|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||1||$500,000|
The Western Connecticut Council of Governments (COG) is a newly chartered economic development organization established in 2015 by the State of Connecticut. The COG region spans two metropolitan planning organizations and services a number of western Connecticut towns. Outmigration of its middle class due to the loss of major employers has recently plagued the Western Connecticut region.
In September 2016, EDA invested $50,000 in Partnership Planning funds to the Western Connecticut Council of Governments to support the development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region, to respond to this problematic outmigration of the middle class. Experienced and skilled workers who once called the region home have left, creating an environment in which there are high-paying jobs that require a high level of skill or low-paying unskilled jobs, but little in between. New and existing residents often cannot access stable income because upward mobility from low paying jobs is difficult to achieve.
The development of a CEDS will provide the region with a long-term plan to grow middle class jobs and integrate disadvantaged communities into the workforce. Comprehensive planning will also increase the region’s capacity to promote new job creation and private investment, while supporting existing industries to compete and build collaborations across the region.