CEDAM Fellows Training
By: Grace Crites, Research Assistant
The Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) prides itself in its commitment to leverage training education to support the creation and application of innovative economic development strategies throughout the state of Michigan. This March, CCED partnered with The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) to host a training event for CEDAM’s Fellowship program. The training specified the mission of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the vast opportunities to connect CEDAM’s Fellowship program to EDA-funded programs, grants, and initiatives.
Since its inception in 2018, CEDAM’s Community Development Fellowship program has successfully addressed a multitude of challenges faced by Michigan’s diverse communities. Each program year, CEDAM Fellows are placed in Michigan Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) for fifteen months and work on various projects and initiatives to promote community development, investment, and viability. For the 2021-22 program year, ten Fellows were selected to serve the following Michigan communities: Hancock, Kalkaska, Cheboygan, Big Rapids, Bridgeport Charter Township, Flint, Lansing, Coldwater, Tecumseh, and Ferndale. Although the Fellows have been stationed in their communities for just six months, opportunities to expand organizational capacity and remove barriers to development have already presented themselves as promising project initiatives. A trend has presented itself within the CEDAM Community Development Fellowship Program. Each program year, 100% of the Fellows report that they became skilled or expert in their ability to implement projects on partnership with local government. In addition, the majority of Fellows are inspired by their work and accomplishments that they go on to pursue employment, higher education, or volunteer programs to continue their passion for community and economic development.
The Community Development Fellowship program is managed by Sarah Teater, who contacted the Center for Community and Economic Development’s Comprehensive Economic Recovery Initiative (CERI) with the opportunity to host an informational event with representation from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), to educate CEDAM Fellows about the endless opportunities available for funding, employment, and collaboration. The Economic Development Representative for the state of Michigan, Lee Shirley, presented the mission of the EDA, opportunities for funding, and project eligibility. Shirley explained EDA’s mission of promoting innovations and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success, the inclusion in our worldwide economy are initiatives deemed valuable by the EDA. Throughout the presentation, it became apparent that EDA’s mission closely aligns with the goals of the CEDAM Fellowship program and their service in Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) throughout the state. Shirley also mentioned that each fiscal year, the EDA provides funding through four programs: Public Works Assistance, Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA), Planning Assistance, and Local Technical Assistance. The Fellows were able to ask questions to Lee about the programs and opportunities for funding within their respective communities. In addition to the EDA training, the Fellows were also able to hear from CCED’s very own Mary Zumbrunnen, Assistant Director and a former CEDAM Fellow herself. Zumbrunnen explained additional opportunities for involvement and funding through the MSU Center for Regional Economic Innovation, an EDA-funded University Center, and advised Fellows to utilize their network and resources. Associate Director of CCED, John Melcher also educated the Fellows with the history of the Center and community and economic development in the state of Michigan.
The Fellows left the presentation with the knowledge and resources to expand their horizons in terms of federal funding opportunities through the EDA. As an organization that promotes the fostering of community and economic development and growth, this opportunity to inform the Fellows about the opportunity available to them was extremely rewarding and appreciated by both parties.
We also wanted to extend our appreciation to Sarah Teater and the CEDAM Fellows for giving us the opportunity to interact and inform, as well as Lee Shirley for his time and insight.
If you or your organization is interested in learning more about this event or opportunities with the Economic Development Administration, Regional Economic Innovation (REI), or the Comprehensive Economic Recovery Initiative (CERI), please contact Nathaniel Hooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.