Community and Economic Development unit offers new intercultural competency program

A ethnically diverse group of people seated at a table with a laptop.

Since the 1990s, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development (CED) and other organizations have been working with communities, organizations, and companies in Iowa to better understand and adapt to demographic changes. The focus has been on understanding the numbers and the cultures that are reshaping our state. CED specialists have answered these needs in the past by providing education on different cultures and by sharing best practices in community development. 

This work has not gone unnoticed; both Iowa and CED have earned national attention and recognition for being a model of inclusiveness and community engagement. Respected media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and NBC have praised and validated Iowa’s way of welcoming and celebrating diversity.

To better support its clients’ needs in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), CED has added a new program that will provide education and coaching to its customers in the area of cultural competency. 

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)® is the world’s premier cross-cultural assessment program. IDI® is used by thousands of individuals and organizations to build intercultural competence to achieve both international and domestic diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes. In contrast to many “personal-characteristic” instruments, IDI® is a cross-culturally valid, reliable, and generalizable measure of intercultural competence along the validated intercultural development continuum. In addition, research has shown that IDI® has high predictive validity to both bottom-line, cross-cultural outcomes in organizations and intercultural goal-accomplishments in education.

In March 2022, members of CED’s civic engagement and equity team became certified to deliver IDI® and to date have conducted the program for 111 people from five organizations, including a private foundation’s board of directors, community leadership academy participants, and an Iowa company that recently has expanded internationally.

The objectives of IDI® are:  

  1. Helping participants and organizations understand the importance of cultural competency.
  2. Assessing participant’s levels of cultural competency and helping them learn the skills needed to be able to be part of their own organization’s DEI goals in a confidential way.
  3. Assessing the organization’s levels of cultural competency and setting measurable goals for growth that will translate into higher efficiency and better communication.
  4. Developing an action plan with measurable goals to advance the organization’s DEI growth.

Communities and organizations interested in learning more about IDI® can contact Himar Hernández at or 641-799-6681.