As the designated Economic Development District, it is the CEDD’s responsibility to develop, maintain, and update the Charlotte region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). A CEDS is updated every five years, and must exist to retain status as an Economic Development District. This type of comprehensive strategic planning empowers elected officials and regional economic developers in their mission to grow the region.
Expanding Economic Opportunity for All
This goal focuses on expanding economic opportunity for individuals, businesses and innovators across our region. Within the framework of the CEDS and influence of our public sector partners, economic opportunity includes five components as illustrated to the right.
Improve cross-regional coordination to align regional workforce and economic development systems
- Harmonize disparate labor market data collection and dissemination tools across various workforce and economic development groups in the region to provide consistent and clear data that aligns with industry clusters and niche sectors region wide.
- Integrate career pathway information and related data to ensure alignment of message across the region and maximize resources that may be available outside of different workforce development service areas.
- Assess the various job-seeking resources and career awareness tools used by workforce providers and educators across the region and engage leaders to discuss opportunities for collaboration. in order to retain them in the region.
- Map workforce development resources and tools by county to identify opportunities for cross promotion by partners to improve navigation of available services by jobseekers, students, unemployed and under employed individuals.
- Facilitate cross-workforce board area meetings and agenda items that promote information exchange to enhance collaboration and encourage partnerships across the Centralina region.
- Examine opportunities to advocate for greater access to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act data that is accessible to select partners as non-aggregate geographic sub-data that remains secure and protective of sensitive data features.
Boost the talent pipeline through collaborative, innovative and person-centered approaches
- Network local business engagement leaders across various workforce and economic development organizations to collaborate on talent solutions to address businesses’ needs.
- Support career counselors and educators understanding of the impact of AI/Automation on jobs in the region and the available resources to support job seekers with career transition or upskilling opportunities by capitalizing on technology like Centralina Career Pivot, Centralina Career Headlight and NCcareers.org.
- Support the region’s growing older adult population (55+) by establishing an Experienced Workforce Initiative to re-engage the cohort and repurpose professional skills.
- Create a regional community of practice among educators, workforce development partners, industry and economic developers interested in collaborating to map, share and scale local practices that strengthen career pathways.
- Through NCWorks NextGen, expand local on-ramps to education, training and employment for our disconnected youth and young adults and share innovative best practices region wide.
- Support local educational attainment goals via county commitments to the myFutureNC.org initiative and share good practice across the region
Expand local access to high-quality and affordable childcare and early childhood education region wide
- Support local efforts to engage business and industry in constructive conversations and creative solutions to address childcare needs and promote family-friendly workplace practices with Family Forward NC.
- Support local governments with land use planning and best practice models for the safe siting of community early care facilities to meet employee needs.
- Convene interested policy makers, elected officials, businesses and educators around universal pre-kindergarten and other policy solutions that support early childhood education.
Increase the regional availability and connectivity of entrepreneurship and small business supports
- Map resources by county to assist with partnership development and improve outreach to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
- Promote connectivity within region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through linkage of entrepreneurial resources, support groups and state-wide organizations such as NC IDEA.
- Support innovation through or by stage of development partnerships that assist with aligning resources to entrepreneurs though stage development (e.g., Small Business and Technology Development Center, NC Community College Small Business Centers).
- Identify and engage pre-retirement small business owners to explore business transition strategies, including employee ownership.
- Increase corporate involvement in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by establishing opportunities for entrepreneurs to become industry problem solvers.
Increase engagement of the region’s anchor institutions as key implementers in an inclusive economic growth strategy
- Support the regular leadership convening of community colleges, universities and health care institutions to build networks and explore project specific collaborations.
- Develop an anchor institution strategy that identifies opportunities to enhance procurement, hiring, workforce development and other levels of inclusive growth.
Building Community Supportive Infrastructure
Addressing the unique needs and assets of local communities is fundamental to achieving our vision of Prosperity for All. The Prosperity Profile analysis indicated that our rural and mixed rural counties have not benefitted as robustly from pre-pandemic growth as other areas of the region.
Support implementation of completed regional mobility initiatives CONNECT Beyond and the Greater Charlotte Regional Freight Mobility Plan
- Develop an employer-based commuter program for major regional and community employment centers.
- Expand the regional coalition of CONNECT Beyond champions to coordinate major cross-jurisdictional mobility investments and exploration of regional partnership models.
- Improve transit system coordination (routes, scheduling, fares, etc.) across fixed-route and human services transportation and include equity considerations identified by the CONNECT Beyond transportation equity variables.
- Support N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) planning process to develop a regional architecture for digital transportation communication, known as intelligent transportation system (ITS) and identify opportunities for economic developer or industry engagement where appropriate.
Increase coordination between transportation planning organizations, transit agencies and local economic developers
- Develop stronger systems for regional coordination between MPO, RPO, transit agencies and county economic development leads through joint meetings, joint planning exercises and proactive dialogue to understand the infrastructure needs of major industry.
- Evaluate opportunities for consortium applications to competitive infrastructure grants offered under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (e.g. MEGA, INFRA, RAISE) that address regional or cross-jurisdictional infrastructure needs.
- Seek economic development leader advocacy for major transportation projects and support for competitive funding applications, even for projects that are located outside of a leader’s county.
- Support the early participation of MPO and RPO staff in business recruitment and economic development strategy initiatives at the county and regional levels to consider how adjacent land uses, existing and planned transportation connections and employee health inform the siting of new employment centers.
- Ensure all Centralina region MPOs and RPOs participate in the update of land use data that supports the region’s travel demand model and the forecast of employment and population distribution within each county.
Identify regional infrastructure and utility gaps impacting major employment sites and develop innovative, resilient solutions
- Work with counties to identify and map infrastructure and utility gaps for major employment sites (future office/industrial park locations, large land tracts, etc.).
- Support local competitive funding applications for utility and infrastructure planning and investment while exploring opportunities for regional consortium opportunities where appropriate.
- Support the inclusion of innovation and resilience in infrastructure investments and include consideration of the hazard mitigation strategies identified in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved Hazard Mitigation Plans and the Centralina Regional Resilience Collaboration (RRC) program.
- Work to incentivize green infrastructure solutions (nature-based stormwater solutions, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, multimodal transportation infrastructure such as bike racks, sidewalks, transit stops, etc.) in mixed-use, commercial and industrial site development.
Support local government land use planning and development decision making to align with the region’s growth framework
- Launch a regional housing dialogue to understand challenges to housing diversity, quality and affordability and opportunities for collaboration.
- Identify and share models for compact industrial development and other solutions from high-growth regions with limited supply of industrial land.
- Conduct outreach to examine local government regional growth framework implementation activities via adoption in their land use, zoning and comprehensive plan documents.
- Promote the Prosperity Profile resilience, mobility and community urban-rural variables as a measure of equity conditions for the region.
Expand broadband and digital infrastructure across the region and within communities
- Support NCDOT initiatives to incorporate broadband into new and upgraded transportation facilities.
- Develop a Digital Inclusion Plan for the region that supports the State of North Carolina’s Digital Divide Plan and leverages new resources offered in the American Rescue Plan Act and other related state and federal digital infrastructure funding opportunities.
- Support local competitive funding applications for broadband and digital infrastructure planning and investment while exploring opportunities for regional consortium opportunities where appropriate.
Strengthening Regional Resilience and Global Competitiveness
building economic resilience and continuing the region’s global engagement relies on four mutually supportive activities that are linked by a focus on stronger regional engagement and collaboration across economic development actors.
Develop a refined regional cluster strategy that builds on cross linkages and responds to emerging growth opportunities
- Identify cross linkages and convergences within the advanced manufacturing, health & life sciences and IT and logistics & distribution clusters.
- Work with county economic development agencies to identify opportunities to revise cluster strategy based on convergence analysis, focusing specifically on supply chain, talent development, R&D and branding/marketing.
Build economic resilience in the advanced manufacturing cluster to address talent, R&D and regional collaboration needs
- Investigate and determine feasibility of a regional Supply Chain Council to engage existing industry to plan for effective solutions.
- Support the development of a regional network of innovation hubs to house advanced manufacturing research, testing, prototype fabrication and workforce development programming.
- Develop stronger systems for business engagement and industry knowledge sharing to understand and engage on critical issues such as available supportive resources, AI/automation transition, Industry 4.0 innovations and youth career awareness.
- Invest in diversifying and upskilling the advanced manufacturing talent pipeline through apprenticeships, harmonized career pathway descriptions and collaborative training models.
- Facilitate expansion of second and third tier companies by offering supports related to supply chain diversification, enhancing their product or materials innovation and manufacturing capabilities and supporting their expansion into new foreign and domestic markets.
Strengthen internal knowledge sharing and external promotion of the region.
- Improve cross-regional knowledge of target industries and niche sectors in each county to strengthen regional competitiveness and identify opportunities for collaboration.
- Amplify regional branding and storytelling of target industries and niche sectors to highlight county assets and reinforce regional competitiveness.
- Engage in cross-region and cross-state economic development initiatives that align with the region’s target industries, including the health innovation corridor, N.C. clean tech cluster and N.C. biotech cluster initiatives.
Enhance the research and development capacity within the region through proactive support and engagement of universities and industry
- Support the development of new and expansion of existing centers of excellence that support commercialization activities within the region’s industry clusters and niche sectors such as energy, materials, defense, IT/cyber and life sciences.
- Assess the R&D, innovation and technology commercialization resources within the region’s industry clusters to identify areas of weakness, opportunity and collaboration.
- Expand and integrate R&D capabilities within the industry clusters by connecting industry and entrepreneurs with R&D capabilities at universities and centers of excellence.
Strengthen the region’s global engagement approach
- Map relationships, investments and assets by county to identify target countries for a regionally coordinated global engagement strategy.
- Explore and encourage creative partnerships with target countries or global networks that bring expertise, investment and good practice to addressing economic development, infrastructure and policy challenges in the region.
- Connect Centralina EDD global engagement efforts to public diplomacy efforts of local governments, colleges and universities and explore opportunities for collaboration.
The evaluation framework serves as a mechanism to gauge progress on the successful implementation of the overall CEDS while providing information for the CEDS Annual Performance Report, as required by EDA. These regular updates keep the strategic direction and action plan outlined in the CEDS current and the plan as a whole, relevant.
Expanding Economic Opportunity for All
Metrics to Monitor
- Small business growth - Centralina EDD Portal Economic Indicators
- Unemployment - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Educational attainment: bachelor’s degree or more - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Median household income - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Poverty - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- School poverty - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Neighborhood poverty - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Number and frequency of regional collaboration activities to improve alignment of workforce and economic development - Collaboration & Engagement
- Number of competitive grants submitted for new workforce development initiatives - Public Investment
- Amount of public funding invested in entrepreneurship and small business support facilities - Public Investment
- Percent change in confidence that labor market conditions are improving - Stakeholder Perceptions
- Percent change in confidence that entrepreneurs and small business owners have access to regional networks and supports - Stakeholder perceptions
Enhancing Regional and Community Supportive Infrastructure
Metrics to Monitor
- Community resilience Index - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Housing burden: rent - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Housing burden: mortgage commute time - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Housing and transportation costs as a percentage of income - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Number and frequency of regional collaboration activities to improve collaboration between regional transportation planning organizations and economic developers - Collaboration & Engagement
- Amount of public funding invested in transportation, utility and broadband systems - Public Investment
- Number of letters of support issued by Centralina EDD for competitive funding applications for transportation, utility and broadband investments - Public Investment
- Percent change in confidence that the regional is collaborating on infrastructure investments - Stakeholder perceptions
Strengthening Economic Resilience and Global Competitiveness
Metrics to Monitor
- International export in goods - Centralina EDD Portal Economic Indicators
- International export by county - Centralina EDD Portal Economic Indicators
- Amount of foreign direct investment - Centralina EDD Portal Economic Indicators
- Rate of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree - Prosperity Profile Indicators
- Number and frequency of global engagement activities - Collaboration & Engagement
- Number of competitive grants submitted for facilities or programs that support R&D, innovation and commercialization activities - Public Investment
- Number of letters of support issued by Centralina EDD for competitive grants - Public Investment
- Percent change in confidence of the growth potential of the region’s five industry clusters - Stakeholder perceptions
- Percent change in confidence that the supply chain is improving - Stakeholder perceptions