Sanford B. Dooley, Overstreet, Karen, Merrill, Thomas A. | 4/19/2005 10:29:01 PM
News Release Distributed 5/05/04
Groups in two more areas of the state completed the 10-week Community Leadership and Economic Development program this spring.
Known as CLED, for short, the program is offered by the LSU AgCenter in conjunction with the Louisiana Police Jury Association, utility companies and other local businesses and organizations.
The program is designed to help volunteers learn leadership skills that can help them work to improve their local economy and make their communities better places to live. It has been offered in a variety of areas across the state since its inception in 1994.
"The 10-week class is designed to teach leadership skills and then provide an opportunity for participants to put those skills to use," said LSU AgCenter specialist Dr. Sanford Dooley, one of the program coordinators.
In addition to classes on leadership styles, communication and team building, the course includes an overview of the local history, demographics and economics of the parish or area. The participants then use the skills and information they’ve gained to identify and select critical issues to work on the last portion of the program.
The latest groups to complete the program came from the Bogalusa area of Washington Parish and from Pointe Coupee Parish.
The Bogalusa class, which held its graduation ceremonies April 15, was sponsored locally by the Washington Economic Development Foundation, Bogalusa Downtown Development, Bogalusa Chamber of Commerce and Entergy.
The Pointe Coupee class was sponsored locally by Pointe Coupee Electric Membership Corp., the Pointe Coupee Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives. It held graduation ceremonies May 5.Committees in Bogalusa worked on four issues – improving the lives of children, education, lack of jobs and community morale.
The Pointe Coupee group selected two issues – family values and education.
"It’s interesting to note that nearly all the groups we’ve done select at least one issue relating to families, children or quality of life," said Dr. Karen Overstreet, another program coordinator and LSU AgCenter specialist. "Citizens recognize that addressing family needs is a critical component of economic development.
"After-school care, quality education and health services are just a few issues that affect worker productivity as well as make the community an inviting place to live," she continued.
As part of the program, each group develops a vision related to its issue and then does an analysis to determine the current situation. After that, they develop a plan for a project related to the issue. At the final class meeting, the committees finalize their plans and make plans for continuing their work after the educational program ends.
"We joke about our goal being to make everyone comfortable enough to call another class member for a cup of coffee when they have an idea to share," says Overstreet. "But that’s what we hope really happens. Everyone who lives in a community has a valid perspective regardless of their age, race, political or social status. We want participants to share their ideas and be willing to see the same issues from other perspectives."
For more information on the CLED program, contact Dooley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 578-2266 or Overstreet at email@example.com or phone either of them at (225) 578-6709. You also can obtain additional information from the LSU AgCenter’s Web site by visiting www.lsuagcenter.com/economic.
Contacts: Sandy Dooley at (225) 578-2266 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Overstreet at (225) 578-6709 or
Writer: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or email@example.com
Pointe Coupee Parish
Christine St. Romain
James R. Bush
James D. Daniels
Mayor Mack McGehee
Joe Paul Romano