Apply now to host a fellow!

CEDAM, in partnership with MEDC, seeks communities engaged or certified in Redevelopment Ready Communities to host a community development fellow for a fifteen month placement, beginning June 2020. Fellows will support and advance community economic development goals. Fellow projects will improve organizational capacity, increase local collaboration, and remove barriers to development.

Last year, community development fellows worked in 11 communities and made a significant impact. 2019 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

Organizations interested in hosting a community development fellow for the 2020 cohort should:

Applications are due no later than 5:00pm on Friday, March 13, 2020.


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.

We look forward to bringing on a second cohort of fellows in summer 2020.