Certificate Program

The MDA created the MiPDM program to provide training in the essential knowledge areas for downtown

professionals like marketing, planning, design, and historic preservation.

Photo credit: Nick Hagen

The Michigan Downtown Association Professional Development Certificate Program

Applications due September of each year.

Applications for the 2024 Cohort must be submitted by Monday, September 2, 2024.

The MDA created the MiPDM program to provide training in the essential knowledge areas for downtown professionals and to elevate the stature and value of Michigan downtown professionals. The program is rigorous and challenging to ensure that the end result, a certificate of completion, means that the recipient has gained the necessary skills and experience to be considered a well-rounded expert in downtown management.

What is the program?

MiPDM Brochure

MiPDM Program Guide
MiPDM Application

MiPDM Scholarship Information and Application

Watch a webinar regarding all aspects of the program here.

Applications for the program AND scholarship are due Monday, September 2, 2024 to director@michigandowntowns.com.

General Requirements
The MDAs professional development program and MiPDM certificate is open to selected persons who are involved in a profession related to downtown development.  Applicants must be a current member, employed by a member organization, or join the MDA. Not yet employed in the field? Membership to the MDA for individuals or students is affordably priced at $100/$50 annually.

The non-refundable application fee for the program is $200. The coursework will be incorporated into the MDAs workshops, conferences and webinars. Participants will be expected to register for workshops, conferences and webinars at normal registration fees. 

Application Process
Applications for new participants are accepted annually in September.  Applications are due Monday, September 2, 2024 to director@michigandowntowns.com. The Professional Development Committee will review all applications and approve or deny acceptance, along with any subjects that may be waived. Acceptance letters will be issued as soon as possible. The applicant will be responsible for self-monitoring progress through the program with support from MDA staff.

Areas of Proficiency

There are fifteen areas of proficiency to meet. Applicants with bona fide experience in an area of proficiency may request a waiver at the time of application.

*Currently, five sessions are offered via On Demand Webinar:

Meeting Management

Downtown Management Basics




Capstone Project

Within the year the curriculum and professional experience requirements have been met, the participant shall complete a Capstone Project. The Capstone Project is a multifaceted body of work to serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for downtown economic development professionals. The final project will be used as a resource for other communities to use as guidelines/best practice.  For examples of completed Capstone Projects, please visit our Resource Page found here.

Scholarship Program

To honor past downtown managers and advocates for strong downtown organizations and initiatives while assisting and strengthening current downtown directors, the MDA has created the ‘Excellence in Downtown Management Scholarship Award’.  Awards will be granted to individuals participating in the MiPDM program on a yearly basis at the Annual Awards Ceremony held during the Michigan Downtown Association’s Annual Conference held in November.  Click here for the application and more details regarding the scholarship.

If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund, please make a check payable to Michigan Downtown Association and write ‘Scholarship Fund’ on the memo line and complete the form found here. Mail to: MDA, P.O. Box 3591, North Branch, MI 48461.  You may also call the MDA at 248-838-9711 and donate over the phone by providing your credit card information or pay via the Michigan Downtown Association’s PayPal account found under the email: info@michigandowntowns.com or scan the QR code below if you have the PayPal app on your device. Please indicate ‘Scholarship’ in the memo area.

Please contact the MDA at 248-838-9711 for further information.