Statewide CEDS and Other EDD Innovations

Posted on: June 6th, 2012 by Matt Black

NADO delivered an installment of the Know Your Region program, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), at EDA Seattle’s 2012 Regional Training Conference (http://www NULL.edaseattle held in Portland, OR.

NADO staff presented information on statewide CEDS initiatives, examples of innovative projects at Economic Development Districts (EDDs), and snapshots of how EDA-funded data tools can be used for identifying and evaluating clusters. Key takeaways from the presentation were:

Several states are engaged in efforts to “roll up” regional CEDS into new statewide economic development strategies in partnership with governors’ offices, state agencies, and other business and economic development organizations. Each statewide CEDS initiative underway is unique in terms of how it came together, which partners are involved, how EDDs are leading and providing technical assistance, etc. Yet, the common denominator appears to be that a window has opened for greater EDD involvement in state strategies because of budget cuts, recognition of existing EDD networks and partnerships with federal agencies, and several other factors. While it’s too early to identify best practices—only Alabama among the states we know about has completed its statewide CEDS—NADO will be monitoring and reporting on lessons learned for other states that may be interested in pursuing similar initiatives. EDA has provided funding for several of these statewide CEDS initiatives and has been generally supportive of leveraging regional EDD CEDS as a foundation for larger statewide CEDS efforts.

Many EDDs are leading innovative projects that would rival anything coming out of larger and better-funded economic development organizations, but EDD innovations are not marketed as success stories as well as they could be. EDDs should focus more on showcasing and sharing their accomplishments, and thinking about how successful projects can be expanded through new funding opportunities such as the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge (http://www NULL.rurdev NULL.usda NULL.html).

Partnerships have always been at the core of successful EDDs and it now appears those EDDs focused on broadening and committing to more forward-thinking public-private alliances, including with universities, are remaining relevant in today’s economic development field.

Take advantage of EDA-funded data tools, including STATS America (http://www NULL.statsamerica and the now free-of-charge U.S. Cluster Mapping (http://clustermapping NULL.html) website. These are excellent tools for CEDS data analysis, demonstrating the existence of clusters and distress criteria for grant applications, and even doing revenue generating projects for other regional and local organizations.

If EDDs in your state are engaged in a statewide CEDS initiative that we don’t know about, please let us know. And send us links to innovative projects, revenue generating initiatives, and anything else we can use to tell the story of how EDDs are accelerating innovation and job creation around the U.S. You can send your information to Brian Kelsey at [email protected]

Slides from the presentation and other Know Your Region curriculum are available at the Know Your Region Website (http://www NULL.knowyourregion or in the presentations section of the EDA Seattle Regional Conference website.

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