About LCED...

The Laboratory for Community and Economic Development was created to support community and economic development efforts of local citizens, their governments and representatives. The Laboratory provides information and educational programs, and conducts research on economic and social issues that are relevant to communities and community leaders. The Laboratory partners with Extension Educators and Unit Leaders of the Cooperative Extension Service across the state.

What Programs are Available?

The Laboratory for Community and Economic Development, with Extension Educators and Unit Leaders, provides programs in communities

  • Conducting Community Needs Assessments,
  • Retaining and Expanding Local Business and Industry,
  • Creating Economic Profiles,
  • Assessing and Developing Tourism Resources, and
  • Developing an Inventory of Resources and Products;
  • and programs to strengthen communities:

  • Identifying and Recruiting Leaders,
  • Conflict Management,
  • Enhancing Programming for Local Officials,
  • Creating and Maintaining Interest in Community Groups,
  • Communicating With the Public, and
  • Enhancing Entrepreneurial Activity in Your Community.

Who Participates?

Counties and communities across Illinois work with the Laboratory for Community and Economic Development. Faculty and staff provide technical assistance to rural counties in comprehensive community-building and economic development programs. Communities call upon the Lab to conduct needs assessment studies, economic profiles, and leadership development programs. With the cooperation of Unit Leaders and the expertise of Extension Educators, the Laboratory can deliver programs throughout the state. The RURAL PARTNERS/Kellogg Program, "Helping Rural Communities Prepare for Economic Development," was created and implemented through the Laboratory for Community and Economic Development.

Research conducted by the Laboratory includes:

Poverty in Illinois: This study identifies significant differences between urban and rural poverty, and provides information to policymakers, service providers, advocates and academics as they serve persons and families living in poverty.

Community Issues: Through its extensive work in community needs assessment, the Laboratory has gathered information about issues of importance and concern in communities. Organizing this information and sharing it with community leaders will help them initiate development projects, and develop appropriate policy.

Community Business Success: This project identifies issues pertinent to the growth and development of businesses, and identifies characteristics of businesses which grow and prosper, versus those which are not well-positioned for change.

Survey of Mayors: This research effort is designed to identify leadership strengths among small-town mayors. The study will be used to create leadership development programs for small communities and rural areas in Illinois.


Program areas include:

Demographic analysis: The Laboratory analyzes demographic data which bear on current and future community conditions. The Laboratory can access census and other databases. This information is useful to community leaders and local and state policymakers as they use demographic data to profile their communities.

Leadership and Community Development: Local leaders must develop strategies for development that are appropriate and effective in their communities. The Laboratory offers programs which help local leaders enhance their ability to evaluate and implement strategies for effective community development.

Strategic Planning: In an economy which pits rural and urban markets against competitors around the globe, many communities struggle with few resources and slim margins. Strategic planning which includes an assessment of needs and resources; an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; and a realistic set of goals is critical. The Laboratory offers community strategic planning which is inclusive and forward-thinking.


U of I logo Community & Economic Development
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Laboratory for Community and Economic Development

222 Bevier Hall
905 South Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61801
217-244-0120

email: LCED@mail.aces.uiuc.edu