EDCC Press Release – Powering Progress: A New Era of Economic Development

Economic Development Council of Colorado
CONTACT: Kim Woodworth, Executive Director
720.371.8997| kim.woodworth@edcconline.org

Powering Progress: A New Era of Economic Development

Promoting better alignment in state and regional strategies to enhance communication, collaboration, and alignment of economic development strategies, reduce redundancies, and build capacity in pursuit of increased economic competitiveness for Colorado

(Grand Junction, CO) In February of 2023, Colorado was selected to be one of six states to participate in a pilot program conducted by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) Policy Academy. The program, funded by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), provides technical assistance to states, regional economic development organizations, and other regional stakeholders to promote better alignment in state and regional strategies and ensure more impactful, coordinated, and collaborative implementation.

A coalition of economic development stakeholders from across Colorado has been convening for the past 10 months to develop a vision to establish and promote a framework between Economic Development Districts (EDDs), governmental and non-governmental agencies, and other key workforce and economic development stakeholders to guide enhanced communication, collaboration, and alignment of economic development strategies, reduce redundancies, and build capacity in pursuit for increased economic competitiveness for the state.

The Policy Academy Coalition, referred to as “The Home Team” is focused on:

  • Establishing collaborative connections between municipal, county, state, and non-governmental agencies focused on advancing regional priorities.
  • Facilitating engagement between Colorado’s EDDs, the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC), and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to analyze alignment strategies and best practices designed to advance shared goals.
  • Reviewing Colorado’s laws and policies to determine legislative initiatives that could improve the state’s economic outcomes.

Ideally, our work will create a model where each regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) will advise the State CEDS to better align strategies and direct program development. A shared framework will exist across the state and regions with ongoing two-way communication and awareness across both workforce and economic development players. This framework will serve as a critical touch point for legislation affecting local economic development and create a model for other states to emulate.

To accomplish the “Home Team” goals, a contract with Visible Network Labs (VNL) has been initiated to leverage the Community Partner Relationship Management (CPRM) platform. This CPRM platform will support the “Home Team” by using advanced relationship mapping, creating a collaborative advantage through data-driven insights.

Colorado’s participation in the CREC Policy Academy and the efforts of “The Home Team” represent a significant milestone in our state’s commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity. Through this collaboration, we are forging a path toward stronger alignment, collaboration, and communication among economic development stakeholders at all levels.

As we move forward with the support of the CPRM platform from Visible Network Labs, we anticipate that the work of “The Home Team” and the dedicated individuals supporting the project, will not only benefit Colorado but also serve as a model for other states seeking to enhance their economic competitiveness. We look forward to the positive impact this initiative will have on our state’s economic development strategies, reducing redundancies, and building capacity to promote Colorado’s economic success.

Kim Woodworth, Executive Director of the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC), stated that “the EDCC sees the value and importance of advancing alignment and collaboration as a natural step in Colorado’s pursuit for economic competitiveness. When local, regional, state, and non-governmental agencies are aligned, priorities come into focus which catalyzes the ability to achieve programs and initiatives that support economic vitality and opportunities for all of Colorado.”

“In economic development, we know that we are only as strong as our weakest community, business, partnership or organization,” added Laura Lewis Marchino, Board Chair for the Colorado Association of Regional Organizations (CARO). “I look forward to the collaboration Colorado’s Policy Academy Coalition will create to promote alignment between the state, EDD organizations, and our fellow economic development stakeholders.”

Ellen Harpel, Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, added that “Colorado is proving itself as a national leader in aligning state and regional economic development strategies. The initiative announced today can serve as a model for other states seeking to improve collaboration among state, regional, and local organizations working to enhance economic well-being in their states.”

According to Bob Isaacson, Senior Vice President for the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, “Colorado’s announcement signals a culture change around workforce and economic development collaboration that we expect will pay dividends for years to come. Greater strategic alignment builds a foundation of support that helps harness resources and boosts the success of economic initiatives.”

Angela Belden Martinez, Regional Director for EDA’s Denver Regional Office, added “The US Economic Development Administration (EDA) funded and supported the Policy Academy on Aligning State and Regional Strategies and Actions to ensure more impactful, coordinated, and collaborative implementation of state and regional strategies. EDA is delighted to see the progress that Colorado has made in advancing alignment and collaboration in pursuit of state and regional workforce and economic development priorities.”

“We are proud to be among the first states in the nation to implement a model of economic development planning that nests regional goals and outcomes into statewide strategies. The work being done through the CREC Policy Academy is giving us a head start on a key priority: creating a closer connection and more alignment between OEDIT, other State agencies, and our regional economic development partners,” said OEDIT Executive Director, Eve Lieberman.

“The Policy Academy is an important opportunity to consider and implement long-standing ideas to integrate state and regional economic development networks. The support and framework provided by the program will help us harness the collaborative spirit of Coloradans to connect programs, create efficiencies, and support our local, regional, and statewide economic development goals,” said Kat Papenbrock, Director of Rural Opportunity at OEDIT.

“The Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is in support of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) Policy Academy’s efforts to coordinate state and regional strategies. CWDC is delighted to support the advancements being made in Colorado towards enhancing alignment and collaboration in pursuit of shared workforce and economic development goals at both the state and regional levels.” – Lee Wheeler-Berliner, Managing Director – Colorado Workforce Development Council

We extend our appreciation to all the dedicated individuals and organizations involved in this effort. Together, we are building a stronger, more prosperous future for Colorado, and we invite others to join us in this journey toward economic excellence.



Established in 1976, the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) promotes effective, responsible economic development practices across Colorado. Today we are the state’s premier economic development resource, representing the economic development interests of both the private and public sectors throughout the state. We connect our communities, our members and our partners to high-quality educational opportunities and trusted resources, and advocate for sound policies and programs that support a vibrant economy and enhance quality of life for all Coloradans.

EDCC members come from a variety of settings. We are rural and urban, public and private sector, for profit and not-for-profit, and include individual communities, counties and regional organizations, local and state government, chambers of commerce, universities, and private industry. We are economic development professionals, community volunteers, and business and political leaders.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:

Economic Development Council of Colorado
Kim Woodworth, Executive Director
E: kim.woodworth@edcconline.org
P: (720) 371-8997