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What We Do

Economic Development


Through a planning grant provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Program develops and maintains the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region. A group of local leaders from all sectors of the population guides the process (click here for a complete list of CEDS Committee members). In addition, grants are packaged for public works projects and technical assistance.

EDA Investment Priorities

Within the parameters of a competitive grant process, all projects are evaluated to determine if they advance global competitiveness, create jobs, leverage public and private resources, can demonstrate readiness and ability to use funds quickly and effectively and link to specific and measureable outcomes. To facilitate evaluation EDA has established the following investment priorities:

1. Collaborative Regional Innovation
Initiatives that support the development and growth of innovation clusters based on existing regional competitive strengths. Initiatives must engage stakeholders; facilitate collaboration among urban, suburban and rural (including Tribal) areas; provide stability for economic development through long-term intergovernmental and public/private collaboration; and, support the growth of existing and emerging industries.

2. Public/Private Partnerships
Investments that use both public and private sector resources and leverage complementary investments by other government/public entities and/or non-profits.

3. National Strategic Priorities
Initiatives that encourage job growth and business expansion in clean energy; green technologies; sustainable manufacturing; information technology (e.g., broadband, smart grid) infrastructure; communities severely impacted by automotive industry restructuring; natural disaster mitigation and resiliency; access to capital for small and medium sized and ethnically diverse enterprises; and, innovations in science, health care and alternative fuel technologies.

4. Global Competitiveness
Investments that support high-growth businesses and innovation-based entrepreneurs to expand and compete in global markets.

5. Environmentally-Sustainable Development
Investments that encompass best practices in "environmentally sustainable development," broadly defined, to include projects that enhance environmental quality and develop and implement green products, processes, and buildings as part of the green economy.

6. Economically Distressed and Underserved Communities
Investments that strengthen diverse communities that have suffered disproportionate economic and job losses and/or are rebuilding to become more competitive in the global economy.

The EDA priorities align well with the HUD/DOT/EPA Sustainable Communities Regional Planning work. The regions guiding principals and evaluation criteria can be found at:

"Creating a Resilient Region:
The Central Minnesota Sustainable Development Plan"


Community Driven, University Assisted…Championing regional resilience in economic and environmental vitality.

For more information on the Region Five’s Economic Development programs, please contact Cheryal Lee Hills at or call 218-894-3233 x1