Together North Jersey (TNJ) was created in 2011 to help develop a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) for the 13 counties of the North Jersey region: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren. While it was among the nation’s most vital economic regions, North Jersey faced significant challenges to economic development efforts. Its employment lagged national trends, job growth among the counties was uneven, and the region as a whole was experiencing a net loss of residents due to domestic outmigration.
To address these and other long-term issues affecting the region’s economic competitiveness, TNJ engaged TIP Strategies to craft a key component of the RPSD: an EDA-compliant Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The North Jersey CEDS sought to identify economic challenges and opportunities that had regional impact and cross-jurisdictional application and ultimately integrate local, regional, and statewide initiatives in order to achieve long-term prosperity. The CEDS was divided into two volumes: Action Plan and Technical Report. The Action Plan was informed by a regional economic profile and consisted of four focus areas: regional innovation clusters; entrepreneurship and innovation; infrastructure; and workforce training. TIP also provided a guide to implementing the Action Plan and metrics to measure its success. The Technical Report contained supporting components of the CEDS. As planning efforts concluded, TNJ created four task forces to put the RPSD in motion. They made significant progress on implementing the talent and workforce strategies outlined in the CEDS, particularly related to the Port of New Jersey and the Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism sector.