And…We’re Off! The Policy Academy to Strengthen State and Local Strategic Alignment Kicks Off

| March 31, 2023 |

In every project there are opportunities for research and education. Both are useful and provide a fundamental baseline for understanding an issue and sharing information. But nothing beats one-on-one technical assistance where you work closely with organizations as they strive to improve service to customers and stakeholders.

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) Policy Academy process is a collaborative learning environment in which teams from a state come together (and with their peers from other states) to work on a problem with external facilitation support. The Academy is an opportunity for states, Economic Development Districts (EDDs) and other key stakeholders to drive strategic alignment and improve their economic returns on investment (ROI).

After more than a year of research, education, and limited technical assistance to support the Economic Development Administration, CREC is excited to announce six state teams that will participate together in the 2023 policy academy, Aligning State and Regional Economic Development Strategies and Actions:

  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Kansas
  • Wisconsin.


CREC had a great pool of applications, and even more state and local teams were interested but weren’t yet ready to step back from their day-to-day efforts to work on these strategic issues in 2023.

These six teams have great state and local leadership support, strong economic development district participation, clear visions of what they want to accomplish, and a desire to share their experiences in the Policy Academy with other states and EDDs.

Next Steps

The Academy will kick-off activities with a meeting of the leadership from all six state teams on April 27 – 28 where we’ll have an opportunity to learn, team build, share, and create plans for the coming months. During the breakout sessions (during this and future meetings), each team will work with an expert facilitator to::

  • Craft a Common Vision – Where do we want to be? Arrive at a shared vision for strategic alignment in their state.
  • Agree on Shared Outcomes – How will we know we’re there? Identify outcomes to measure progress towards vision.
  • Analyze Assets and Challenges – Where are we now? Conduct SWOT analysis of Team’s state/EDD strategic alignment.
  • Agree on Goals – How do we get where we’re going? Identify 3 to 5 clear, achievable goals with a clear line of sight to outcomes.
  • Identify Critical Partners – Are the right partners engaged for our journey? For each goal, identify a core team lead and review home team and partners.
  • Develop Strategies and Actions – What steps do we need to take to get there? Identify appropriate strategies and actions to move toward each goal.

The Academy engagement will be multi-faceted with the facilitator leading several in-person and virtual meetings:

  • Two in-person meetings in Arlington, VA and one virtual meeting with peers from the six state teams (representing state and regional leadership);
  • Two site visits and occasional virtual visits with facilitators to meet with a larger stakeholder team to coordinate planning initiatives;
  • Monthly facilitator conference calls with team leaders to discuss progress and opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences; and
  • Ongoing technical assistance shared across the states, including webinars, consultations, and background research.

Stay tuned.  In the next blog, we’ll meet some of the teams and learn more about what each is trying to accomplish with their respective efforts. In the meantime, to learn more about the benefits of state-local alignment, check out this excellent blog post by Dr. Ellen Harpel.

The materials included on these State-Local Alignment webpages were prepared by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness using Federal funds under award ED21HDQ3070060 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.