Education has long been recognized as an important tool for social change. This is particularly the case in democratic societies that seek to create empowered and self-sufficient individuals and communities. Societies that fail to create an informed and active citizenry are at best doomed to make ill-informed decisions regarding community issues, and at worst may be subject to the will of an informed elite whose actions dictate the nature of our communities. An educated and aware public facilitates sound decision-making and preserves the democratic values of self-determination and individual responsibility. Through educational training opportunities, communities can gain access to needed information.

Since the 1970s, the CCED has organized and hosted, with the support of communities and organizations across the state, well over 150 conferences, workshops and seminars. These are generally non-formal, adult educational activities that assist individuals and organizations in gaining the skills and information essential to solving specific issues. The content and format of such training programs are determined, through a participatory planning process, by the community itself. Past training events have examined critical community development issues ranging from leadership development, increasing home ownership, and community and economic development, to national and state public policies affecting the quality of life in our communities. The instructors/presenters are drawn from among practitioners in the community with important knowledge/skills, as well as from the academic and public policy community.

Participants in training programs gain relevant skills in specific areas, increase their awareness and understanding of the causes of particular issues, are often able to identify alternative solutions to a particular problem, and learn about strategies to mobilize the resources necessary to implement successful community development projects. Recently, the CCED has hosted a number of "teleconferencing" events utilizing modern telecommunications technologies with community-based groups to facilitate the exchange of information and skills across the state and the nation.