Whatcom County’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)
As financial resources for economic development from all levels of government have become scarce, the need for inter-local collaboration, coordination among the various economic development agencies, and careful prioritization of proposed projects has become essential. Recognizing the efficiencies that result from such a coordinated approach, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the State of Washington encourage local jurisdictions to work together to create regional economic development programs.
The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a plan for Whatcom County, including its seven incorporated cities, to strengthen and sustain the regional economy. Its intent is to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an "economic roadmap" to diversify and strengthen the regional economy. The principal purpose of the CEDS is to facilitate the retention and creation of living-wage jobs and to foster a stable and diversified regional economy, all for the intended outcome of maintaining and, ultimately, improving the quality of life in the Region.
The EDA requires that this document be updated and approved by them, at a minimum, every five years in order for local governments to be eligible to receive certain funding for public works projects. Also, the county’s EDI Program in Whatcom County has, as one of its requirements, that fund applicants ensure their project is listed in the CEDS. The Project List is an Addendum to the CEDS document, and is updated annually.
The last time Whatcom County completed a CEDS update was 2015. Then in 2019 the CEDS was transferred to the Whatcom County Associate Development Organization (ADO), which is the Port of Bellingham. Another update was drafted in 2021 which when approved by the EDA will become the 2022-2026 Whatcom County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) document. This document was unanimously adopted by the Whatcom County Council in October 2021.