The CEDS (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) is a plan/strategy which is designed to bring together the public and private sectors within the First District in the creation of an economic roadmap to diversify and strengthen our regional economies. The CEDS will analyze the regional economy and serve as a guide for establishing regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a regional plan of action, and identifying investment priorities and funding sources. The development of the CEDS is a requirement of an annual planning grant that the First District has received from the Economic Development Administration for over twenty-five years. The last comprehensive update to the CEDS was completed in 2011 with reviews conducted by the First District Governing Body on an annual basis.
Components of the CEDS document will include:
- A background of the economic development situation of the First District.
- An analysis of economic development problems and opportunities (commonly known as a “SWOT” analysis).
- A section identifying goals and objectives which define the First District’s regional expectations.
- A section which identifies local and regional projects, programs and activities.
- A Strategic Direction/Action Plan based on findings from the SWOT analysis which incorporates/integrates elements from other regional plans (e.g., land use and transportation, workforce development, etc.) where appropriate as determined by the First District. The action plan should also identify the stakeholder(s) responsible for implementation, timetables, and opportunities for the integrated use of other local, state, and federal funds.
- A section which identifies a plan of action, priorities, and performance measures.
Regarding the process for the development of the CEDS update, the First District will utilize its Governing Body as the CEDS Committee for the purpose of the update. Throughout the year, staff and the CEDS Committee will include First District communities, counties, economic development corporations, institutions of higher learning, State and Federal entities and many others in the development of the CEDS. Information will be shared with our membership via newsletters, Governing Body meetings, and our website. We anticipate the completion and distribution of the CEDS update to occur in November of 2016.
The first step in this process will begin with a regional development survey to be distributed in December. The survey is divided into four sections. The first section pertains to the needs of the community or county. The second section deals with economic issues. The third section focuses on services provided by the First District. The last section pertains to regional issues. I encourage all to respond to the survey, as this will greatly assist staff and the CEDS Committee in establishing background information and benchmarks for the CEDS update.