Thursday, October 21, 2010

EDC is launching citizens academy

By Joy Campbell, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010 12:12 AM CDT

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. is launching a citizens academy this winter.

The academy, which EDC President Nick Brake says is intended to encourage public involvement in and understanding of economic development, will be the third such venue for public engagement.

The city of Owensboro has one, and so does the Owensboro Police Department.

The EDC's plan is to accommodate all residents who sign up. Brake expects to see interest in the sessions, but he doesn't think the numbers will be unmanageable.

"I think there will be a lot of interest; jobs are always a concern," Brake said. "And economic development has changed considerably in recent years."

The EDC will use the city's two programs as a model, offering three two-hour sessions from January to March.

Participants can expect to learn more about the strategies and ideas of modern economic development including a behind-the-scenes look at the EDC's process.

They also will talk with business leaders about the economy and visit the Centre for Business and Research and other EDC resources.

Brake hopes the academy will yield ambassadors for the EDC and have success similar to the city's programs.

The second goal is to inform.

"There are a lot of things nowadays that can be done to promote economic development by the average person sitting at a computer," Brake said. "We live in a networked world, and you never know when somebody may have an interest in investing in Owensboro or marketing Owensboro."

The citizens academy is an outgrowth of the EDC's strategic plan process that involved meetings with target groups and the public, board chairman Rod Kuegel said.

It is expected to be an annual program.

The EDC is a public-private partnership with an annual budget of about $600,000. About half of its budget is from public dollars. In recent years, the private sector has contributed about $150,000 to $200,000.

Joy Campbell, 691-7299, jcampbell@messenger-inquirer.com

To Attend

To sign up for the new Economic Development Corp. Citizens Academy, visit www.edc.owensboro.com or call 926-4339.