Roy Baker, Business Development Coordinator for Opportunity Florida, recently completed the Advanced Economic Development Leadership (AEDL) program. AEDL is a two-week executive education course developed by four partner universities (University of Alabama, Clemson University, Texas Christian University, University of Southern Mississippi).
At graduation ceremonies in Kansas City, Missouri, graduates were awarded the Economic Development Master Practitioner diploma.
The Advanced program is an experiential course that explores economic development subjects that impact communities and states across the U.S. Instructors include site consultants, business leaders, nationally known subject experts and university professors. This world-class faculty discusses negotiation, communication, workforce/education, project management, community development, influencing change, international trade/foreign direct investment and other key subjects that impact quality job creation.
According to Baker, the class was an invaluable learning experience. “The Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program has great teachers who use real world experience to instill and incite the class into deeper considerations of problem solving. We learn more about ourselves, others, and how to incorporate team methods toward improving our communities and regions for our citizens,” he noted.
Opportunity Florida is a rural regional economic development organization dedicated to aiding its member counties in job creation and retention of businesses and employees. The organization has grown to ten counties and one city in Northwest Florida since its original eight-county designation in 2000. The ten rural counties (Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla, (North) Walton, Washington, and the city of Freeport) have been designated by the Governor as a “Rural Area of Opportunity.” This designation allows for certain benefits and waivers not afforded to more populous affluent urban counties.
Baker has been in his role with Opportunity Florida since June of 2016. Previously he served at the Jackson County Development Council for 15 years.