CED Educators provide comprehensive assistance to counties and communities through economic development initiatives and customized strategic planning. For communities with no formal economic development organizations, CED Educators provide essential services that bring research-based community and economic development practices to even the smallest communities. For larger communities, CED Educators work collaboratively with existing networks to use university research to augment existing economic and community development efforts and support municipal or county economic development departments, economic development organizations, and chambers of commerce. Services and programs include customized planning and visioning, disaster mitigation planning for businesses and non-profits, proposal development, community engagement programs, and survey design and research.

  • Community Matters - Community members work with University of Illinois faculty and students to address local and regional issues and design a plan that fits locally defined objectives.
  • Customized Planning Processes - From planning for non-profits to multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation, Extension helps organizations, municipalities, and groups engage in participatory planning using best practices of community engagement and planning.
  • Community Survey - Guides community members as they design and implement a survey to assess the community and/or organization.
  • Create Bridges - a two-year pilot program designed to strengthen the economy of a rural, economically distressed region by building capacity in the retail, accommodations, tourism and entertainment sectors.
  • Community SWAP - Creates a structure for reciprocal visits between matched communities to identify high priority development initiatives and increase community involvement.
  • Disaster Mitigation Planning - We provide access to information on disaster preparedness and recovery for the communities across the state of Illinois. Information is available from the University of Illinois Extension, along with links to resources, including other disaster agencies, organizations, information networks, and funding sources.
  • Local Food Systems - Planning includes linking to campus research, conducting surveys, assessing economic opportunities, and defining approaches to local foods initiatives.
  • Community Broadband Development - Informational sessions on funding opportunities, broadband development education, and community cohort planning sessions are delivered in partnership with the Illinois Office of Broadband and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society. These resources help organizations and individuals plan, communicate, and build networks to enhance work towards their community broadband goals.

Program Highlights:

  • The Rural Peoria Coalition of Municipalities and Township (RPCCMT) is working with UI Extension CED Educator Kathie Brown and U of I Prof. Lara Browning in recreational planning efforts as one of many ways to support mutually beneficial community development initiatives for surrounding rural communities. Read the details and report.

Contact a Local Community and Economic Development Extension Professional to inquire about programming available to you and your community.