The NADO Research Foundation’s Economic Development District Training Program

The NADO Research Foundation has received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to conduct a one-year training program for Economic Development Districts (EDDs). The goal of the program is to provide EDD staff members with the education and skills required to lead a high-performing EDD. In addition, the training program is an opportunity to create a peer network across the Austin Regional Office service area that can add value to EDD activities long after the training program is finished.

Who is eligible to apply?

We are targeting early to mid-career planners and program coordinators who are interested in advancing their careers and aspiring to serve as an executive director of an EDD. However, any employee of an EDD located in the Austin Regional Office service area (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) is eligible to apply as long as he or she is responsible for creating and implementing the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and related program activities.

How many people will participate in the training program?

The number of participants will depend on level of interest, quality of applications, and available funding.

How will participants be selected?

Participants will be selected through a competitive application process. The NADO Research Foundation will form an advisory committee of EDD executive directors to help make final decisions.

Do we have to be a member of NADO to apply?

No. Staff members of all EDDs located in the EDA Austin Regional Office service area are eligible to apply.

How do I apply?

Applicants must submit a resume and a letter to the selection committee. The letter must include answers to the following questions:

  • Why are you applying to the program?
  • What is your experience creating and implementing a CEDS?
  • How would you describe a high-performing EDD?
  • What are strengths and weaknesses of your EDD?
  • How do you define economic development?

Applications should be emailed to Brian Kelsey, economic development consultant for the NADO Research Foundation, at [email protected].

Is there an application fee?

Yes, the application fee is $100. Application fees are payable by check to the NADO Research Foundation and should be mailed to the following address:

NADO Research Foundation
Attn: Laurie Thompson
400 N. Capitol Street, NW
Suite 390
Washington, DC 20001

 Please note “EDD Training Program application fee” on your check.

When are applications due?

Applications are due by June 1, 2015.

How will trainings be delivered?

The training program will feature in-person workshops and remote learning through webinars, conference calls, etc. The program will include at least four in-person workshops over the course of 2015-16 at various sites of EDA investments around the EDA Austin Regional Office service area.

When will trainings be scheduled?

The NADO Research Foundation will coordinate scheduling with participants selected for the program and the EDDs hosting the in-person meetings. We anticipate scheduling trainings on a quarterly basis, starting in summer or fall of 2015.

Will travel be paid for?

Yes. The NADO Research Foundation will reimburse participants for travel costs. Instructions will be provided on eligible expenses and reimbursement process.

What topics will be covered in the trainings?

Trainings will focus on several aspects of economic development and leading an effective EDD. Topics may include: how to identify and leverage your EDD’s competitive advantage in a regional ecosystem; how to create and implement a high-quality, high-impact CEDS that takes advantage of the flexibility offered in EDA’s new CEDS guidelines; how to identify, design, and implement successful projects leveraging public-private partnerships (deal-making); and organizational development and leadership training. Trainings will be a combination of classroom-style learning and in-depth analysis of the EDA-funded projects serving as host sites for the trainings. Webinars will be planned throughout the year to follow-up on training material and potentially introduce other topics that can be addressed in a remote learning environment.

Who will lead the trainings?

Brian Kelsey is coordinating this training program on behalf of the NADO Research Foundation. He will be the lead trainer and will bring in subject matter experts to serve as co-trainers. Representatives of the host EDDs and their partnering organizations will lead presentations about the EDA-funded projects.

What is the total time commitment for participants?

We are anticipating two days for each in-person training and potentially one webinar between in-person trainings. Factoring in travel time, participants should expect to commit between 80 and 100 hours over the course of one year (2015-16).

Will participation count toward any type of certification or continuing education?


Will participants be recognized in any way for completing the training?

Yes. The NADO Research Foundation will explore several possibilities, such as featuring participants and their EDDs on the NADO website, recognizing participants at NADO conferences, organizing panels or events at the SouthWest Region Directors Association annual meeting, and working with EDA staff on a story to be included in the agency’s monthly email newsletter.

Will this training program be offered in other EDA regions?

This training program is a pilot project limited to the EDA Austin Regional Office service area. However, if the program is successful, our hope is that it can be replicated in other EDA regions.

Please direct any questions to or comments to Brian Kelsey at [email protected] or 512-731-7851.




Applications cannot be saved and returned to at a later time. It is recommended you compile all of your information in advance in a word processor and cut and paste into the application below.

2023 Impact Awards

The primary applicant must be a NADO member. Project partners, both NADO and non-members, can be recognized under "Project Partners" below.

Primary Project Contact:
This person will be the designated point of contact for all future awards-related correspondence.

Organization Address

Project Location (if different from Organization Address)

Executive Director

Additional Organizational Information
Please upload your organization's logo which will be included on the winning project award certificate.

Project Information
This title will be printed on the award certificate for winning projects and in all 2022 NADO Impact Award materials and cannot be changed.

Project Summary & Questions
Please craft clear, thoughtful, and engaging responses to the following questions. Use the following sections to tell us how your project has made an impact, such as its use of creative funding mechanisms, efforts to create efficiencies or reduce costs, unique partnership models, and emphasis on building resilience and/or enhancing your region's quality of life.

For award-winning projects, the information provided below may be used verbatim to inform project descriptions that will be published in the 2023 NADO Impact Awards materials and included on the NADO website.

Please submit at least one photo showing your project in action. Please keep file size to a minimum (<2Mb) and use JPEG format. If uploading multiple files, ZIP files prior to submitting. If you have trouble uploading images they can be directly emailed to Brett Schwartz at [email protected] Include the project title they correspond to in the subject line of your email.

Note: Submitted photos may be used in NADO Impact Awards materials and in other NADO published materials with credit to your organization. Please also consider submitting photos for NADO's 2023 Photo Contest, which will be held this summer.

Your application is not submitted until you are directed to a confirmation page. If you have any questions or are unsure if your application has been submitted, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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