The purpose of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is to bring together the public and private sectors to develop a strategic plan to diversify and strengthen the Region’s economy. The CEDS is intended to:
- Provide a basis for a more widespread understanding of the ongoing economic development work program in the Region, which draws heavily from the work of the M7 organization.
- Meet the requirements of the EDA for such work, thereby strengthening efforts to secure Federal funding for projects in the seven-county Region that have a focus and impact on advancing economic development that will benefit economically distressed areas.
Preparing the New 2021-2025 CEDS
M7 is partnering with the Regional Economic Partnership (REP) and SEWRPC to prepare a new 2021-2025 CEDS for Southeastern Wisconsin, which will supplant the currently adopted 2015-2020 CEDS. Regions must prepare a new CEDS at least every five years for communities and organizations within the Region to qualify for certain U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding.
Opportunities to Provide Input
In fall 2020, the CEDS partnership obtained initial input for the 2021-2025 CEDS through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) exercise that will help to inform the strategic direction of the new CEDS. Input was obtained in two ways:
- Virtual Stakeholder Meeting: On Monday, October 26, M7 and SEWRPC held a virtual stakeholder meeting discussing the current state of the regional economy, as well as the historical trends and future projections that will inform the goals, objectives, and strategies in the new CEDS. As part of this virtual meeting, attendees were also given the opportunity to participate in the SWOT exercise. Access the presentation given at the meeting here.
- Online SWOT Survey: For those unable to attend the meeting, an online SWOT survey was available through Monday, November 2.
The SWOT input is being considered as M7 and SEWRPC prepare the next pieces of the CEDS. M7 and SEWRPC will share a draft CEDS and ask for input during a second round of stakeholder engagement in early 2021.
Potential to Become an EDD
Having an adopted CEDS makes the Region eligible to apply to EDA to become an Economic Development District (EDD). Following adoption of the 2015-2020 CEDS in late 2015, SEWRPC submitted a request to the EDA for designation of the Region as an EDD, which would have made the Region eligible for support from EDA through its Partnership Planning program to help implement the CEDS. In March 2017, SEWRPC was informed by EDA that the level of economic distress in the Region is not significant enough to warrant designation as an EDD. However, counties and communities that include an economically distressed census tract can apply for EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment grants, based on the adopted CEDS, if those grants will benefit residents of economically distressed areas. Following completion of the new 2021-2025 CEDS, it is possible that SEWRPC could submit a new request to EDA to designate the Region as an EDD.
Benefits of Preparing and Adopting a CEDS
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 a regional perspective for identifying and capitalizing on economic advantages, including strategies to reduce unemployment and increase incomes in the Region.
- Provides a more widespread understanding of the Region’s economic development work program, including an opportunity for public review and input.
- Provides a forum for identifying and prioritizing investment projects.
Adoption of the CEDS by a county board makes county and local governments in the county with economically distressed areas eligible to apply for grants under EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment programs, provided the grant project would benefit the distressed area. These programs provide funding for infrastructure projects and revolving loan funds and other business assistance programs, respectively. In addition, other Federal agencies look favorably on joint/regional planning efforts when reviewing proposed projects and grant requests.
Materials for 2015-2020 CEDS
The CEDS partnership worked together during 2014 and 2015 to develop the 2015-2020 CEDS for the Region. The 2015-2020 CEDS was adopted by each of the seven county boards in the Region and was adopted by the Commission in December 2015.
For More Information
Questions about the CEDS may be directed to:
Ben McKay, AICP
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607