Top 5 Reasons to Become a Georgia Certified Economic Developer

March 11, 2016 | Training & Education

By Guest Blogger J.R. Charles

J.R. Charles

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Georgia Certified Economic Developer

In today's fast-paced world, we constantly find ourselves needing more and more professional development. We must keep a step ahead of everyone else if we're going to make our communities attractive to the rest of the world. That's why it's so important to take time and invest not only in ourselves but our communities as well. Just recently, the University of Georgia, through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, launched a new professional development program for dedicated members of the economic development profession. The new Georgia Certified Economic Developer program provides a way to obtain professional certification right here in Georgia.

Out of the many reasons this program is beneficial, here are five reasons why I think you need to become a Georgia Certified Economic Developer.

  1. Earn your certificate from UGA, one of the best public universities in the country. What's more impressive than having that University of Georgia certificate on your office wall? I attended Georgia to get a world-class education that could take me anywhere. Whether it's traveling around town or around the world, I'm always proud to be a part of the Bulldog Nation. If you're like me and you've already gone to UGA, you know the value of a quality education. Why not get certified by that same institution for your continuing professional development?


  2. Learn about economic development topics that are relevant to Georgia. We all know that certain programs apply to particular areas, and resources vary from state to state. By keeping the training relevant to Georgia, we will learn the best practices that we can actually use in this state and geared toward our community's specific situation.


  3. Topics have immediate application, so it will make you better at your job NOW. Your investment in the GCED program provides immediate ROI in your current role. Being able to apply what you learn as you learn it will allow you to capitalize on opportunities that come your way today!


  4. No exam. You complete a capstone project, which can be something that directly improves and benefits your community. Who has time to sit for an exam and then anxiously wait to see if you pass? By completing a capstone project instead of an exam, you are able to put what you learn in the program to actual use instead of learning it just to prepare for an exam. I can't speak for you, but I learn best by doing. I consider this a win for me and my community.


  5. It only takes 3 years, and it adds an incredible advantage to your resume. As Denise Taylor, MBA, points out in this article, "We never know when we may have to compete against those who are more recently qualified." Since the classes are conveniently located in various regions around the state and offered at opportune times, you can complete the program on a timely basis without having to complete the courses in a certain order. This will allow you to update your resume sooner rather than later.

These are more than reason enough for me to get started. I will attend the Financing Economic Development & Deal Structuring class in Athens in June and hope to see you there!

J.R. Charles has worked in economic development for more than eight years working in a variety of positions in Northeast and Southeast Georgia. Currently, he serves as the economic development director for Oconee County, Georgia. His professional experience includes local government, chambers of commerce, and industrial development authorities. J.R. received his degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in 2005.