In 1969, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) established economic development regions, primarily multi-county regions and Tribal Nations, as the primary bodies to receive partnership-planning grants. Comprehensive regional plans have been a prerequisite for federal (EDA) grants. Over the past 40-years, the EDA has done studies that show that grants which are awarded to regions with Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) tend to have more consistent, positive outcomes. As part of their post COVID-19 strategy, the EDA has started to promote a CEDS model called “nesting”. This is where a statewide CEDS plan incorporates the goals and outcomes found in regional CEDS plans, to build greater collaboration across regions, and at the state level. With its CEDS Program initiative, Colorado takes its place among the first states to “nest” its regional and statewide CEDS plan.
Colorado Statewide CEDS Program
OEDIT is advancing a statewide CEDS report to update Colorado’s Blueprint 2.0 economic development strategy. This report will facilitate future applications to grant programs supported by the EDA, to advance statewide goals for key industries. The state’s new CEDS will benefit all of Colorado’s 64 counties.
The Statewide CEDS plan will also consider the outcomes of the CARES-funded EDA planning grants currently administered by the State of Colorado. Beneficiaries include the Rural Colorado COVID-19 Regional Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps and the Colorado Tourism Roadmap to Recovery (Colorado Recovery Assistance for Tourism) programs. Additional input will be collected from those universities and economic development regions that received CARES planning grants for their regions and projects.
Colorado Economic Development District CEDS Development
Colorado is divided into 14 Economic Development Regions representing the state's unique regional economies. As part of this program, regions that do not have an EDA-approved CEDS, plan will receive assistance from OEDIT to develop a regional plan. As these plans are completed, the regional findings from these CEDS will be reviewed as part of Colorado’s statewide CEDS data collection process. The Colorado Resiliency Office will also partner with OEDIT to ensure that regional and statewide CEDS align with the Colorado Resiliency Framework.
Economic Development Districts Currently Without a CEDS
Eligible Colorado regions without an approved CEDS plan will be invited to take advantage of a non-competitive, reimbursement grant to assist with the costs associated with developing a CEDS plan. The grant, provided by OEDIT from federal funding, will cover up to $40,000 in costs related to researching and writing a CEDS plan. The goal of this grant program is to ensure that every region has equal access to federal funding programs administered by the EDA, USDA and HUD; thereby furthering each region’s ability to leverage its unique assets to maximize economic outcomes.
Economic Development Districts That Currently Have a CEDS
For those Colorado economic development regions that already have a CEDS plan in place, OEDIT will provide a $40,000 non-competitive grant to complete a project, or a phase of a multi-stage project, that is identified in their existing regional CEDS plan.