July 16, 2021

EDA and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness Partner to Identify Best Practices in State-Regional Economic Development Coordination

Regional development organizations, such as EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs), have scored significant achievements in facilitating the recovery of their area economies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. There remains, however, a disconnect between how regional and state economic developers align their strategies for economic growth to maximize impact.

This month, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Research and National Technical Assistance program awarded a $1 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) and their subawardees, the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation (NADO RF), State International Development Organizations (SIDO), and Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI) working with the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative (AMCC). The award will be used to develop best practices in economic development integration and alignment, provide training and other technical assistance to new state economic development staff, and conduct outreach to incorporate international engagement strategies into local comprehensive economic development strategies (CEDS).

Working with the State Economic Development Executives (SEDE) Network, this award will also create a “Policy Academy” to provide direct technical assistance to six teams of state and regional actors to develop collaborative economic recovery models. The award is matched with $250,000 in organizational funds and private grants.

“Overcoming the challenges our economy has encountered over the last year requires an unprecedented level of coordination between state and regional economic planners,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We’re excited to enlist the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness and their partnering organizations to help us better align state and regional economic planning and investment strategies in a way that will most efficiently support key industry clusters and maximize job creation.”

In alignment with the project goals, SIDO and NADO RF will be participating in the grant to help facilitate state and regional collaboration and NEMWI/AMCC will provide relevant manufacturing and industry expertise.

“The United States faces complex economic challenges in recovering from COVID-19,” said Dr. Kenneth Poole, CEO of CREC. “This EDA investment will support a robust program to encourage state economic development agencies and Economic Development Districts to better leverage EDA’s resources. It will also encourage greater state investment in activities related to EDA priority areas.”

Established in 2000, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) is an Arlington, Virginia-based, not-for-profit organization founded to provide U.S. public, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies.