Development Certificate Program
Whether your community boasts a historic downtown or the newest, state-of-the-art
infrastructure, development and amenities, the most professional management
tools available are needed for your downtown "toolbox" in order
to establish and sustain your central business district and "sense
of place." What tools are available to ensure professional management?
Who manages your downtown? How are the experience and skill level of a
downtown manager measured?
Work has progressed on the GDA Professional Development Program, thanks
in large part to Mac Brown with the University of Georgia's Fanning Institute,
and GDA's Professional Development Committee members with assistance from
both DCA's Office of Downtown Development and GMA staff. Countless hours
and meetings were invested in what has become, as far as we know, the
only professional development designation program in the country for downtown
Why is professional development essential for downtown's?
Downtown development is a dynamic, ever-changing profession. Practitioners
enter the profession from a variety of backgrounds and many consider it
to be a stepping stone in the broad arena of related career paths. The
goal of GDA's professional development program is to elevate the practice
of community and economic development with the quality standards of a
true profession, thereby providing a higher level of service and improving
the quality of life for all of Georgia's communities and citizens.
What are the benefits of the program?
At least four distinct and direct benefits are anticipated from the
professional development program.
- The professional
will benefit by having a system of progressive, structured improvement
in professional practice and by receiving peer recognition for distinct
levels of achievement.
- The employer will
benefit by having evidence of the employee's professional growth.
- The community will
benefit by the increased level of expertise that a successful, longer-term
professional brings to the dynamic challenges of downtown development.
- The profession
will benefit by having the Georgia Downtown Development Professional
(GDDP) designation that distinguishes downtown developers who have achieved
credible standards of excellence and are committed to continuing professional
What is the process?
The program is open to anyone in a profession related to downtown management,
whether a development authority director, Main Street or Better Hometown
Manager, city planner/manager, economic development service provider,
etc. The program is completely voluntary and many of the program requirements
can contribute to qualifications for other national professional certifications.
The program structure includes three levels of successful downtown management,
and candidates who successfully pass the written exam and oral presentation
requirements will be formally recognized at the Awards presentation during
the Annual Georgia Downtown Conference.
What are the three levels of designation and how are they attained?
Each level requires and recognizes more professional success than the
preceding level. On-the-job achievement, participation in professional
activities and formal instruction are central elements of each designation
level. GDA maintains an extensive list of training resources and organizations
that meet designation requirements.
Level 1: Georgia
Downtown Development Professional
The professional demonstrates a thorough working knowledge in the professional
practice of downtown development in Georgia, generally attainable within
2 to 3 years of on-the-job experience.
Level 2: Senior
Georgia Downtown Development Professional
The professional demonstrates proficiency in the application of critical
knowledge, skills and tools in the professional practice of downtown development
in Georgia. A minimum of 5 years' experience is required for this level.
Level 3: Master
Georgia Downtown Development Professional
The professional demonstrates mastery in the professional practice of
downtown development in Georgia and significant contributions to the profession.
level requires a minimum of 10 years in the profession.
What is the cost?
The cost to participate in this program is a minimal part of the investment
normally made in professional development, and credit toward national
certifications can be attained through some of the requirements.
Currently, the application fees are $100 for Level 1, $200 for Level
2, and $300 for Level 3.