Community Development Programs Train Professionals for Unique Opportunity

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    Oct 17, 2013
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Community Development Programs Train Professionals for Unique Opportunity Photo by Jason White

Community Development programs are designed to train students to be fully comfortable with this form of social planning, which aims to enhance the social and economic well-being of people living in various communities. Empowering people achieves these aims by giving them the knowledge and skills to implement change in their own communities as well as promoting a sustainable community and managing/directing community economic development initiatives. The skills taught by professionals who have graduated from community development programs are often put into action by forming large social groups with common goals. More specifically, professionals who graduate from community development programs work in a range of areas such as the public, private and non-profit sectors, including government, voluntary organizations, corporations, and international community settings.

At Centennial College's community develop program called Community Development Work, applicants are required to be in possession of at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, or have mature student status (19 years or older). Additionally, they must have finished the English Grade 12 C or U, or equivalent (minimum grade required) or take the Centennial College English Skills Assessment for Admission.

Once they are accepted, students spend two years (four semesters) learning through a philosophy that believes there is no single road map to community development practice and the community itself is “organic by nature”. As such, covered in the courses of this community development program are economics, politics, research and an understanding of cultural diversity.

Among specific community develop program courses included at Centennial College are: Theoretical Foundations in Community Developments, Community Development in Action, Sustainable Community Development, Foundations of Community Based Research, Community Economic Development, Community Engagement and Participation; and others such as Social Psychology (introduces students to theories, research and applications that constitute the field of social psychology. Instructors also describe important social phenomena in order to demonstrate how social psychologists analyze and explain such phenomena); Global Citizenship: From Social Analysis to Social Action (each student develops a portfolio that displays personal and professional development connected to social responsibility in the context of program studies. These portfolios are introduced and evaluated in a designated program course in the first semester of the program, are anchored in this course, and evaluated as a final product in a designated program course in the final semester of their program); College Communications (offered at two levels in this community development program, this course covers standards of college-level English. It enables students to develop skills in grammar, sentence variety, paragraph development, vocabulary, and reading comprehension); and more.

To test what they have learned in a real world application, students of this community develop program attend two work placements during their third and fourth semesters. In the field, community practitioners who are able to share their personal experiences and help students to network supervise them.

Author's Profile

Klaudia offers her insight into the particular community development program at Centennial College, which takes two years to complete.

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