Desoto County News

Matheny receives Community Development Institute certificate

Gia Matheny, Community and Economic Development Director, was among the 39 individuals who were awarded graduation certificates during the 36th annual Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas on Aug. 5. Matheny completed all three years of the Institute’s program of study. 

Gia Matheny, Hernando Community Development Director (Courtesy photo)

CDI trains community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities.  This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goas, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organizations, and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.

The complete CDI experience is a three-year program, with one week of training per year.  Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.

UCA is the birthplace for the Community Development Institute, which started in 1987 in partnership with Entergy, Southwestern Bell, and ARKLA.  Since that time, CDIs have been established in Texas, Alabama, Idaho, and Illinois, and a national governing and certification body, the Community Development Council, has been created.

More information about CDI can be found at

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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