By Grant Taylor, the Community Economics Laboratory

Rather than cancel the perennial New Mexico Basic Economic Development Course in the face of COVID-19, organizers are pleased to announce the “Basic Course,” as it’s colloquially known, will be delivered online in 2020.  

 Students of the 2020 Basic Course will begin the six-week course July 19 via Zoom. Course lectures, discussions and case studies will all be conducted remotely.  

 As with many conferences and other events in 2020, basic economic development courses have been canceled in many states, due to the pandemic. As much as community economies have been devastated by COVID-19, New Mexico’s Basic Course organizers believed teaching the course is as important as ever. 

“We wish we were convening the course at Western New Mexico University this year, as we’ve done for decades,” course director Noreen Scott said. “With COVID-19 still such a looming threat, that’s just not possible, but we’re as resolved as ever to teach community leaders how to marshal their economies to recovery.” 

Following an afternoon orientation on July 19, students will attend lectures and discussions led by nationally renowned economic developers on Friday mornings for six weeks. The course covers the core components of economic development, including business retention and expansion, recruitment, workforce development, real estate, finance, marketing and ethics.  

Students will also break out into groups a couple hours each week to apply themselves to case studies that explore real communities facing real challenges to create jobs. Students are exposed to a powerful and much-needed framework and methodology for planning and managing the complexity of an economic development program, Scott said.   

The Basic Course, sanctioned by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), covers the fundamental building blocks of an economic development strategy. This course is the first step in becoming a credentialed economic development professional, but the course is not just for economic development practitioners, Scott said 

The course is ideal for current or aspiring economic development practitioners, local- and tribal-government officials, financial institutions, chambers of commerce, public utility professionals, workforce developers, and a variety of professionals who work to promote the economic prosperity of their communities. 

“With not only struggling community economies, organizations and local governments are facing budget shortfalls, we’re sensitive to needed belt-tightening,” Scott said. “This year’s online Basic Course allows many professionals to attend without incurring additional costs of travel and lodging.”  

The $495 fee ($595 for out-of-state attendees) covers registration, books and course materials. Rural scholarships are available by calling Noreen Scott at (505) 710-7172. Those interested are encouraged to register by July 10. Visit to do so, or email