Overview – Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the East Central Iowa Region

Envision East Central Iowa has worked with a cross section of regional stakeholders to explore the region’s economic development ecosystem, and how it can evolve.

A key focus is a collaborative approach to building an inclusive and resilient future for the region. This project has been an 8-month long visioning and strategic planning process running from July 2021 through March 2022.


  1. Create a common vision that will energize and unite the region around an economic development strategy and its implementation while acknowledging that implementation of the vision may look different in the various areas of the region.
  2. Build economic pathways for success for both businesses and individuals, especially for those who are underrepresented, have significant barriers, or experienced greater harm due to COVID-19.
  3. Embrace, celebrate and leverage our varied and diverse strengths, at both community and regional levels
  4. Be inclusive of different voices and perspectives.
  5. Identify areas for collaboration on economic development projects, including ways existing assets and institutions can be leveraged for greater success across the region.
  6. Identify success markers to promote collective accountability after plan adoption.

The CEDS (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) is a pre-requisite for the federal designation as an Economic Development District and must be updated every five years.

Although East Central Iowa’s last CEDS was updated in 2018, regional leadership led by the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) decided to advance the timeline due to the impacts of COVID-19.

According to the EDA’s regulations and guidelines, a CEDS must incorporate the concept of economic resilience (the ability to avoid, withstand, and recover from economic shifts, natural disasters, the impacts of climate change, etc.) and meet the following general criteria:

  • It is developed with broad-based community participation
  • It is readily accessible to regional stakeholders
  • It is usable to stakeholders as a guide to the regional economy and for action to improve it
  • Seen through the lens of economic resiliency, the four required elements (Summary Background, SWOT Analysis, Strategic Direction/Action Plan, Evaluation Framework) logically build upon each other to result in a coherent, targeted document.


For more information about ECICOG’s CEDS Project, visit envision-eastcentraliowa.org or contact:

Karen M. Kurt, Executive Director ECICOG
East Central Iowa Council of Governments
Phone: (319) 365-9941 Ext. 122
Email: karen.kurt@ecicog.org