Jump to main content.

A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce

CEDS Content Guidelines


A CEDS should be developed with broad based community participation and result in a document that is readily accessible to regional stakeholders.  Potential partners for developing a CEDS could include government agencies, private sector interests, education providers, non-profits, community and labor groups, workforce boards, utilities, etc.  Stakeholders should be able to use it as a guide to understanding the regional economy and to take action to improve it.  The CEDS should take into account and, where appropriate, incorporate or leverage other regional planning efforts, including the use of available federal funds, private sector resources, and state support which can advance a region’s CEDS goals and objectives.  Its quality should be judged by its usefulness as a tool for regional economic development decision-making.

There are four main elements of a CEDS:  1) summary background, 2) SWOT analysis, 3) strategic direction/action plan, and 4) evaluation framework.  The background should provide an overview of the region’s economic situation. Building on data from the summary background, the SWOT analysis should assess the state of the regional economy, including the opportunities and threats posed by internal and external trends and forces, and the availability of resources for economic development.  The region’s vision, goals, and measurable objectives, together with an appraisal of the region’s competitive advantages, should form the basis of the strategic direction and action plan.  The evaluation framework should establish criteria and performance measures for evaluating the region’s implementation of the strategic direction and progress toward goals and measurable objectives. The elements of the CEDS, seen through a lens of economic resiliency, should logically build upon and/or shape each other to result in a coherent, targeted document.

Recommended Resource: See South Florida's 2012 CEDS with the "six pillars" statewide framework which provides a clearly articulated, unifying framework across EDDs in the state: http://www.sfrpc.com/CEDS/SouthFloridaCEDS2012-17.pdf (PDF).

Below are recommendations for what should be included in each of the required sections, and suggested tools, resources and examples to help in each section’s development:

  • A. Summary Background: A summary background of the economic development conditions of the region
  • B. SWOT Analysis: An in-depth analysis of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • C. Strategic Direction/Action Plan: Strategic direction and an action plan (flowing from the SWOT analysis), which should be consistent with other relevant state/regional/local plans
    • Strategic Direction: Vision Statement and Goals/Objectives
    • Action Plan: Implementation
  • D. Evaluation Framework: Performance measures used to evaluate the organization’s implementation of the CEDS and its impact on the regional economy
  • E. Economic Resilience:
    • Planning for and Implementing Resilience
    • Establishing Information Networks
    • Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning
    • Measuring Resilience