What is a CEDS

What is a CEDS?

In today’s world economy, it is necessary to have a long-term economic development strategy that can serve as a guide to progress, strength, and stability. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a regionally based economic development planning process that is utilized to engage local leaders, partners, and other stakeholders in planning for the future. This executive summary is a synopsis of a larger document.

The CEDS years-long process is the collaborative result of meetings, surveys, polling, observation, and interactions with partners including local governments, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, workforce development entities, institutes of higher education, and the private sector.

The southwest Oklahoma comprehensive economic development strategy is approved and adopted by the SWODA Board of Trustees. SWODA provides the organizational structure for the formulation of the CEDS and serves as a regional coordinating body. But the CEDS is not SWODA’s, it belongs to the region and everyone who has contributed to the planning process or collaborates in the accomplishment of the region’s goals.

Introduction

The economy of southwest Oklahoma, like many rural areas, is dependent upon its natural resources, location advantages (and disadvantages), minimal industry clusters, and outside influences. Due to declining population (or slower growth than urban cities), rural economies struggle for equal representation and fight against misinformation that “there’s nothing to do or no opportunity, in the middle of nowhere”.

Although there are not many of us in southwest Oklahoma, we stand by our neighbors and know their names. We work together to improve our communities, one small step at a time. We enjoy peace and quiet, time with our families, and quality of life. We love the outdoors and fresh air. We greet people with a wave, a head nod, hello, hey, or howdy, take care, and see you soon! Although it is impossible to quantify, our people are our greatest asset.

We must focus on and nurture our people, our educators and students, our workforce, our small business owners, investors, community leaders, elderly, and those struggling to get by. We must demand more of ourselves and one another. What we lack in quantity, we MUST make up for in quality and determination. We appreciate help and assistance from our partners and friends, but we cannot just wait on handouts, scraps, or freebies. Success does not happen overnight, progress is slow, and planning is worthless without action. We must work together and create opportunities, each of us must do our part and MAKE A DIFFERENCE and WE MUST START NOW.

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) serves as the federally designated economic development district for southwest Oklahoma. SWODA is proud to present this Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy developed with our many partners, and the dedicated staff, and Board Members of SWODA. DEBORA GLASGOW, Executive Director