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Communities & Environment > Planning > Economic Development

Economic Development

Vision: create a more resilient, sustainable, prosperous and equitable economy.

The purpose of ABAG's Economic and Workforce Development Program is to collaborate with Business Organizations, Workforce Development Boards, Educational Institutions, Labor, Community Based Organizations, and others to strengthen the competitiveness of the regional economy, enhance local business districts in PDAs, address the need for goods movement and related activities, and expand access to opportunities for all Bay Area residents.

Based on consultations and collaboration with federal, state, regional and local stakeholders, ABAG is preparing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) report to establish a regional Economic Development District (EDD), as defined by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). The CEDS report and regional EDD will serve as a platform to coordinate and elevate the multiple subregional economic and workforce initiatives and provide additional resources to the region.

What is an Economic Development District?

An Economic Development District (EDD) is a county, or ideally a region, designated by EDA to receive economic and workforce development related technical assistance and grant funding. A number of cities, counties and organizations in the region are exploring or have taken initial steps towards defining Economic Development Districts within their areas of concentration. A Regional Economic Development District would make the Bay Area more competitive for federal economic and workforce development funding and could support sub-regional economic development efforts that address needs of the region’s diverse communities and workforce. A regional EDD would also support the integrated regional plan for growth and economic prosperity envisioned by Plan Bay Area and more recent studies and the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requirement for greater state and regional collaboration.1 Emerging regional economic and workforce development efforts could benefit from this strategic focus on economic development.

The completion of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy report, or CEDS, is necessary to establish a regional Economic Development District (EDD). The Boards of Supervisors from at least five of the nine Bay Area counties must approve establishing a region-wide EDD. Once adopted, regions must produce an Annual Performance Report and update the CEDS report at least every five years to qualify for EDA assistance. The CEDS report has four required sections, much of which has been completed or addressed through various reports including ABAG's State of the Region, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute's Roadmap for Economic Resilience, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance's Building on our Assets, and the Economic Prosperity Strategy that focused on economic opportunity for low- and moderate-wage workers:

  1. Summary Background: a summary background of the economic conditions of the region;
  2. SWOT Analysis: an analysis of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;
  3. Strategic Direction/Action Plan: this is the core of the document, which builds on the findings from the SWOT analysis and incorporates relevant elements from other regional plans, as well as putting efforts within the region that focus on specific subregions, issues or goals into regional context. The action plan also identifies the stakeholders responsible for implementation, schedule, and potential opportunities for the integrated use of other local, state, federal and private funds;
  4. Evaluation Framework: performance measures used to evaluate the implementation of the CEDS action plan and impact on the regional economy.

In addition, the CEDS report must incorporate the concept of "comprehensive economic resilience." In the Bay Area, this means the ability to avoid, withstand, recover from and adapt to economic shifts, natural disasters, and the impacts of climate change.

Graphic of Schedule and Next Steps

The Strategy Committee is the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and principal facilitator of the CEDS process and responsible for guiding strategy development. This includes identifying the specific steps and implementation agents necessary to build on our existing assets and address critical barriers to continued economic prosperity in the region. The Strategy Committee broadly represents the main economic interests of the region including business organizations, workforce interests, educational institutions, and equity representatives.

Benefits of a Bay Area Economic Development District (EDD)

A regional EDD would support economic and workforce development through grants, technical assistance and partnerships with the EDA and other public and private entities (e.g. foundations). Completing a regional CEDS report would leverage and directly support the ability of jurisdictions and other public and private organizations to obtain grants or other assistance from a variety of public and private sources. For more information on the EDD and CEDS report see: https://www.eda.gov/ceds/ or contact Johnny Jaramillo, Economic and Workforce Program Manager, at 415-820-7983 or johnnyj@abag.ca.gov.


1WIOA, signed into law on July 22, 2014, supersedes the Workforce Investment Act and is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system. WIOA seeks to enhance coordination among federal, state, regional and local employment and training services. Every state is required to submit a four year strategy for preparing an educated and skilled workforce that meets the needs of employers, while promoting regional collaboration and service alignment of workforce programs with regional economic development strategies to meet the needs of local and regional employers. The WIOA state unified and local plans take effect July 1, 2016.

Recent Activity

July 21, 2016: ABAG Executive Board Meeting

Summaries and Links to Bay Area Economic Development Organization Reports

  • A Roadmap for Economic Resilience: The Bay Area Regional Economic Strategy offers concrete actions for growing regional prosperity and a flexible framework for developing actions going forward. The Roadmap's proposals are evergreen agents of economic resilience, strategies wise in both expansion and downturn, necessary to accelerate the former and dampen the latter. It is a recipe for a robust and enduring regional economy.
    —November 2015 (PDF: 52 pages, 3.9 MB)
  • 21st Century Infrastructure: Keeping California Connected, Powered, and Competitive focuses on the transformative potential of state-of-the-art investment in California infrastructure in two key fields: communications and energy. The report examines how improvements in these sectors can support the state's economic competitiveness and offers policy recommendations for how to facilitate stronger infrastructure investment.
    —April 2015 (PDF: 48 pages, 3.5 MB)
  • Economic Prosperity Strategy How can we make sure the region's rising economic tide does more to lift all boats? The Economic Prosperity Strategy identifies a comprehensive, three-pronged approach to providing greater economic mobility to low- and moderate-wage workers in the Bay Area. First, create pathways that will help lower-wage workers move into middle-wage employment. Second, promote economic growth with an emphasis on middle-wage jobs — to ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for moving up. And third, improve the quality of jobs and economic conditions for lower-wage workers. Another goal was not to develop prescriptive recommendations, but strategies for regional consideration that represent the diversity of perspectives in the nine county Bay Area. The research, outreach and drafting of the Economic Prosperity Strategy was carried out by a core team of four organizations informed by outreach to businesses, economists, local jurisdictions and labor including SPUR, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE), San Mateo County Union Community Alliance, and Working Partnerships USA. The strategies outlined in this report are grounded in the key findings. The study found that the continued success of the Bay Area economy requires growing middle-wage jobs and offering lower-wage workers more opportunities to advance. The region faces a number of critical issues in improving upward mobility for lower-wage workers.
    —October 2014 (PDF: 106 pages)
  • San Francisco Bay Area Goods Movement Plan The movement of freight is a crucial piece of our regional transportation puzzle. Freight movement supports a strong economy and delivers the products needed by both residents and businesses. It also has a significant environmental and public health impact on nearby communities. As part of the development of Plan Bay Area 2040, MTC produced a new San Francisco Bay Area Goods Movement Plan in early 2016.
    —January 2015 (PDF: 22 pages 1.2 MB)
  • Industrial Land and Job Study — Summary Scope of Work UC Berkeley, ABAG, and MTC are collaborating on an Industrial Land and Job Study to complement the San Francisco Bay Area Goods Movement Plan. This study will analyze the demand for and supply of industrially zoned land in the nine-county region, both now and in the future. Today, the diversity of industrial activities—a broad category that includes not only manufacturing jobs but transportation and warehousing, wholesale, and some business services as well—within the nine-county Bay Area has important implications for regional sustainability and jobs. The relocation of goods movement-dependent and other industries to outlying areas—a trend that is already occurring—has economic impacts and significantly increases vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from trucks. This study will examine the potential for industrially zoned land to be converted, as well as the likely economic and VMT impacts of conversion. After an assessment of the effectiveness of the different types of industrial zones found in the region, the study will conclude by developing strategies for industrial land that support future policy and planning approaches for consideration.
  • Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) Regional Economic Assessment. This study finds that the Bay Area enjoys unique economic assets that have enabled it to prosper across economic cycles. It also finds growing economic inequality, and a risk that significant parts of the population won’t share in the region’s general economic success. The study asks, despite the region’s present economic strength, could its economy be even stronger and generate more jobs for its residents if a number of challenges could be overcome including housing cost and availability, congestion, regulatory efficiency, and a lack of strategic focus on regional economic priorities. It finds that there is a need for a more effective partnership between business and government on economic issues, and is designed to provide a shared foundation of facts and analysis which both government and business can build a closer strategic partnership.
    —October 2012 (PDF: 76 pages, 2 MB)
  • East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EBEDA) Building on our Assets: Economic Development and Job Creation in the East Bay. The purpose of this report is to better understand the dynamics of the East Bay economy to identify the East Bay region’s opportunities and challenges for future growth. The project team conducted an in-depth analysis of employment, business, workforce, infrastructure, and land use characteristics, augmented with interviews with business executives. On the basis of the analyses, this study provides recommendations for elected officials, workforce development and education board members, city managers, city and regional planners, economic development specialists, regional agency commissioners, state officials, business leaders and other decision-makers to plan for a prosperous region.
    —October 2011 (PDF: 80 pages, 8.6MB)
  • Joint Venture Silicon Valley Index. This report finds that Silicon Valley is experiencing a level of innovation and economic activity that is impressive by any standard, and leads the nation. Yet the region also shows stark income and achievement gaps, and faces considerable challenges in accommodating sustained economic growth.
    —April 2015 (PDF: 72 pages, 6.9 MB)
  • Silicon Valley Community Fund, Community Economic Development Brief. This brief represents a summary of important trends and issues related to community economic development.
    — October 2007 (PDF: 6 pages, 0.3MB
  • Northbay Leadership Council / Mckinsey, Education to Employment Designing a System that Works. Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. How can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the challenges? Which interventions work? How can these be scaled up? These are the crucial questions this report attempts to answer.
    —December 2012: Executive Summary (PDF: 9 pages, 1.3 MB)
    —December 2012: Full Report (PDF: 105 pages, 8.3 MB)
  • Tri-Valley Rising: Its Vital Role in the Bay Area Economy. An examination of the Tri-Valley's assets and the transportation investments required for sustaining economic success.
    —October 2014 (Online Report)
  • BACEI, Reforming California Public Higher Education for the 21st Century. This Bay Area Council Economic Institute White Paper assesses the changing environment for public higher education in California, and the changes required in the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems to ensure that the state will continue to generate a globally competitive workforce.
    —December 2014 (Online Report)
  • League for Innovation in the Community College, Role of Community Colleges in Regional Economic Prosperity. In many regions in North America, community and technical colleges serve a critical role in supporting, and often lead, regional economic prosperity planning and collaboration. In this monograph, leaders from League for Innovation in the Community College member institutions share creative examples of how they are helping to advance economic prosperity in their regions.
    —April 2014 (PDF: 52 pages, 0.7 MB)
  • BACEI, In The Fast Lane: Improving Reliability, Stabilizing Local Funding, and Enabling the Transportation Systems of the Future in Alameda County. This report is an exploration of Alameda County's transportation systems, how they are funded, what role they play in supporting economic growth, and what changes are needed to ensure a prosperous future. This report also provides an overview of the proposed TEP and how it addresses the region’s current and future needs.
    —June 2014 (Online Report)

As a next step, we will distribute a selection of reports from local economic development organizations, to ensure that economic development efforts at the local level are acknowledged as well.