Economic Development Academy


Quick Links | 2022 Academy Regional Classes 

ALM's Economic Development Academy was launched in 2021 and is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials on the essential elements and phases of economic development while highlighting their vital role in economic initiatives and projects within their communities.

Developed in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by an advisory council of industry leaders, the Academy engages elected officials from select cities and towns with municipal peers and colleagues from their region to prepare their communities for growth. Using a collaborative municipal team approach, participants attend an orientation session in the fall and then convene four times throughout the year to complete assignments and develop strategies to enhance economic development in their communities. Ultimately, each municipality selected is required to implement a community program/project and to report on its progress. Academy graduates are recognized during the ALM's annual Municipal Leadership Institute each fall with a certification via ACCS and ALM.

CMO Credit Hours:  Successful completion of the Economic Development Academy (orientation meeting, four (4) one-day sessions and graduation) are approved for a total of four (4) Basic, Advanced or Emeritus Credit Hours in the Certified Municipal Official Program.  Credit hours are awarded to elected officials on the municipal team upon completion of program requirements and graduation.  


$2,500 per community

For additional information about the Academy, contact Bryan Parker, ALM Director of Governmental Affairs, HERE.

Requirements of Selected Communities:

  • The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two councilmembers must commit to participate. (Additional participants may include the city administrator/city clerk, community/business leader, etc. not to exceed a total of five individuals including the three municipal officials).
  • Participants must complete a community economic vitality survey.
  • Participants must attend:
    • orientation
    • all classroom sessions (4)
    • graduation at ALM's Municipal Leadership Institute
  • Implement an approved project/program and follow reporting requirements.
  • Pass resolution committing to the program (sample resolution provided HERE)

Please note, only municipal officials and municipal employees are eligible to receive a certificate from the Alabama Community College System. However, business leaders and regional economic developers are welcome to participate in the program.

Academy Resource Advisory Council:

The Advisory Council will provide advice, resources and guidance for the Academy's curriculum and approach. Several members of the council will participate in course curriculum training to broaden the understanding and involvement in the Academy's focus. It will also aid the Academy by:

  • Targeting communities through council member networks
  • Facilitating engagement opportunities with participants
  • Providing sponsorship opportunities

For more information about the Academy Resource Advisory Council, click HERE.

State and National Resources:

Please click HERE for a list of state and national resources that the League has complied that could be of assistance to your community.

Community Highlights and Successes:

Economic Development Academy Press Release

Alabama League of Municipalities Selects 30 Communities to Participate in Inaugural Economic Development Academy

PRESS RELEASE – Earlier this year, the Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy and launched the application portal via its website.

The following 30 communities will form the inaugural class on November 1 in Montgomery: Alexander City, Bessemer, Center Point, Centreville, Chelsea, Coffeeville, Columbiana, Elba, Enterprise, Gadsden, Geneva, Good Hope, Guin, Hartselle, Irondale, Lipscomb, Monroeville, Mount Vernon, Oneonta, Opp, Ozark, Pike Road, Scottsboro, Selma, Tallassee, Tarrant, Thomasville, Trussville, Tuskegee and Union Springs.

Unlike existing economic development programs, ALM’s Academy is tailored to municipal officials using a team model. The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two councilmembers are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

“The League is excited to provide training to local leaders that is specifically designed to help them further understand best practices when recruiting and retaining industry,” said Greg Cochran, ALM Executive Director. “Our mission at the League is to ensure that we are providing intentional opportunities that will allow Alabama’s municipalities to be places where citizens want to live, work, play and prosper and businesses want to invest. We appreciate Neal Wade, who has been tapped to develop the curriculum and conduct the classes, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and the Resource Advisory Council for their unwavering support and participation.”
ALM’s Academy will take place over a full year beginning on November 1 with an orientation. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend four statewide training sessions held at an ACCS location. At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the ALM and the ACCS.
To further reinforce ALM’s Academy and expand its reach, an Academy Resource Advisory Council was developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources. The Council provides significant and necessary subject knowledge and is comprised of: Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, AIDT, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Alabama Power Company, Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, Business Council of Alabama, C Spire, Clarke/Mobile Gas, Economic Development Association of Alabama, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Enterprise State Community College,Frazer Lanier, Jefferson State Community College, Macon County EconomicDevelopment Authority, Manufacture Alabama, PowerSouth, Shoals Economic Development Authority, Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, Southeast Gas, Spire, Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Wallace State Community College.

For questions, please contact Kayla Bass, ALM Director of External Affairs, HERE.

The Alabama League of Municipalities was formed in 1935 and currently represents more than 450 member municipalities. The League works to secure legislation enabling all cities and towns to perform their functions more efficiently and effectively; offers specialized training for both municipal officials and employees; and conducts continuing studies of the legislative, administrative and operational needs, problems and functions of Alabama’s municipal governments. For more information,