Economic Development District

Community of Practice (EDD CoP)

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. 

We Want To Hear From You!

Are you on staff at an EDD?  We want to hear your valuable input as we kick-off this program to ensure the EDD CoP is a success!  Please take 10 minutes to complete the online EDD Snapshot no later than December 15 to share your training requests, research needs, and suggestions to help inform our programming.  Click here to access the form. 

Please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected] with any questions about the EDD CoP or the EDD Snapshot.  

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.


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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