The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization (NEFCO) General Policy Board adopted the 2023-2028 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) on January 18, 2023. The CEDS is a regional economic development plan, which aims to promote prosperity, equity, and resiliency in NEFCO’s four-county region of Portage, Stark, Summit, and Wayne Counties.
NEFCO, which serves as the federal Economic Development District for the four-county region, updates the CEDS every five years. The 2023-2028 CEDS is a full update to the 2018 CEDS. This report was prepared to fulfill a requirement of NEFCO’s Partnership Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). Preparation and maintenance of the CEDS maintains NEFCO’s status as an EDA-designated Economic Development District and the region’s eligibility for EDA grant funding. NEFCO is one of 380 Economic Development Districts in the U.S.
The 2023-2028 CEDS includes the following goals:
- Address the supply chain and promote domestic production
- Support programs that build human capital
- Encourage development of industries that support Northeast Ohio’s economic clusters
- Promote development of blighted, underused, vacant, and environmentally challenged sites
- Encourage investment in infrastructure and affordable housing
- Support programs that diversify and build strong, resilient local and regional economies
- Develop benchmarking to evaluate region’s progress and competitiveness
The CEDS includes a comprehensive demographic analysis and overview of regional economic conditions; a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis; target industry identification; a resiliency component, integrating NEFCO’s recently published Economic Recovery and Resiliency Plan; and an Action Plan, including goals, subgoals, and strategies, with identified partners and resources, implementation timeframes, performance metrics, and NEFCO-specific strategies. The CEDS is the result of a robust planning process that began in April 2022 and has included significant input from the NEFCO’s advisory and technical committee.
“This plan provides a blueprint to help our region build a thriving, inclusive, and resilient economy,” said NEFCO Executive Director Joseph Hadley. “Implementation of the CEDS will require responsive community and business leaders, innovative solutions, and regional collaboration.”
“The CEDS will drive the NEFCO regional economic development planning work program for the next five years,” said NEFCO Economic Development Planner Nick Lautzenheiser. “The CEDS includes seven goals and numerous subgoals and strategies to promote regional economic prosperity and resiliency. The CEDS is meant to be dynamic; goals and strategies can be modified to respond to regional priorities.” Lautzenheiser notes that the CEDS is not meant to supersede or replace any existing community or organizational plan. “We are fortunate to have numerous economic development organizations and communities with economic development departments in our region. The NEFCO CEDS is all about regionalism and collaboration. Many of the goals and subgoals included in the CEDS are intended to be led by communities and organizations other than NEFCO. NEFCO’s role is to promote collaborative partnerships and regional cooperation. When one community in our region succeeds, our entire region succeeds. We hope the CEDS inspires and leads to successful project implementation.”
To learn more visit https://www.nefcoplanning.org/Comprehensive-Economic-Development-Strategy-CEDS.