Tuesday February 16, 2021
Economic development strategy focuses on workforce development, resiliency
Workforce development will continue to be one of the four themes in the newly-adopted 2020-2025 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), the regional economic development plan developed by the Capital Area Economic Development District board (CAEDD) to guide project development and funding eligibility for the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) grant programs as well as encourage other projects in the region that address those areas of work.
The CAEDD board, which operates under CAPCOG, began 2020 with an assessment of trends looking at the opportunities and challenges of the region recognizing that the region, anchored by Austin, would continue to see robust revenue from recreation and entertainment venues, retail, and other activities that drive success in tourism, but by May with the pandemic’s growing impact, the board began adjusting the objectives for the region adding an objective for resiliency as unemployment climbed in job sectors that make up the tourism industry.
Workforce development has shifted some in past years but continuing to focus on it is important, said Betty Voights, CAPCOG executive director, who noted upskilling and re-skilling current workers along with addressing education and training gaps for youth and adult students are key objectives. In addition to workforce development and resiliency, new objectives to the five-year plan look at entrepreneurship and innovation as well as infrastructure focusing on freight, broadband, and commuting patterns given the distance between affordable housing and most employment centers — the areas of infrastructure that are important to economic competitiveness, according to Voights.
The objectives for resiliency focus on working with communities to assess long-term resiliency as well as identifying business sectors and infrastructure that could impede growth and diversification. The CAEDD will meet February 19 to finetune the plan’s performance measures and will work throughout the year with CAPCOG staff on activities that support CEDS themes. CAPCOG is designated by EDA as an economic development district; the board’s membership includes representatives of economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, the manufacturing industry, both of the region’s workforce development organizations, private businesses, and local elected officials.
Read the CEDS.
Learn more about the Community & Economic Development Division.