AAED’s 2014 Member of the Year, Susan Hyatt, has chaired the organization’s Professional Education Committee for the last two years, during which more than 600 people have participated in educational programs offered by AAED. For the last four years, she has worked with the committee to bring classes from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to Arizona. After facilitating six classes through the IEDC, Hyatt and AAED Executive Director Joyce Grossman brought the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam to the state in December.
It’s safe to say the Arizona Commerce Authority’s vice president of business expansion knows a thing or two or 10 about educating the state’s economic developers. She and a handful of other top-notch economic developers can now also boast being a part of the inaugural graduating class of Arizona Economic Development Professionals (AZED Pros).
The AZED Pro certification will be the first time the IEDC has held an exam separate from one of its conferences.
“I took the courses because I believe in the benefits of life-long learning,” she says. “As we grow professionally, we certainly become more knowledgeable and some of us may even be considered experts. However, there are always opportunities to learn more or gain a deeper, nuanced understanding of some facet of economic development. Also, economic development encompasses such a variety of topics and requires a broad skillset. Taking these courses helped to strengthen my knowledge in topic areas that I don’t cover in my day-to-day work.”
To become an AZED Pro, a professional must take two courses in four modules: Arizona’s Economy; Incentives and Business Assistance Programs; Arizona Taxation; and Marketing and Business Development. The courses can last anywhere between a half and full day and cost up to $150.
“One of the key components of all the courses are case studies, which provide participants reallife, often Arizona-specific, examples of the concepts discussed,” says Hyatt.
Hyatt calls AAED’s education opportunities one of the organization’s greatest contributions.
“The committee has done some great work and increased professional development opportunities in Arizona, especially during a time period when budgets, in both public and private organizations, have been tight and the ability to travel outside of the state to receive training has been extremely limited,” says Hyatt.