Q. What is the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)?

A. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy process is a US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, sponsored national program. The Centralina Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for our nine-county Economic Development District in the Greater Charlotte region was first developed in 2004. An updated five-year plan was adopted in 2007. The CEDS outlines an approach to regional growth and prosperity that builds on the region’s strengths, emphasizes key regional industry clusters, and prioritizes economic development projects. A required  five-year update for the 2012-2017 CEDS  was completed in September 2012.

Q. What is the Centralina Economic Development Commission and what is its role in the CEDS plan ?

A. The Centralina Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is a public non-profit organization serving as the governing board for the nine-county Centralina Region Economic Development District. The Commission was founded in 2005 and it administers the development and implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the region. As a part of that work, the CEDC supports business and job growth, workforce development, and promotes existing and emerging industry clusters.

Q. What counties make up the nine-county Centralina region?

A. The counties in the Centralina region are Iredell, Rowan, Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Stanly, Union and Anson.

Q. Why do we need a regional economic development strategy?

A. Research indicates that the majority of U.S. economic activity is occurring not just within major cities but rather within a limited number of major regions across the nation. To compete nationally and internationally for people and businesses, interdependent jurisdictions are planning regionally. The Greater Charlotte region’s population is expected to increase by 50 percent within 20 years, and double within 40 years. Part of planning for that growth is planning for the economic and workforce development to ensure we have quality jobs for workers and skilled workers for jobs.

Q. What’s in a CEDS plan?

A. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy identifies regional economic development goals and priorities which communities within a region can implement collaboratively to bring about sustainable economic prosperity. The CEDS includes components such as economic and community development problems and opportunities, goals and objectives, regional strategies and priorities, industry and occupation cluster assessments, a plan of action, and performance measures.

Q. What do I and my business have to gain from taking the time to be involved in the CEDS process?

A. This plan will develop strategies and an action plan to facilitate implementation of regional goals and priorities identified in the CEDS, that will help your business succeed and grow. Whether it is ensuring you have the workforce with the skills necessary to grow your business, identifying and providing resources for your business, or supporting key regional industry clusters, the 2012-2017 CEDS plan will translated into results for our region’s business growth and retention.

Q. Do local governments have to align their economic development strategies with CEDS?

A. No. However, there are many local government representatives that are involved in the development of the CEDS, and they find the coordination with our regional economic development strategy brings important value to their local economic development strategies.

 For more information visit www.ProsperityForGreaterCharlotte.org.