Ou Has Unique U.S. Economic Development Training Program / for State and Local Level
Paschal, Jan, THE JOURNAL RECORD
The Economic Development Institute, located at 1700 Asp Ave. on the University of Oklahoma campus, is the nation's only accredited training program for experienced professionals in the economic development field at the state and local level.
Yet only 22 of the institute's 851 graduates have been from Oklahoma, Gerald Ruffin, the institute's director, told the Legislative Committee on Economic Development.
"Maybe there is something to this business of not being recognized as a prophet in your own country," Ruffin said.
The demand for the type of training offered by the Economic Development Institute has grown to the point that the institute's first-year program will be offered April 13-18 at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, Ruffin said.
"I sold them on that," Ruffin said of the Cleveland connection.
"It gives us additional visibility," Ruffin said. "I marketed the program to four schools and Cleveland State bought it."
The Economic Development Institute is totally self-supporting and receives no state funds, Ruffin said.
"The business of economic development is very, very competitive," Ruffin said. "Although education isn't the only thing necessary for succeeding in economic development, it's a start."
The Economic Development Institute's program is designed to accommodate the working professional, the chamber of commerce executive, the director of a private or state development agency, or the bank officer or utility company executive whose job involves attracting new business to a community or encouraging existing firms to expand.
Edward J. Collins, president of the American Economic Development Council in Chicago, the private, non-profit organization that accredits the Economic Development Institute, said:
"To my knowledge, it's the only such in-depth training program for economic development professionals in the country. …