Mandy Owens, event coordinator at the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County, has completed all three years of the Community Development Institute’s program of study.

Owens was among the 40 people who were awarded graduation certificates at the 33rd annual CDI at the University of Central Arkansas on Aug. 2, according to a newsletter from the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“CDI trains community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organizations and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues,” according to the newsletter.

CDI is a three-year program, with one week of training per year.

“Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development,” according to the newsletter.

UCA at Conway is the birthplace for the CDI, which started in 1987 in partnership with Entergy, Southwestern Bell, and ARKLA. Since then, CDIs have been established in Texas, Idaho, Alabama, and Illinois, and a national governing and certification body, the Community Development Council, was created.