A Brief History of Economic Development Integration

A 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (GAO-11-477R“fragmentation and overlap” between economic development programs at the U.S. Departments of Commerce (DOC), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA). GAO further reported that these agencies had not yet implemented full-scale strategies and policies “to leverage physical and administrative resources with their federal partners.”

GAO recommended that the four agencies should “further utilize promising practices for enhanced collaboration,” and “collect accurate and complete data on program outcomes and use the information to assess each program’s effectiveness.”

Based upon these recommendations, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiated a search for the federal agency best suited to serve as lead integrator of federal economic development resources. After evaluating a proposal submitted by EDA leadership, OMB selected EDA to serve in this capacity on the basis of the agency’s core, historic strengths, including: