University Economic Development Association


Georgia Certified Economic Developer Program

Award Category: Talent+Place
Project Site: Georgia Certified Economic Developer Program
Submitted By: University of Georgia
Contact: Jennifer Nelson, 706.201.6095

Case Study

In an effort to be responsive to Georgia’s economic development needs, the University of Georgia (UGA) developed the Georgia Certified Economic Developer Program (GCED). This was developed specifically to help economic developers improve their effectiveness and performance. The GCED program is offered through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a public service and outreach unit of the UGA, and tailored to the requirements of those working for an organization in an economic development capacity. 

Research conducted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s faculty experienced in the field of economic development, along with input from subject matter experts, provides the essential high quality training curriculum needed by economic development professionals to effectively compete in today’s global economy. The certification is awarded to economic development professionals upon successful completion of all course requirements and a capstone project.

Uniquely designed, the GCED program offers economic developers the opportunity to achieve their certification more cost-effectively, as courses are taught in central locations around Georgia, and timely, within a two to three year period. The courses offer practical, skills-based training with immediate application. The program design is grounded in a competency cluster framework that reflects internationally recognized skills and abilities.

Since the launch in 2016, participants from over half of Georgia’s 159 counties have enrolled in GCED classes. In September 2017, the University of Georgia awarded the first GCED designation followed by four additional recipients in May 2018. The certifications are awarded at the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) Annual Meeting and Spring Workshop. 

Finalist Presentation

UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists presented at the Annual Summit in Milwaukee on October 22 and 23, 2018. Summit attendees then voted for the best initiative in each category.