Over the past year, the WMSRDC staff and the CEDS Strategy Committee have worked hard to strip down and rebuild the CEDS, the region’s economic development plan. The 2018 edition marks a new era for the region’s CEDS… you won’t find any boilerplates here! First, the new CEDS is about 1/3 the length of the previous one, and features a new visual format. Second, the CEDS content is linked to feedback received through a series of SWOT sessions. The Action Plan, which contains goals, objectives and strategies, is tailored to the region’s economic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Lastly, the new CEDS does not include a “project list,” which is no longer a requirement of a CEDS document. In addition to offering the 2018 CEDS draft, WMSRDC is renewing its commitment to actively engage with economic development stakeholders within the region, and connect them with resources and information to increase the economic capacity and prosperity of the region.
The WMSRDC Region’s economic development plan, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, has been completely redesigned to improve its utility and impact for the region. First and foremost, the contents of this CEDS cascade directly from a regional SWOT Analysis, which was conducted through a series of meetings in fall 2016. As a result, the Action Plan is uniquely tailored to the region’s economic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Second, the document features a compact layout and is more visually attractive. For CEDS users who wish for more economic development information and resources, there is an 2018 CEDS Appendix to supplement the main document. Third, the new CEDS does not include a “project list,” as it is no longer a CEDS document requirement. In lieu of a project list, WMSRDC is renewing its commitment to be actively engaged with economic development stakeholders within the region.
About the CEDS
The CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development, and is the result of a regionally-owned planning process designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of a region. The CEDS is required to maintain the region’s designation as an Economic Development District (EDD) by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). This designation enables communities within the WMSRDC region to remain eligible for EDA funding programs. Since 1966, EDA has made over 40 investments in the WMSRDC region, including those in industrial park and infrastructure improvements, technology centers, technical assistance, and loans. Development of the CEDS is led by WMSRDC, overseen by the CEDS Committee, and approved by the WMSRDC Board. As the designated EDD for the counties of Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana, WMSRDC is required to maintain the CEDS annually and update it every five years. Preparation of the CEDS is overseen by a committee of representatives from throughout the WMSRDC region which meets quarterly.