CEDAS Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

city street in Connecticut
Photo: CEDAS

Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) won a Bronze Rank for its Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development Certification Program, a project in the category of Innovation Programs and Initiatives of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.

 CEDAS is Connecticut’s economic development professional association, and it is led by a volunteer board of directors.  The best practices program was put together as a response to slow economic growth in Connecticut.  Garrett Sheehan, CEDAS President said, “I want to thank IEDC for this recognition and all of our CEDAS members who helped build this program from the ground up.  It was a truly collaborative process, working with planners and economic developers from many towns to create the criteria.” 

 In 2019, 24 communities were accredited through the program.  Certification in 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but is scheduled to resume in 2021.  CEDAS partnered with other organizations for the 2019 launch including:  Advance CT, Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the University of Connecticut-Department of Extension. The support from sponsors Eversource, UI, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM.

 “The primary goal of this program has always been to raise the standard for economic development in Connecticut,” Sheehan said.  “Our municipalities are very different, but the basic principles of good economic development are applicable across all of our communities. By being great economic developers at the local level we can drive growth that is inclusive for our entire state.”

 IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 35 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

In 2019, The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS), the state’s professional association of economic developers, created a unique certification program to encourage best practices in municipal economic development and land use in collaboration with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA) and the University of Connecticut Department of Extension. The program encourages municipalities to make continuous improvements to land use and economic development practices, ultimately improving economic opportunities and quality of life for residents. The program requires an application to be completed documenting various economic development and land use practices, policies, and programs taking place at the municipal level. In its first year, 24 municipalities statewide were certified under the program as demonstrating these best practices.

 The program is intended to drive communities to pursue excellence in land use and economic development practices and to recognize the communities that have established best practices. In pursuit of these best practices, planners and economic developers use this program to engage community stakeholders in discussions about how to achieve higher standards and develop creative, community-specific ways to implement them.

 “The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

 About the International Economic Development Council

 The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.


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