The Regional Economic Development Plan, also known as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), analyzes the regional economy, establishes regional economic goals and strategies, and outlines a plan of action.
The CEDS primary focus is to provide a regional economic development framework, but it also provides a vehicle through which federal agencies – namely the Economic Development Administration (EDA) – evaluate requests for grant assistance.
Updated every three to five years, the CEDS utilizes an iterative planning process that assures the document will continue to evolve and adapt to the region’s needs.
Download a copy of the CEDS.
The GCEDD adopted the following goals and strategies. These goals provide a sound structure for the activities of the region and are relevant to the needs identified by the GCEDD Board of Directors, CEDS Committee, and the community engagement process.
Learn more about the goals and strategies using the tabs below.
The region has an established tradition of bouncing back stronger from natural and man-made disasters. The GCEDD region is vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding, drought, and wildfires, as well as impacts from national and global economic crises. Reducing our vulnerability, where possible, to these events and speeding the rate of recovery will improve our safety and quality of life, as well as our ability to attract new residents and businesses.
Structural solutions – like dikes, flood gates and major drainage improvements will be needed to protect key assets, but their high cost means that this approach must be carefully targeted. Using the natural landscape to absorb the floodwaters and storm surge and being wiser about how and where we build to reduce our vulnerability, are less expensive approaches that can be applied more broadly. This section provides strategies on how the region can better plan for future events, adapt to changing conditions, and recover after an event.
The GCEDD region has one of the most robust economies in the nation, and momentum continues to build with growing energy, manufacturing, and medical sectors. One of the region’s major strengths is its entrepreneurial culture – that supports the financing and development of small businesses. However, deficits exist in high school graduation rates, which could lead to a widening gap between the needs of employers and the qualifications of our workforce. The current economic growth gives the region an opportunity to strategically invest in better education and training, as well as more collaborative financing measures for business owners.
The region can offer training opportunities to promote financial self sufficiency, including personal and family budgeting and investment strategies. While not referenced in the strategies specifically, supporting technical assistance for entrepreneurs – as well as associated financing tools for those looking to start or grow a small business in the region – are a major focus for the region moving forward. This section provides strategies on how the region can help maintain a competitive economy, support thriving businesses, and develop a prepared workforce.
By increasing the skill and education levels of the regional workforce, more locally sourced labor will be able to fill employer need from within – ultimately, improving competitiveness and raising incomes. An educated, employable workforce will reduce unemployment and poverty in the region, lowering public costs for housing and other social programs.
In order to improve graduation rates and academic achievement, early and late stage educational programs must be targeted for support. The District will support efforts that expand the training available to adults to enhance their job skills, ranging from basic to highly specialized. Residents employed in jobs that provide financial security will improve their quality of life and add to the region’s economy.
The GCEDD region is home to world class port facilities, as discussed earlier in the CEDS. In addition, the region contains one of the most dynamic intermodal networks in the country – bringing together rail, pipeline, air, and ground transportation to serve growing international and domestic markets.
This section provides strategies that focus on building and maintaining an efficient network, increase transportation choices, and improve planning and coordination.
As derived from extensive community engagement activities, the CEDS focuses on a few basic items – grow an adaptable, and prepared workforce; support local small business owners in starting or expanding their business; and make sure local government, industry, and business have the information and infrastructure they need to thrive.
In order for this to happen, economic development organizations need to have access to the most up-to-date information and resources, and there must be a collaborative approach to problem identification and solving.
Due to the diverse geography of the GCEDD region, the population resides in dense urban centers, rural towns, and suburban communities. The region has some of the most affordable housing opportunities in the country – especially when comparing it to areas of similar size and diversity.
However, major deficits exist in the quality of affordable housing, as well as the number of options for rural areas. In combination with the Our Great Region 2040 plan, the CEDS supports coordinated approaches to transportation, land use, and housing development. This section provides strategies on how the region can support a thriving housing market, provide housing choices to meet diverse needs, and provide quality housing that is both safe and healthy.
The GCEDD region depends on a stable supply of water to meet the needs of a growing population, as well as for the needs of the industrial and agriculture sectors. In order to meet this growing need, local governments and regional entities will have to rethink how water projects are funded and they will have to focus on repairing an extensive network of aging infrastructure.
This section provides strategies on how the region can increase water supplies, improve the efficiency of water delivery, and protect water quality.
The preservation of our natural resources – especially along waterways – serves many functions, including pollution reduction, floodwater storage, and recreation/tourism opportunities.
This section provides strategies on how the region can help protect the quality of the environment and increase awareness of the value of ecological benefits.
Based on community engagement and priority development, the GCEDD has created the following action plan in order to target specific objectives pulled from the goals and strategies. The section discusses the major work elements of the GCEDD.
Joshua OwensSenior Plannerjoshua.email@example.com