pathways to grow and retrain the skilled workforce to retain and support existing businesses and compete for quality new companies.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – A Class Book Session

Patrick Lencioni’s classic book is the foundation for this session that focuses on the importance of teams within the organization and the community. Trust, conflict resolution, commitment, accountability and results-focus apply to every organization.

Effective Negotiation Strategies

Negotiation – something that professional economic developers do on a daily basis. This interactive session examines negotiation techniques and strategies that can be applied in project management, staff and community interaction and everyday decisions.

Managing Change in Turbulent Times

Leaders can influence change for economic success, even in uncertain and turbulent times. This session explores the importance and inevitability of change and how professionals can channel change into positive action.

Strategic Planning: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Best and not so good practices can offer valuable lessons for developing community strategic plans that work. This session examines strategic plans from the class members with examples and principles that every size community can employ.

Addressing EcD Organization’s Revenue Challenges

With the pandemic impacting many funding streams, organizations are facing unexpected revenue challenges. This class requested session explores creative ways to enhance EDO funding and the importance of a well-prepared and executed funding strategy.

Site Selection in the New Normal

Site selection may never be the same. The evolution and use of technology and virtual interaction has emphasized the importance of websites, marketing, good virtual skills and creative ways to interact with decision-makers. A premier site consultant takes the class through the evolution and how communities MUST adapt to be successful.

The Crystal Ball: Economic Development in 2025

A new session for AEDL, one of the country’s chief economists examines the impact of COVID, national unrest, global uncertainty and forecasts the nation’s economy over the next 3-5 years. This session will also look at the serious consequences for rural America.

Moneyball Economic Development

With the dramatic shift to virtual site selection the emphasis becomes data, more data and the right data. This session explores the importance of an organization’s data selection, efficient targeting and effective marketing in today’s technology-driven world.

The Essence of Perfect Planning

This new session explores proven lessons on event planning, recruiting and trade show preparation in the New Normal. With marketing budgets tight and new strategies required. this session uses real life examples of how to be effective and achieve results as we eventually move into in-person events with COVID protocols.

Is Retail Real Economic Development?

Thousands of retail jobs and hundreds of restaurants have been lost during the pandemic, impacting every community in America. This new session examines the latest retail trends, analytics and how they fit into an overall community economic strategy.

Buffalo Hunting in a New Global Environment

Industry or business hunting evolved even before the pandemic caused even more change. There are valuable lessons from well-known selection decisions that apply to every community that has business attraction as a key job creation strategy.

Electric Utility’s Role in Job Creation

Every EDO needs partners and resources. This class requested topic evaluates successful ways utilities and other partners can enhance community growth strategies with valuable resources, expertise, service-area engagement and leadership.

Media Relations and Public Speaking

Effective communication with local media, stakeholders, social media and through public presentations are essential in today’s job creation environment. This is so important to successful economic development professionals that we devote a half-day training on media relations and another half-day on public speaking and presentations, including 3-minute speeches to the class by each class member.