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Economic Development Strategy

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Southeastern Wisconsin is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development prepared collaboratively with the Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership.

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Economic development in Southeastern Wisconsin is conducted by county and local economic and community development organizations, including economic development corporations or agencies established by each of the seven counties in the Region. The Milwaukee 7 Partnership for Economic Development (M7) provides a regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties.

During 2020 and 2021, M7 and the Commission prepared the 2021-2025 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Southeastern Wisconsin, with input from M7’s Regional Economic Partnership (REP) working group and other stakeholders. The Commission adopted the new CEDS in September 2021 and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) approved the CEDS in April 2022.



Purpose & Background

Preparing a new CEDS every five years ensures that communities and organizations within the Region qualify for U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding targeted at economically distressed areas. This funding includes grants under EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment programs, which provide funding for infrastructure projects and revolving loan funds and other business assistance programs, respectively.

The CEDS planning process brings together diverse interests, including both public and business interests, to develop a strategic plan for strengthening the regional economy and a plan of action to carry out the strategies. In addition, the CEDS provides:

  1. A regional perspective for identifying and capitalizing on economic advantages, including strategies to reduce unemployment and increase incomes in the Region.
  2. A more widespread understanding of the Region’s economic development work program, including an opportunity for public review and input.

  3. A forum for identifying and prioritizing investment projects.


Action Plan

The Action Plan for the 2021-2025 CEDS includes the economic development vision, goals, and strategies for the Region as well as action steps to achieve the vision/goals and implement the strategies.

The Action Plan is focused around five goals, each with a set of underlying strategies and actions. As depicted in the graphic, the overarching first goal is to Unify the Region around a comprehensive approach to economic development based on the three key pillars of Growth, Talent, and Livability, all supported through the provision of a modern, efficient regional Infrastructure.


The five goals of the CEDS Action Plan represented as a building: Infrastructure is the base; Growth, Talent, and Livability are pillars; and Unity is the roof. The words Equity and Resilience are repeated above and below the pillars to emphasize how they are addressed through multiple goals.