EDA 2023 CEDS Content Guidelines Update – Resource Handbook

The needs and priorities of the US economy have evolved quickly in the last several years, and the Economic Development Administration has responded with new guidelines for regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy content. The new CEDS content guidelines cover the topic areas of climate resilience, equity, workforce development and broadband.

Each EDD’s current CEDS process remains foundational to ongoing planning. EDD staff, board members and regional stakeholders will have different levels of experience with the new guideline topic areas, from decision-making expertise to little or no familiarity. These resources provide quick reference to national discourse and planning processes that stakeholders in regional economic development may be engaged in.

NADO’s CEDS Central and the EDA CEDS Content Web site offer in-depth guidance on identifying your region’s needs and developing goals and strategies to address them. CEDS Development with StatsAmerica remains a great resource for identifying metrics and gathering or monitoring data relevant to your region’s general economic development programs.

This resource and others will be updated as the EDD Community of Practice and our partners continue discovering and sharing new insights into effective stakeholder engagement and implementation of the CEDS guidelines.


Engagement Resources

Engagement resources are organized by:

  1. Complementary Planning Processes: Regional economic development stakeholders may have their own plans, or plans required by statute or other funding programs, that include the new CEDS topic areas.  Local and state comprehensive planning processes will vary by region, so the resources here are primarily to provide information about planning processes necessary to apply for Federal funding.
  2. Peer to Peer Learning: Many entities engaged in these topic areas share case studies and provide forums to learn from practitioners about their experiences and outcomes.
  3. Science and Thought Leadership: Public and private organizations provide information on the latest advances in science and professional practice.

Funding Resources

Recent and ongoing funding opportunities may help you implement projects or programs related to the new topic areas. Because funding opportunities change constantly, the resources here can’t be considered comprehensive. They are meant to help guide research to find Federal agency programs that can help fund your CEDS implementation.

Federal funding is of course subject to change and often will not provide sustained funding, so it’s important to be sure you have diverse revenue sources that can sustain your CEDS initiatives for their full life cycle.

Climate Resilience

Engagement Resources:

Complementary Planning Processes

Hazard Mitigation

Transportation and Infrastructure

Natural Resources


Peer to Peer Learning

Science and Thought Leadership

Funding Resources

The US Climate Resilience Toolkit provides a summary of Federal agency funding programs that may be appropriate for funding regional climate resilience strategy implementation projects and programs.

EERE Current Funding Opportunities Lists currently open NOFOs. Funding is awarded through an open, competitive process hosted primarily on the EERE Funding Opportunity eXCHANGE. Project selections are merit-based with an emphasis on potential energy, environmental, and economic benefits.


Engagement Resources

Complementary Planning Processes

Human Services

  • Department of Labor Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Program: States and localities must develop a Unified State Plan that outlines their strategies for providing workforce development services, including how they will prioritize services for individuals with barriers to employment and other underrepresented groups.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Programs: States and localities must develop a Consolidated Plan that outlines their priorities for using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, as well as annual Action Plans that detail specific projects and activities to be funded each year. These plans are also required for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Emergency Solutions Grants Program, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program. Additionally, a Section 3 Plan may be required that outlines strategies for providing job and training opportunities to low-income residents, as well as reporting on their progress and outcomes.
  • The Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency share resources and information to help expand and improve language assistance services for individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with federal law.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • The Department of Transportation’s Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-Making document provides funding recipients with a distinct framework to assist them as they develop and implement public involvement strategies and plans in compliance with federal transportation funding regulations.
  • Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program: This program, which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provides low-cost financing for water infrastructure projects, including drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater management. Applicants must demonstrate that their project aligns with the goals and strategies outlined in the State Water Plan or other regional planning documents, including considerations of equity and access.
  • USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program: This program provides funding to rural communities for a variety of community facilities, including health care facilities, public safety facilities, and community centers. Applicants must demonstrate that their project aligns with the goals and strategies outlined in the community’s strategic plan, including considerations of equity and access.

Peer to Peer Learning

  • Incorporating Equity at a Regional Level: Inspiration & Actions Economic Development Districts (EDDs) and Regional Development Organizations (RDOs) around the country are incorporating principles of diversity, equity and inclusion into their work. This report (PDF) is the result of interviews with staff at ten organizations, representing just a few of the 400+ EDDs and RDOs. They provide insight into why and how these organizations are doing this important work.
  • NADO Regional Development Resource Center Equity & Inclusion Resources share how individual EDDs have approached incorporation of equity considerations in regional planning processes, and offers resources for assessing and addressing inequity in your region.
  • Local Initiatives Support Coalition supports community development initiatives with a focus on equity. They offer training, webinars, and resources for regional economic development specialists to learn about inclusive development practices, equitable planning strategies, and community engagement approaches.

Science and Thought Leadership

  • Outcome, Process and Access Framework for Equity in Economic Development Argonne National Laboratory National Economic Research and Resilience Center (NERRC) research brief outlining a framework elucidating underlying drivers influencing the degree to which outcomes of economic development activities are equitable. The brief describes ways EDDs can apply this conceptual framework in Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) development and implementation.
  • The Inclusive Recovery Toolkit provided by the New Growth Initiative is intended to support regional economic development leaders in elevating equity within their organization, planning and CEDS development, and strategy and implementation as they approach recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The National Association of Counties shares lessons learned and effective strategies for equity in governance that apply to counties and other levels of governance.
  • The National League of Cities offers resources for considering ways municipal policy and action can impact equity in a community.
  • PolicyLink is a national research and action institute focused on advancing racial and economic equity. They work to foster a new conversation about equity as an economic driver and advance policies that build an equitable economy.
  • The Center for Urban and Racial Equity (CURE) works to address racial and social inequities through research, training, and advocacy. They focus on promoting racial equity in public policy and programs by providing organizations and communities with tools, training, and resources to advance equity.
  • Race Forward is a leading organization dedicated to advancing racial justice and equity. They provide research, tools, and resources through their Racial Equity Tools platform, offering practical guidance and strategies to organizations, communities, and policymakers to address racial disparities and promote equity.
  • The Roundtable on Community Change at the Aspen Institute focuses on addressing poverty and inequality in communities worldwide. Their resource “Abundant Community” offers a framework and strategies to achieve equity by addressing structural barriers and engaging in community-driven approaches.


Engagement Resources

Complementary Planning Processes

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plans: WIOA is a federal law that governs federally funded workforce development programs. It requires states to develop a WIOA State Plan that outlines their strategies for aligning workforce development with economic development goals. The State Plan includes information on how the state will coordinate with regional entities, engage employers, and address the workforce needs of key industries.

Peer to Peer Learning 

  • NADO Regional Development Resource Center provides a report highlighting how local development districts’ proactive approach in promoting workforce development programs has impacted the economic growth and stability of the Appalachian Region.
  • The Workforce Professionals Training Institute Hub brings together key leaders from government, foundations, the nonprofit and business sectors in New York City and nationally with the goal of identifying common challenges and solutions that align policy, systems, funding and program innovation to strengthen the workforce development ecosystem.

Science and Thought Leadership

  • The National Fund for Workforce Solutions supports regional collaboratives to develop and implement effective workforce strategies. Resources focus on employer engagement, career pathways, sector partnerships, and systems change to improve job quality and create equitable opportunities.
  • The National Skills Coalition advocates for policies that promote skills development and align workforce training with industry needs. Their approach focuses on advancing state and federal policies that support worker training, job quality, and equitable access to career pathways.
  • The National Association of Workforce Boards provides guidance and resources to workforce boards and professionals in developing effective workforce development systems. The NAWB emphasizes collaboration, employer engagement, sector-based strategies, and demand-driven approaches to bridge skills gaps and promote workforce development.
  • The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce works to align education and workforce systems to create pathways to economic opportunity, emphasizing employer partnerships, sector strategies, data-driven decision-making, and equitable access to quality education and training.

Funding Resources

US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration administers federal government job training and worker dislocation programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems.


Engagement Resources

Complementary Planning Processes

While there are no Federal planning processes specifically related to broadband development, the following planning processes are opportunities to engage stakeholders in strategies to address gaps in regional broadband connectivity.

  • Comprehensive Planning: Many states require local governments to engage in comprehensive planning processes to guide land use, infrastructure, and economic development. Broadband expansion can be incorporated into these plans to ensure its integration with other community and regional goals. The National League of Cities and National Association of Counties offer resources, research, and guidance on broadband development and its integration into comprehensive plans.
  • State Broadband Plans: Several states have developed comprehensive broadband plans that outline strategies, goals, and funding mechanisms for broadband deployment. Local and regional planning efforts should align with these state-level plans to ensure consistency and coordination.
  • Environmental Planning: Broadband expansion projects may require compliance with federal and state environmental regulations, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Environmental planning processes assess potential impacts on natural resources, cultural heritage, and communities to inform decision-making and mitigate adverse effects.
  • Permitting and Right-of-Way Access: Broadband infrastructure deployment often involves accessing public rights-of-way, including roads, utility poles, or public lands. Planning processes may include obtaining permits, negotiating access agreements, and complying with relevant regulations to ensure proper deployment without hindering other utilities or causing environmental harm.

Peer to Peer Learning

NADO Broadband Resources for Regional Development Organizations includes RDO feasibility plan examples, conference presentations, and links to broadband research and publications prepared by the NADO Research Foundation and industry partners.

Science and Thought Leadership

  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration provides support to state and local governments that are seeking to expand broadband connectivity and promote digital inclusion through solution-neutral guides and resources, interagency coordination, and the administration of grant programs.
  • The Center on Rural Innovation collaborates with members of its Rural Innovation Network to launch initiatives and programs that support innovation, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and tech job creation in the places they call home.
  • The National Digital Inclusion Alliance provides guidance on developing comprehensive digital inclusion strategies, including affordable broadband options, digital literacy programs, and community-driven initiatives. NDIA advocates for policy changes that support universal access to affordable and reliable broadband services.
  • The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition promotes policies and funding mechanisms to support the deployment of high-capacity broadband networks for anchor institutions. They advocate for leveraging anchor institutions’ infrastructure to extend broadband connectivity to underserved areas and collaborate with policymakers and stakeholders to shape broadband policies that meet community needs.

Funding Resources

BroadbandUSA’s Federal Funding site connects you to funding opportunities that support broadband planning, digital inclusion, and deployment projects. The site allows you to filter programs by Agency/Department, Eligible Recipients, and/or Program Purpose by using the filter options on the left side of the web site.

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Regional Development Researcher Andrew Coker joined the NADO team in March of 2023 after spending two and a half years as the Regional Economic Resiliency Coordinator at West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

At NADO, Andrew conducts research on the newest economic and community development best practices from Economic Development Districts across the country. He helps produce easily digestible information on complex regional issues through case studies, tip sheets, and research reports. Andrew also hosts training and professional development opportunities including conference sessions and virtual webinars for member regional development organizations.

Andrew is one of our Missouri-based team members and enjoys reading and training for his next triathlon.

Jack Morgan came to the NADO team in 2022 after seven years with the National Association of Counties (NACo) as a Program and Senior Program Manager. Prior to NACo, Jack was a Policy Analyst for Friends of Southwest Virginia. Jack holds a bachelor’s in geography from Emory & Henry College and a master’s in geography from Appalachian State University.

As a NADO Senior Program Manager, Jack leads capacity-building and peer-learning work supporting energy communities in economic transition, regional resilience, and recreation economies. He also helps with the EDA-Austin training program Emerging Leaders.

Jack is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a member of the American Planning Association (APA) in the Regional & Intergovernmental Planning division. He also serves on the Emory & Henry College Alumni Board.

Taking road trips, reading non-fiction, and indulging in top-notch barbecue and coffee round out Jack’s days. He loves maps, mountains, and of course, all things sports.

Karron Grant joined the NADO team in 2023 as Administrative Specialist and is the first face (or voice) you’ll see or hear when reaching out to NADO. As Administrative Specialist, Karron manages our database and coordinates NADO event operations. He ensures members’ needs are met, contact information stays current, and NADO’s office is running efficiently.

Karron came to NADO after four years in the classroom teaching at The New Century School and Old Mill Middle North where he received the Patriot of the Year award. He attended Towson University and the University of Maryland Global Campus and holds a bachelor’s in international studies and humanities.

Visiting art galleries and museums, playing basketball and bowling, and taking in movies and music are some of Karron’s interests and hobbies.

Deputy Executive Director Laurie Thompson has been with NADO for 25 years. Laurie helps keep the NADO and NADO Research Foundation wheels turning through management of the daily operations of the Research Foundation, securing financial resources and overseeing grants management, and helping execute NADO’s Annual Training Conference each year.

Laurie holds a bachelor’s in public affairs and government from Mount Vernon College and a master’s in health services administration from The George Washington University. Prior to NADO, Laurie spent time as a Field Specialist and an Eagle Staff Fund Director at First Nations Development Institute.

When she’s taking a rare reprieve from her NADO work, Laurie enjoys traveling domestically and internationally to visit friends and family.

Jamie McCormick joined the NADO team as a Policy Fellow first in 2019, then moved into her current role as Legislative Associate in 2021. As Legislative Associate, Jamie keeps NADO members apprised of any policy and regulatory issues and communicates NADO’s policy priorities to federal stakeholders and partner organizations. She is also the first stop for members with inquiries on policy issues. The planning and execution of NADO & DDAA’s annual Washington Conference is also managed by Jamie.

Jamie holds a dual bachelor’s in political science and international relations from The State University of New York College at Geneseo and a master’s in international development studies from The George Washington University. In addition to her roles at NADO, Jamie also worked as a Legislative Assistant for the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association.

Outside of her NADO work, Jamie is an active volunteer with the VOLO Kids Foundation and a fundraiser for YMCA youth programs. She is also NADO’s resident baker regularly providing treats for those in NADO’s D.C. office. Traveling, taking her pup on walks, and hiking in the northeast keep Jamie busy. 

Brett Schwartz began at NADO in 2012 as a Research Fellow after earning his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. The following year, he was promoted to Program Manager and has now been leading as an Associate Director since 2018. Brett is responsible for managing NADO’s Economic Development District Community of Practice (EDD CoP), as well as researching and monitoring the latest trends in regional economic development and resilience, including best practices for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). With more than a decade of experience on the NADO team, Brett is a dynamic relationship builder helping connect and build capacity among the national network of regional development organizations.

Brett also holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s from Trinity College Dublin, as well as a certificate in mediation training. He’s a member of Catalyst Grantmakers of San Diego and Imperial Counties and was a participant in the 2021-22 Field Trips to the Future Cohort.

Brett is one of NADO’s West Coast team members residing in San Diego, CA where he enjoys spending time outdoors, attending concerts and festivals, and soaking up life as a parent of two young children.  

Communications Manager Katie Allison joined the team in 2023 to lead the strategic communication efforts of NADO. Katie creates and develops print and online materials, communicates NADO’s updates to members via weekly emails, and maintains content for nado.org and NADO’s social media channels. She also works with different departments to generate new ideas and strategies to effectively describe and promote the important work NADO is doing for EDDs and RDOs across the country.

An experienced nonprofit communications professional, Katie has worked for organizations in western North Carolina for nearly a decade. She holds a bachelor’s in communications from Wingate University where she was a four-year student athlete. Katie has also completed Vision Henderson County, a comprehensive leadership development program that promotes informed and committed civic volunteerism.

Katie stays busy trying to keep up with her two young sons whom she enjoys exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains with. Traveling to new and favorite places and cheering on the Atlanta Braves are some of her family’s favorite pastimes.

Senior Program Manager Ciara Ristig has been a member of the NADO team since 2021, and helps with NADO’s EDD Community of Practice, EDD staff capacity building and other grants on a range of subjects, including equity and solar energy. Before NADO, Ciara worked as a Planner for the County of Santa Barbara and an Assistant Project Manager for REM Consult. Ciara holds a bachelor’s in urban studies and French from Bryn Mawr and a master’s in urban studies from Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris.

When she’s not traveling, you can find her outrigger paddling and serving on the board of the Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama, CA, near her home base of Santa Barbara.

Carrie Kissel has been a member of the NADO team since 2005 when she began as a Research Fellow. She later moved into the roles of Program Manager in 2006, and then Associate Director in 2011. Carrie holds a bachelor’s in anthropology from Ball State University and a master’s in public anthropology from American University. As Associate Director, Carrie oversees NADO’s work in rural transportation and rural wealth creation. She provides technical assistance and support to rural regions on transportation and economic development issues and develops training and peer exchange events on transportation issues and rural wealth creation as an economic development strategy.

Carrie is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and secretary of TRB’s Rural Transportation Issues Coordinating Council. She is also a member of the American Anthropological Association and the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology.

Reading, gardening, hiking, and kayaking are a few of Carrie’s hobbies, and she organizes and facilitates a DEI/social justice-focused book club in her community.

Melissa Levy has worked at NADO as a Regional Development Researcher since February 2023 and is the Principal Consultant at her own firm specializing in wealth-based economic development consulting. With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Melissa brings a breadth of knowledge to her role as a Regional Development Researcher. Melissa provides in-depth research, coaching, and training on regional economic resilience, rural wealth creation strategies, and economic development.

Melissa is a North American Food Systems Network trained AgriCluster Resilience and Expansion (ACRE) facilitator and a WealthWorks coach, facilitator, and trainer. In addition to her professional work, Melissa serves on the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council, on the board of the Hinesburg Community Resource Center, and on the Hinesburg Economic Development Committee.

A true outdoorswoman, Melissa enjoys cross country and downhill skiing, paddleboarding, hiking, biking, and kayaking, as well as yoga, and teaching Tai Chi.

Program Manager Krishna Kunapareddy began her role with NADO in February of 2023 after 14 years of service at Boonslick Regional Planning Commission in Missouri. Krishna manages NADO Research Foundation’s Planning and Environmental Linkages and Center for Environmental Excellence projects. In addition to researching and writing, Krishna also conducts virtual workshops on innovative tools and techniques related to transportation planning.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Andhra University and a master’s from JNT University in India, as well as a master’s in city and regional planning from the University of Texas at Arlington. Krishna is also a certified Smart Cities Academy Practitioner and holds the Location Advantage certificate from geographic information system software company ESRI.

In her spare time, Krishna volunteers with Mentors4College helping high schoolers better plan for their post-high school paths. She is also a dedicated advocate for documented H4 Dreamers.

Krystal DeLeon joined the NADO team in October of 2020 as Database & Grants Manger, but in January of 2022 transitioned to her current role as Operations Manager. Krystal keeps NADO running through behind the scenes work of invoicing, solving any database issues that may arise, producing membership reports, and much more. Her organizational skills and thorough knowledge help the NADO team operate more efficiently across all departments.

Prior to NADO, Krystal was the Conference Services Coordinator for State Services Organization. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a licensed realtor, and holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Liberty University. When she’s not keeping NADO’s operations in order, Krystal enjoys running and rock climbing, and adventuring with her husband and son.

Senior Program Manager Bret Allphin joined NADO in April of 2022 bringing with him a wealth of knowledge after a 20-year career with Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta, Ohio. In addition to his bachelor’s in political science and master’s in public affairs, Bret is licensed Geographical Information Systems Professional (GISP). He is NADO’s go-to team member for all things mapping while also supporting members with transportation and economic development technical assistance services.

An avid sports aficionado and former collegiate athlete, Bret enjoys cheering on his Cincinnati Reds, hitting the trails on his mountain bike, and improving his golf game whenever possible. Bret is an involved community member in Marietta dedicating much of his spare time to serving on local nonprofit boards.

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Applications cannot be saved and returned to at a later time. It is recommended you compile all of your information in advance in a word processor and cut and paste into the application below.

2023 Impact Awards

The primary applicant must be a NADO member. Project partners, both NADO and non-members, can be recognized under "Project Partners" below.

Primary Project Contact:
This person will be the designated point of contact for all future awards-related correspondence.

Organization Address

Project Location (if different from Organization Address)

Executive Director

Additional Organizational Information
Please upload your organization's logo which will be included on the winning project award certificate.

Project Information
This title will be printed on the award certificate for winning projects and in all 2022 NADO Impact Award materials and cannot be changed.

Project Summary & Questions
Please craft clear, thoughtful, and engaging responses to the following questions. Use the following sections to tell us how your project has made an impact, such as its use of creative funding mechanisms, efforts to create efficiencies or reduce costs, unique partnership models, and emphasis on building resilience and/or enhancing your region's quality of life.

For award-winning projects, the information provided below may be used verbatim to inform project descriptions that will be published in the 2023 NADO Impact Awards materials and included on the NADO website.

Please submit at least one photo showing your project in action. Please keep file size to a minimum (<2Mb) and use JPEG format. If uploading multiple files, ZIP files prior to submitting. If you have trouble uploading images they can be directly emailed to Brett Schwartz at [email protected]. Include the project title they correspond to in the subject line of your email.

Note: Submitted photos may be used in NADO Impact Awards materials and in other NADO published materials with credit to your organization. Please also consider submitting photos for NADO's 2023 Photo Contest, which will be held this summer.

Your application is not submitted until you are directed to a confirmation page. If you have any questions or are unsure if your application has been submitted, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

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Content Questions Form

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Hotel Questions Form

New Speaker Inquiry

Job Listing Inquiry

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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