The Sonoma-Mendocino Economic Development District

Created through a joint powers agreement between Sonoma County and Mendocino County in January 2015, the Sonoma-Mendocino Economic Development District (EDD) represents a two-county partnership for promoting regional economic development.

County leaders recognized an important opportunity to coordinate and pool resources in areas where joint planning can accomplish more for the region’s growth and development than either county’s independent efforts. By establishing the EDD, the counties have created the institutional capacity to solve economic problems that demand resources and cooperation from both counties and to address common economic challenges and opportunities.

In collaboration with both counties, local partners and community members, the EDD has undertaken the first joint multi-year economic development planning effort for the two-county region. The effort culminates in the publication of a five-year plan called a comprehensive economic development strategy, or CEDS, expected in Fall 2016.

With community member input gathered through a public engagement phase that runs throughout the spring of 2016 – including a survey, interviews and public forums – and a comprehensive regional economic analysis, the CEDS will set forth a multi-year strategy for securing a robust and stable regional economy for many years to come.

Following publication of the final CEDS, the Sonoma-Mendocino EDD intends to apply for designation and funding under the partnership planning program of the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies

The U.S. Economic Development Administration requires EDDs around the country to prepare Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, or CEDS, through a planning process meant to help foster local collaboration towards specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals for regional economies. A successful CEDS will follow the EDA’s guidelines, but more importantly, will reflect the unique strengths and opportunities of each region and the collective planning efforts of local government leaders, nonprofits, major employers, citizens, and other community stakeholders.

The CEDS process begins with a review of the existing conditions in the area and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) for Sonoma-Mendocino. The CEDS process also calls for broad-based public engagement that will capture local community voices and input. These inputs form the basis for developing an effective action plan with SMART goals and a strategy that aims to uncover untapped economic potential in the region and to secure a robust and stable regional economy for many years to come.

Community Participation

Community participation plays a vital role in the CEDS process. Input from community members is an essential ingredient for creating a strategy capable of accomplishing the goals it sets forth. Not only does community input help the EDD identify shared economic opportunities and challenges or reinforcing and offsetting strengths and weaknesses in the two counties, it also guides the allocation of scarce resources to the issues that matter most to the people who should benefit from the CEDS.

Throughout the CEDS process, we will extend a number of opportunities for community members to participate in developing the strategy for our region. We sought participation through a community survey, which closed April 25, 2016, and now invite community members to attend a public workshop on May 17 or May 18 by registering here. We also encourage you to learn more about our region’s economy by exploring the interactive map. Finally, you can follow our progress on this website where we’ll bring you the latest updates, keep you informed of events and opportunities for participation, and share related materials.

Check back for more information on your regional CEDS, sign up for news and updates below or feel free contact us directly with questions and comments.