Capital Area Council of Governments CAEDD (TX) – Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Guidelines

ChallengeThe Economic Development Administration (EDA) requires each area, community, or region applying for financial assistance from the agency to develop a strategy for furthering economic development in the region through the use of a participatory planning process. This process is designed to result in the development of a formal report called a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS. A completed CEDS—formerly the Overall Economic Development Plan (OEDP)—is also a requirement for designation as an economic development district.

ApproachOn behalf of all Texas Economic Development Districts, the Capital Area Economic Development District (CAEDD) of Austin, Texas, engaged TIP Strategies to produce planning guidelines for the new CEDS process and to evaluate the role of regional groups in economic development planning. The project was funded through an EDA Technical Assistance Grant and consisted of three phases: 1) writing guidelines for the Texas districts to use in developing their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS); 2) developing recommendations for ways to better integrate economic development planning efforts at the local, regional, and state levels; and 3) identifying how CEDS might be used to satisfy the planning requirements of other state and federal programs. TIP consulted a number of sources throughout the project, including interviews with leading economic development and planning officials, benchmarking of economic development planning practices in other states, prior studies and reports (such as the American Planning Association’s Growing Smart™ Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change), and the experience of the consulting team.

OutcomeThe planning guidelines presented an overview of the CEDS process and a detailed description of various quantitative and qualitative analytical tools that can be used to understand a local or regional economy. The guidelines were well received by the Texas districts and the EDA regional office and have been requested by communities both in and outside of Texas. The results of the second phase of the project, Linking State and Regional Economic Development Planning in Texas, were distributed to members of the Texas state legislature. The report made specific recommendations for improving the statewide economic development planning process in Texas.

TIP Contact Jon Roberts