The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a planning process and document developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) Economic Development Districts (EDDs) that afford local governments within each EDD, eligibility for EDA capital improvement funds. In recent years, EDA has encouraged state associations of EDDs to develop a statewide CEDS.
The Arkansas Association of Development Organizations (AADO) and the Institute for Economic Advancement (IEA) applied for and received a grant from the Southwest Regional Office of the EDA for the development of Arkansas’ first statewide CEDS.
Not only is this the first statewide CEDS, but, even more importantly, it is the first bottom’s up Arkansas economic development strategic plan ever undertaken from a local government perspective, undertaken cooperatively by the municipalities, counties, and their planning and economic development districts (PDDs/EDDs). The Arkansas CEDS is one of the only web-based efforts nationally.
The Arkansas Municipal League (AML) and the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) are major partners in the development of this CEDS. The Arkansas Economic Developers (AED) and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) have also lent their support to the effort.
The Arkansas Statewide CEDS reflects a vital document for addressing economic development issues, challenges, and opportunities by creating broad economic development strategies that can be utilized by Arkansas’ communities and the eight EDA Development Districts (PDDS/EDDs) regions. It is the objective of the CEDS to enable Arkansans to identify the essential economic development issues, challenges, and opportunities that have arisen in the state, create a strategy for dealing with those issues, challenges, and opportunities, and where appropriate incorporate the five goals from Governor Beebe’s Strategic Plan for Economic Development into a comprehensive statewide CEDS strategy.