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Development Education (DE) program

Transformative, experiential training, leveraging the credit union difference to improve financial well-being for all

About DE

The Development Education (DE) program helps established and emerging leaders within the credit union movement understand and leverage credit unions’ unique business model to serve members and communities in new and better ways.

Since 1982, over 2,000 credit union advocates from 35 countries have attended the U.S. DE program to earn their CUDE™ designation. Independent, international DE programs have spun off from the U.S. program, expanding the global DE alumni network to more than 4,500 individuals worldwide.

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What is Development Education?

Development Education is a process to understand fundamental barriers that prevent the prosperity of people and communities across the globe.


This aligns with the mission of credit unions and our shared cooperative principles, and it has helped credit unions to discover new and better ways of improving financial well-being for 40 years.

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Who Should Attend?

DE is intended for emerging or established leaders from credit unions, system partners and organizations that support credit unions*. Employees from all organizational levels are eligible and encouraged to attend – from c-suite to MSRs, accounting or IT folks, marketers and board directors. If you’re passionate about credit unions, DE is for you.

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DE Learning Objectives

While many trainings focus on the “what” and “how” of credit union service and operations, the DE program focuses on exploring the “why”. High-level learning objectives include:

Upon completing the DE program, participants earn their Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation which signifies a competency in understanding and applying DE lessons to support credit union members, employees and communities. The designation is available through completing either the in-person or virtual DE program.

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DE: Unlike Other Trainings

DE is a dynamic program where content is arranged to connect learning with experiences and application over the course of training. It relies heavily on individual engagement, group work and a classroom that challenges participants to step outside of their comfort zones. To create this environment, we have the following rules:

Attendees must attend all DE program sessions. Unless there is a health issue or family/personal emergency, we expect participants to attend all sessions. Attendees should not schedule meetings or maintain work connectivity during DE.

Titles are left at the door. All participants are asked to not reveal their titles at DE. This creates a level playing field and allows everyone to more easily look at problems and solutions from different angles.

No advanced copies of the agenda are shared. To ensure participants aren’t looking too far ahead at lessons and activities, we do not share a detailed agenda prior to arriving at DE. Participants can expect to remain busy from the beginning to end of each learning day, with plenty of breaks for reflection.

Registration is limited to one person per organization per class. Cooperative learning is at the forefront of DE. To optimize the learning environment, one person per organization can attend each session. This allows participants to learn from and engage with as many unique perspectives as possible.

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Unique Value

DE is uniquely valuable to…

Participants. The DE program helps participants to explore their purpose or “why” in credit unions, fostering internal reflection, passion and leadership.

Credit Unions. To win in the marketplace, credit unions need to leverage our purpose to differentiate and better serve our diverse memberships. The DE program helps participants to understand the cooperative principles and learn to help members overcome challenges using empathy. Participants in the DE Program return to their organizations with renewed passion and desire to innovate and serve members.

System Partners. The DE program helps participants from system partners understand their connection to the credit union movement and the members that credit unions serve.

Communities. The DE process, learned throughout training, helps participants to build meaningful connections to their community. The DE Program introduces participants to the products, services and development opportunities that communities need and support the good work that credit unions are already doing.

Learn more about the impact of DE Training.

Register for DE training

The fall 2022 in-person sessions will take place in Madison, Wisconsin, from September 26-30 and November 14-18.

**The remainder of the 2022 sessions are sold out. To be added to the waiting list for the November session, please email Maggie Wolff.

Full payment of $3,499.00 is required to reserve your spot. Meals and lodging for the duration of training are included in the registration fee. Participants in both fall sessions will be housed at the Madison Concourse Hotel. Registration is limited to one person per organization per class. There is a maximum capacity of 48 participants per session.

*If you would like to be added to the notification list for future events, please email Maggie Wolff, senior products manager.

DE learning environments

Over its 40-year history, the U.S. DE program has been hosted across the country at universities, corporate conference centers, remote nature preserves, hotel conference rooms, and monasteries. Activities and experiences have always been shaped around each environment and offered unique learning opportunities.

  • in person de training


    The in-person DE program is delivered in Madison, WI.

    During this intensive, week-long program participants can expect to be in session from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and all sessions are mandatory.

    Cost: $3,499.00

  • computer virtual learning


    The virtual DE program is delivered over four weeks. Live learning sessions are held on Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Participants also need to be available from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday during the final week of training.

    Cost: $2,499.00

Inspiring credit union leaders

We inspire credit union professionals to understand their “why” and to leverage the cooperative values and principles to improve their communities.

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Credit Union National Association Jim Nussle

DE training was well worth my personal investment of time and energy. As we work hard to advocate and build awareness for credit unions, it’s critical that we take time to build our understanding and appreciation of the credit union difference so we can all share that message far and wide.

Jim Nussle, President/CEO of the Credit Union National Association

Get in touch

For more information on the DE program

Contact Chad Helminak, Chief Impact Officer

Chad Helminak Headshot

Chad Helminak, CUDE

Chief Impact Officer

Chad oversees the strategy and execution of Foundation programs, resources, communications, marketing and grants. He is also responsible for identifying opportunities to build alignment, create efficiencies and foster cooperation within the Foundation and across the credit union system.


*For international participants: Individuals from outside the U.S. are welcome to participate in in-person training. While virtual programming has many exciting aspects, two of the biggest challenges we face include (1) connecting across different time zones, and (2) ensuring participants have the appropriate level of connection and technologies required for training. Given these issues, virtual DE Training sessions are for U.S. participants only. 

*Limited seating: Each DE Training class, both in-person and virtually, can host up to 48 individuals. Due to limited seating, only one individual per organization can be registered for a single training class.  

PLEASE NOTE: Individuals must be from an organization that has (1) a primary purpose to support credit unions or some element of the credit union movement, (2) a significant portion of its ownership or membership from the credit union system and (3) demonstrated a commitment to the purposes of the Foundation. If you have any questions concerning eligibility for DE Training, please contact Maggie Wolff at [email protected] or 608-231- 4078. Non-affiliates and non-system representations will pay the posted non-member registration fee.

CANCELLATION POLICY: All cancellations must be received in writing. Please provide a brief explanation for the cancellation and submit via email to [email protected]. Cancellations received more than 30 days prior to the event are subject to a 25% administrative fee on the registration total. No refunds will be granted for cancellations received on or after 30 days prior to the event. Substitutions are accepted prior to the start of the program. Additional costs may apply. Please provide the CUDE training date, current participant name and new participant name to [email protected].