In October 2022 with the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the NADO Research Foundation (NADO RF) embarked on a five-year effort to build and nurture the Economic Development District Community of Practice (EDD CoP).  Through the EDD CoP, NADO RF and its partners will provide tools, resources, and networking opportunities for EDD staff to strengthen organizational capacity and better guide regions towards becoming more competitive, resilient, and equitable. 

Economic Development Districts (EDDs) are multi-jurisdictional planning and economic development agencies federally designated by EDA. There are nearly 400 EDDs across the country that encourage economic development planning and project implementation in distressed urban, suburban, and rural regions.  EDDs open the door for local communities to grant and loan funding opportunities, administrative and technical assistance, and access to data and technology resources. 

EDDs in Action Case Studies Series

The EDDs in Action Case Studies Series demonstrates the wide breadth of programs, projects, and initiatives EDDs support and implement to improve their regions, making them more resilient, prosperous, and better prepared for the future.  Click here to access the ever-growing library of short case studies, written to inspire and show the possibilities for how EDDs can leverage federal and state funding to support a variety of initiatives across the regions they serve.

Past Event Materials

An Afternoon with the Districts
This event in March 2023 brought together nearly 70 participants representing EDDs, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, EDA community of practice partners, and other national organizations for an afternoon of networking, training, and conversations that explored how best to position EDDs for success in achieving regional economic development and resilience. Click here to learn more and download the presentation slides.   

EDA and EDDs: Partners in Regional Economic Development
During this session at the 2023 NADO Washington Conference, EDA and EDD staff reflected on opportunities for collaboration, the latest updates on CEDS guidelines, and how EDDs can effectively engage with an array of federal partners and programs.  Click here to download the presentation slides.  

Data Deep Dive for EDDs: A Closer Look at Argonne National Laboratory’s NERDE and EDCI Tools
This webinar demonstrated how the National Economic Resilience Data Explorer (NERDE) and the Economic Development Capacity Index (EDCI) tools can be utilized to support your CEDS and other regional planning efforts. Click here to view the webinar recording and download presentation slides.

Plugging Into the Future of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure 
This webinar showcased available funding, capacity building opportunities, and resources available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) at the Department of Transportation and Department of Energy to support electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. Click here to view the webinar recording and download presentation slides.

Upcoming In-Person Training & Networking (Spring 2023)

As part of the EDD CoP, the NADO Research Foundation is offering a variety of training and networking sessions at various conferences throughout the country.  Click the links below for more information and registration details.  

  • EDA Seattle EDD Regional Roundtable (March 23-24, 2023; Seattle, WA): This event is open to staff at all EDDs throughout the EDA Seattle region and is designed to strengthen bonds between districts, the regional office, and the national network of EDDs.  This gathering will provide training and networking opportunities, as well as funding and legislative updates to better position EDDs to support their regions with economic recovery and resilience efforts.  Click here for more information.
  • Denver Regional Economic Development Conference (April 10-12, 2023; Denver, CO):  This conference is organized for Economic Development Districts, Tribal Planning Grantees, University Centers, Revolving Loan Funds, and others engaged in economic development across the 10-state EDA Denver region (CO, IA, KS, MO, MT, ND, NE, SD, UT, and WY).  Click here for more information.  
  • SWREDA Annual Conference (May 3-5, 2023; New Orleans, LA): The Southwest Region Economic Development Association’s (SWREDA) Annual Conference brings together staff from Economic Development Districts, Tribal Planning Grantees, University Centers, Revolving Loan Funds, and others engaged in economic development across the five-state EDA Austin region (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX).  Click here for more information.

Stay Up-to-Date with the EDD CoP Via NADO News

Sign-up for NADO News to stay up-to-date on the latest resources, training opportunities, and upcoming events available from the EDD CoP and our partner networks.  This free weekly newsletter is sent to your inbox every Thursday.    

EDD CoP Overview

The EDD CoP will provide a forum for EDD leadership and staff to access the latest information, best practices, resources, and data to ensure districts are well-positioned to lead their regions in supporting with pandemic recovery and building long-term resilience to other shocks, stresses, and disruptions.

The EDD CoP  will provide in-person and virtual training, capacity building, and networking opportunities for EDD staff to learn from each other, federal partners, and subject matter experts.  Programming will offer useful and responsive resources through a mix of educational platforms and deliver up-to-date training and networking services to EDDs, guiding them on a path to support regional recovery and prosperity.

The EDD CoP consists of five program areas, outlined below:

  • EDD Essentials offers organizational and professional development resources and provides training to EDD staff on writing and implementing effective Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS), a strategic blueprint that drives regional economic development.  
  • Resilient and Equitable Regions builds EDD capacity by providing resources and training to support districts in achieving resilient and equitable outcomes with their planning initiatives. 
  • Wealth Creation Strategies engages with EDDs to identify ways to build diverse types of capital and wealth in their regions by leveraging local assets and growing from within.  
  • Research, Partnerships, and Technical Assistance supports other areas of the EDD CoP by developing reports, issue briefs, and additional resources for EDDs; promotes relationships among federal agencies, EDDs, and other thought leaders; and delivers responsive technical assistance.
  • The Virtual Community of Practice Portal (in development) will serve as central, online platform for EDD and EDA staff to share resources and information, ask questions, and network.  

Project Partners

The NADO Research Foundation has partnered with three organizations to deliver the EDD CoP, each bringing unique expertise and a valuable perspective to the field of regional economic development: National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), University Economic Development Association (UEDA), and First Nations Development Institute.

The EDD CoP is made possible through an award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce (ED22HDQ3070106).  The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the participants, trainers, and authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.


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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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