By: Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, IN—Ball State’s Indiana Communities Institute held its 37th Annual Economic Development Course at the Horizon Convention Center, January 13-18th.
The Indiana Communities Institute addresses the modern challenges of economic development through community-based strategies for sustainable growth. The institute’s efforts focus on strengthening communities throughout Indiana, and serves as a model for university economic development efforts across the nation. The institute is focused on improving the quality of life in communities through its Primacy of Place initiative.
Their week-long Indiana Economic Development Course—the official “basic course” for the State of Indiana—offered intensive training in the basic concepts, methods, and strategies of economic, industrial, business, entrepreneurial, workforce, and community development. It was a comprehensive educational experience in the theory and practice of holistic approaches to building and sustaining vibrant communities.
According to Brian Blackford, project manager of the Indiana Communities Institute, 54 individuals attended the conference. The course is accredited by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). It fulfills one of the prerequisites for those who wish to take the examinations for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation. Successful completion also qualifies participants for admission to the Economic Development Institute.
Topics covered included: Strategic planning, real estate redevelopment and reuse, business retention and expansion, economic development finance and much more.
Blackford said the Ball State program likes to connect Ball State resources to communities around the state. “We do that in a variety of ways such as sharing expertise, sharing research, helping to drive policy discussions and ways to put “community” first. We have a sister agency at Ball State called the Office of Community Engagement, and often they will take on local initiatives in Muncie and Delaware County.”
Blackford said the course has been offered at the Horizon Center for over a decade. “The Horizon Convention Center is just great,” he said. “We love coming to the Horizon Convention Center. We like that it’s in Muncie, home of Ball State. Being in this historic building is great—the sense of place, the environment, the fact that we can break out into different rooms for programs is helpful. The attached Courtyard by Marriott hotel is wonderful and many of our attendees tried out some of the new restaurants downtown. The Horizon Convention Center is a great asset to Muncie.”
Centrally located in a thriving downtown atmosphere, Horizon Convention Center connects personalized service and expertise to fulfill your custom convention, wedding, or event needs. Your guests will love the heart of Muncie!