We learned earlier this month / in July that the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) gained approval from the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, state Department of Economic and Community Development, and United States Economic Development Adminstration.
A CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development that, ideally, is focused on place-based, regionally driven economic development and planning which takes into consideration a region’s attributes, strengths, opportunities, threats, and weaknesses.
This strategic planning tool must be updated every five years in order for agencies such as ours to qualify for federal Economic Development Agency (EDA) funding through the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs.
RT Brown, who has served as seCTer’s Reginal Competitiveness Officer since 2021 and is now Director of Economic Development Strategies and Business Services, worked closely with seCTer’s Economic Development Committee and integrated multiple author contributions and public comments.
“The CEDS is at the core of everything we do and guides our decisions and long-range planning for the economic health and resiliency of the region,” Brown said.
Each CEDS must include the concept of economic resilience, which can be defined as “the ability of regions to anticipate, withstand, and bounce back from any type of shock, disruption, or stress that it may experience,” according to the EDA.
In addition to developing a long-range economic development strategy, the process of producing a CEDS allows a broad base of stakeholders to collaborate on that strategy and vision. Individuals, organizations, local governments, institutions of learning, and private industry are provided opportunities to engage in a meaningful conversation and debate about what capacity-building efforts would best serve economic development in the region.
“Having our CEDS approved is important not just from a funding perspective, but from the perspective of creating a shared, regional view of where our economy is now and where it can go in both the short-term and long-term,” said seCTer Executive Director Paul Whitescarver. “Additionally, it provides us with recommended tactics for attracting new businesses and expanding existing businesses to keep them strong and resilient.”