Community Development Fellowship

CEDAM manages the Community Development Fellowship with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Fellows are placed in communities engaged or certified in Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) for fifteen months and work on a variety of projects to expand organizational capacity, increase local collaboration, and remove barriers to development.

NOW RECRUITING HOST SITE COMMUNITIES

CEDAM is seeking 10 communities to host a fellow for the 2021-2022 cohort. Eligible applicants are municipalities engaged and in good standing in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s RRC Program and can be working toward Essentials, Certification, or already Certified. Fellows will start a 15-month placement in October 2021 and will increase capacity to support RRC engagement and community economic development projects.

Learn more about the fellow role and current community projects below:

Meet the 2020-21 Fellows

Program History: A 2018-19 Program Overview

CEDAM’s Community Development Fellowship came to fruition in 2018 to help address common challenges Michigan’s diverse communities face: A lack of sufficient capacity to achieve their economic development potential.

As Project Rising Tide communities graduated from Round 1, their feedback echoed this sentiment. With added capacity, the technical assistance offered to them could have made a greater impact. With that, the Community Development Fellowship was born through state funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a partnership with Round 2 Project Rising Tide communities.

Ten fellows were hired in late 2018 to work in the 11 Rising Tide communities (region 5 shared a fellow between two communities). They worked with, and often facilitated, a local Steering Committee made up of key leaders and decision makers. The fellows played an important role in managing technical assistance offered to the communities, and spearheading projects or funding proposals to address community needs and desires.

To develop and retain community development professionals for the field in Michigan—an important goal of the fellowship—CEDAM held monthly webinars and brought the fellows together for training on a range of topics, including working with boards and commissions, managing conflict, meeting facilitation, and social media 101 for local governments. Fellows also attended conferences across the state to learn and network.

In a post-fellowship survey, 100% of fellows reported that they are skilled or an expert in their:

  • Understanding of community economic development;
  • Ability to implement projects in partnership with local government; and
  • Ability to access financial and technical resources for a community project

As the fellowship year ended in December 2019, three of the fellows had the opportunity to remain in their communities and continue implementation of projects that were started. Another fellow was hired in municipal government as a village administrator. Inspired by their work this year, all of the fellows are pursuing employment, higher education, or volunteer opportunities that allow them to make a positive impact on communities.

A snapshot of 2019 fellow impacts include:

  • Secured $944,000 in funding for communities
  • Engaged 5,000+ stakeholders, including community residents, commissions, and small businesses
  • Engaged 710 volunteers who contributed 3,100 hours of service