Wisconsin Economic Development Academy Update: Kathy Heady, Academy Manager

The sun is shining as I write this Academy update.  Surely a good sign for 2021.  I am hopeful that we will get to see each other in person at the 2021 WEDA Fall Conference and pre-conference Academy program.  At this time, we will be continuing to hold our programs virtually.  A comprehensive set of affordable quality educational programs is being developed for 2021.  The full schedule is now available at http://www.weda.org/spotlight/academy/.  The schedule includes four introductory/fundamentals webinars and 2 comprehensive programs.

The 2021 schedule will kick off on February 3 with the Fundamentals of Business Retention webinar. This course will provide an understanding of the value of business retention and expansion (BRE) programs and help build knowledge essential for launching or improving a program.  Essential program components will be explored, including business visitation best practices.  Course instructors include two experienced economic development professionals: James Otterstein, CEcD, Economic Development Manager, Rock County, WI, and Victoria Pratt, CEcD, Executive Director, JCEDC and President, ThriveED. Registration is available at the link above.

On March 24, the Academy will host a comprehensive program – The Evolving Commercial Real Estate Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Communities.  This course will explore impacts of the pandemic and other trends on the retail, office, manufacturing, and warehousing markets. It will also answer the following questions: 1.) What are the potential challenges and what are the opportunities for communities?; and 2.)  What do communities need to know to be prepared?  Registration should be open for this exciting program in the next couple of weeks.

The Academy Webinar – Business Attraction: Selling Your Community Assets, will be held on April 8.  This session will discuss the essentials of responding to business attraction requests for proposals (RFP) or requests for information (RFI).  Two additional webinars will be held in 2021, Managing Economic Development Organizations on August 11 and Placemaking: Creating Your Quality Place on November 10.  A comprehensive program, Workforce Development: Overcoming Barriers – Building Opportunities, will be held on September 29 just prior to the WEDA Fall Conference.

In the fall of 2020, I created an Academy Committee of WEDA members to provide input on programming for 2021. I want to thank committee members Daniel Lindstrom, AICP, City of DePere; Jenny Kuderer-Radcliffe, CEcD, Dairyland Power Cooperative; Brittany Beyer, Grow North Economic Development Corporation; Maysee Herr, Hmong Chamber; and Patrick Schloss, City of West Allis.

I hope that you will be able to join us for one or more of these exciting and affordable educational opportunities.  As a reminder, be sure to look for approved credits/points for continuing education/recertification on the course registration information. Please reach out to me at kheady@weda.org if you have any program ideas or recommendations or if you are interested in serving as an instructor.