As the teams approach the halfway point of the CREC Policy Academy to fuel strategic alignment, a promising tapestry of progress is being woven by six teams with members representing states and Economic Development Districts (EDDs) from Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Delving into the intricacies of economic development and partnerships, the Policy Academy embarked in April 2023 to align state and regional strategies to fuel economic success in each of the six states.

State visions for the alignment initiative are ambitious and touch on some of the most important themes in economic development today – inclusivity, the intersection of workforce and economic development, climate resilience, and opportunities for rural economies. Without greater state-regional alignment, it will be difficult to make progress on these priorities. Examples from these state vision statements are: 

  • Formalize and institutionalize collaborative regional and state planning processes and build an inclusive economic development community within the state.
  • A shared framework would exist across the state and regions with ongoing two-way communication and awareness across both workforce and economic development partners. This framework would serve as a critical touchpoint for legislation affecting local economic development.
  • A strategic plan or framework for the collaboration between the state, EDDs, and stakeholders guided by a SWOT analysis and an MOU to work together in good faith to incorporate one another’s efforts in the strategic and economic development planning.
  • Improve regional collaboration and  develop a focused statewide climate resilience program.
  • Fuel improved alignment between the EDDs and the state.
  • Advance rural development by aligning efforts between the state, EDDs, Native American tribes, and universities.

Six months into the experience, state and EDD leaders continue to learn new ways to better align their strategic initiatives and everyday activities. As they look to the future of economic development through the Policy Academy journey, areas of focus include: 

  • Continuing to work toward aligning the activities of state development agencies with EDDs and nurturing long-term alignment 
  • Recognizing the need to continue building communication channels among participants
  • Sustaining this work beyond the end of the Policy Academy 

Determining how this work can expand and be sustained in the long-term will be a major focus over the final months of the Policy Academy, which will wrap up in early 2024. As the Policy Academy approaches its winter conclusion, the progress made by these teams is not just a milestone—it is a narrative of resilience, innovation, and a shared commitment to shaping the economic future.

For more information, please see the full report, Empowering Economic Development. Progress on the CREC Policy Academy for Strategic Alignment.

Access our related articles: 

State-Regional Strategic Alignment

Building Stronger Relationships in Economic Development

This blog article was adapted from a report that originally appeared on the State Economic Development Executives Network website under the heading for State-Local Alignment. Please note that the materials included on the SEDE Network’s State-Local Alignment webpages were prepared by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness using Federal funds under award ED21HDQ3070060 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.