History and Mission
The Mission of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development
Started in 1993, the Georgia Academy's mission is to assist Georgia's leaders in their economic development efforts by providing an understanding of the critical processes, strategies and components involved in improving their local and regional economies and achieving economic success in today's global economy.
The Academy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with a Board of Directors representing over 20 statewide economic development organizations. It is this cadre of skilled and respected state leaders that provide the oversight, specialized knowledge and personnel resources to implement this broadly supported training program. The Board of Directors meets quarterly to review the programs and needs, ensuring a continued quality program for the State's elected and community leaders. A Curriculum Committee meets annually to update the program components, keeping it up-to-date with the latest strategies and information needed for successful community efforts.
In 1992, Governor Miller restructured the Governor's Development Council (GDC), adding nine private sector members and appointing a Chief Operating Officer, J. Mac Holliday. Regional meetings were held in each of the Council of Economic Development (CEDO) regions to provide information to the Governor and members of the GDC for development of a state economic development strategy. During these meetings, a common theme expressed by business leaders and economic development professionals was a need for economic development training for elected officials. Through the guidance of the GDC, a curriculum committee comprised of economic development officials, representatives of the municipal and county associations, and private sector individuals developed the Academy concept and a curriculum for a one-day economic development training program targeted to local elected officials. The curriculum was completed with input from focus groups consisting of city and county officials.
A board of directors was created to oversee the Academy training program. The Academy Board worked with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, to certify the one-day program, thus providing credits toward local elected official training requirements of their respective associations. Through an agreement these organizations, the one-day program is conducted four times per year.
As part of the CEDO process, leadership in each economic region of the state was asked to identify goals for improved economic development success. One region identified the need for a regional leadership program. A region representative contacted the GDC and requested assistance in establishing a regional program. The request was referred to the Academy board. Through consultation with the regional leadership, the concept of a multi-day Academy training program was developed, the Charter Class was held in Southeast Georgia in 1994 with a four-day program for both elected and other community leaders in the region. Further regional classes were held in other regions, funded by leaders and coordinated by leaders within that region, in succeeding years. In 1998, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (now the Department of Economic Development -DEcD) launched a regional program placing staff in every rural region of the state - their regional representatives began working with the Academy to offer this training on a sustained and regular basis.
In 2001, the Georgia Rural Development Council (GRDC) recommended a leadership development fund to the Georgia General Assembly, to build strong leaders in the State and assure economic success. As a part of this effort, funded by the legislature, a regional leadership training program was recommended. The Georgia Academy, by virtue of its sustained efforts already in place, was asked by the GRDC to design and implement regional leadership training as a part of the Academy regional program - this newly revised program was launched in 2002. By this time, the Academy was holding its regional program in at least six regions per year. Now, in the year 2011, the Academy offers the regional multi-day program in all twelve regions of the state annually.
The trained facilitation teams are provided at no charge to the Academy program by Georgia EMC, Georgia Power, DCA and DEcD. DCA also provides an executive director to coordinate the programs, and regional staff to provide recruitment and logistics support.
Since its beginning in 1994, the regional multi-day program has graduated over 3500 leaders - just over 1000 of these since the leadership components were added in 2002.
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