By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Local commission-elect graduates from academy
Swafford Graduates pic
Graduating from Dawson County on Nov. 13 (shown with facilitators Rope Roberts, Georgia Power Company and Niki Knox, Georgia EMC) was James Swafford, District 2 Commissioner-Elect. - photo by Photo/Submitted

The board of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development recently announced the local graduates from the 2008 Region 2 Multi-Day Training Program. 


Class participants represented a number of professional and non-professional economic development fields, including elected officials, public servants, business leaders, educators and social service providers, from 12 counties and nine cities in North Georgia. 


The academy provided each of the graduates an opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional and state levels.


Graduating from Dawson County on Nov.13 was James Swafford, District 2 Commissioner-Elect.


Created in 1993 by then-Governor Zell Miller’s Development Council, the Academy assembles a cross section of economic development professionals and resources to provide this training in all 12 service delivery regions in Georgia. 


The board of directors of the academy consists of 29 members representing public and private economic development organizations and agencies from across Georgia.  Since its organization, the academy has provided training for thousands of professional and non-professional economic developers around the state, and since 1998 the academy has been offered annually.


“One of the goals for the multi-day regional academies is to encourage multi-county cooperation,” said Saralyn Stafford, executive director of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. 


Georgia EMC and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the program, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides staff support to this important program.  Financial support for the regional leadership training program is provided through the Leadership Infrastructure Investment Fund, originally set up by the General Assembly and now funded through the One Georgia Authority, which allows the program to be offered at an affordable cost to all participants, with scholarship funding for those with demonstrated need for this assistance.


Since its organization, the academy has provided training for over 3,000 local leaders, both professionals and non-professionals, interested in improving their communities. The academy’s multi-day program, taught over a four-month period, includes training in the basics of economic and community development, plus specialized segments on entrepreneur and small business support, tourism product development, downtown development,  quality planning, and other essentials for community success.  


In addition, the curriculum features specific leadership skills such as consensus building, team work, ethics in public service, building diverse teams and other segments needed for effective community leadership in economic development.


Local elected officials receive certification training credits through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association for completion of this program.


The next Region 2 Georgia Academy for Economic Development will begin in August 2009.  For more information, contact Kathy Papa at (770) 965-8561 or by e-mail