Education Possibilities for Economic Development

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Kayla McDonald, Business Development Manager for Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition, wanted to increase her knowledge of economic development and community building. With a growing population of entrepreneurs and start-ups in the area, she desired to provide them with the resources and assistance they needed in-house. To do so, she has been taking courses through the Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OEDI), with the ultimate goal being to receive her economic development certification.

The challenge? Where to get the money.

OEDI offers in-person training conferences and online courses. Kayla is taking classes online but also attended a training in April. This immersive five-day course was highly beneficial because in addition to providing hands-on training, it allowed her to network and meet other economic development professionals, many of whom have been in the industry for a decade or longer. These connections have proven to be valuable resources, able to answer questions, provide advice and share insights on what has or hasn’t worked within their own communities. Without attending the in-person training, these connections could never have been made. WEDA understands the incredible value of building relationship through in-person training conferences and helped to pay for Kayla to attend.

It's Easy to Apply for a WEDA Scholarship

To help pay for her OEDI training, Kayla applied for a WEDA scholarship.

“It was simple and only takes around an hour to complete. I went to the website, found the application and filled it out. You attach what they request about the cost of attendance, tuition, fees, etc. It was not complicated at all. I had to do a review of what I learned from the course when I returned, explaining how the course benefited me and what I intend to do with the information. It was that easy.”

Kayla went on to say…

“I received a phone call and email the next day, letting me know that my entire request has been approved. The money came right away – within a week or two. I had a really positive experience, will look to use the scholarship again and will definitely be an advocate for the program.”

Continuing Education Benefits Our Communities

The OEDI training program is providing Kayla with more in-depth knowledge of economic development principals, covering areas like finance, real estate redevelopment, business retention and expansion, and more. These courses are giving her the knowledge necessary to assist businesses in-house, in addition to referring them to partners like the local community college.

“These classes allow me to provide more resources within our own organization, which will grow our organization and the community. It will help our community to be more attractive for recruitment and drawing in businesses. I can help, coach and assist businesses directly in addition to getting support from community partners” said Kayla.

Professional Development Scholarship Program FAQ

This program is designed to assist professional economic development staff and those directly involved with the economic development efforts of their communities with training costs associated with their economic and community development work. 

  • As a general rule, scholarships will be limited to one per person, per organization, per year.

  • Scholarship awards are designated to cover 100% of full program tuition expenses in an approved program but a maximum of $500 of combined expenses (tuition/registration fees and eligible travel costs) for each program the member attends.

    • WEDA allows scholarships for two (2) professional trainings per calendar year if the member is seeking fast - track certification with IEDC, EDI, or NDC at their current registration rates, for a maximum of $1500/year.

  • The Development Scholarship Program is limited to available funding on a first - come, first - served basis.

  • Funds can be used for tuition, registration fees, training material, and travel expenses

Apply Today

There are several scholarship opportunities available through WEDA, including scholarships for WEDA conferences.

You can benefit from continuing your education and bringing additional knowledge and resources to your community. Once you have identified a training program, apply for a scholarship through WEDA. It is easy to do and you will get a response right away. Learn more or apply here.

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