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Newton leaders graduate from economic development academy

Special Photo ---- Newton County leaders recently graduated from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development's 2013 Region 5 Multi-Day Training Program. Participants, displaying their graduation certifications, included, front from left, Keith Ellis, Hawnethia Williams, John Douglas, back from left, Bob Schwartz, Levie Maddox and James Flowers. Also shown are Mike Pennington, Georgia Economic Developers Association president; Niki Knox, Georgia EMC Senior Community Economic Development consultant; and Rope Roberts, Georgia Power Company Region Community and Economic development manager.

Special Photo ---- Newton County leaders recently graduated from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development's 2013 Region 5 Multi-Day Training Program. Participants, displaying their graduation certifications, included, front from left, Keith Ellis, Hawnethia Williams, John Douglas, back from left, Bob Schwartz, Levie Maddox and James Flowers. Also shown are Mike Pennington, Georgia Economic Developers Association president; Niki Knox, Georgia EMC Senior Community Economic Development consultant; and Rope Roberts, Georgia Power Company Region Community and Economic development manager.

A group of Newton County leaders recently graduated from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development's 2013 Region 5 Multi-Day Training Program. Newton participants included Bob Schwartz, Levie Maddox, James Flowers, Keith Ellis, Hawnethia Williams and John Douglas.

Class participants represented a number of professional and non-professional economic development fields, including elected officials, public servants, business leaders, educators, and social service providers from 12 counties in northeast Georgia. The Academy provided each of the graduates an opportunity to gain an understanding of the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional, and state levels.

The Academy assembles a cross section of economic development professionals and resources to provide this training in all 12 service delivery regions in Georgia. The Board of Directors of the Academy consists of 22 members representing public and private economic development organizations and agencies from across Georgia.

Since its organization, the Academy has provided training for thousands of professional and non-professional economic developers around the state, and since 1998 the Academy has been offered annually. Georgia EMC and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the program, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides staff support to this important program.

"One of the goals for the multi-day regional Academies is to encourage multi-county cooperation," said Corinne Thornton, director of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, in a press release. "Many times the participants discover the issues facing their community are the same as those facing other communities in their region, and can then combine limited resources to address the issue."

The Academy's multi-day program, taught one day a month over a four-month period, includes training in the basics of economic and community development, plus specialized segments on business recruitment and retention, tourism product development, downtown development, quality planning, redevelopment and other essentials for community success.

In addition, the curriculum features specific leadership skills such as consensus building, ethics in public service, collaborative leadership and other segments needed for community leadership in economic development.

Local elected officials receive certification training credits through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association for completion of this program.

The next Region 5 Georgia Academy for Economic Development will begin in February. For more information on this, call Kathy Papa at 770-362-7078 or by email at Kathy.papa@dca.ga.gov.