The Whatcom County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for 2022-2026 was approved by resolution by the County Council in December 2021. A CEDS is a long-term planning document that is intended to guide economic development throughout a region and is a requirement to be eligible to compete for Economic Development Administration grants and other federal and state funding opportunities.
The CEDS has been completed and updated two times in the recent past: in 2002 by the Port of Bellingham’s Economic Development division and in 2015 by the Whatcom Council of Governments. The 2022-2026 report update was led by the Port’s economic development staff, overseen by the CEDS External Review Committee, and informed by broad stakeholder engagement within the community throughout the entire process.
“After more than a year and a half of in-depth stakeholder outreach and community engagement, we are proud to have a consensus-based blueprint for economic development in Whatcom County,” said Don Goldberg, Director of the Regional Economic Partnership at the Port. “This CEDS goes above and beyond the planning requirements and will also serve as the internal work plan for the REP team moving forward.”
“The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy offers important insight into how we can enhance the economic infrastructure of Whatcom County to strengthen core industries, attract innovative new businesses and create family-wage job opportunities,” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix.
For the first time since Whatcom County has had a CEDS, the report as well as many additional data points of interest can be found on the Whatcom County CEDS website. The website was put together by LiveStories, a Washington state data platform company that specializes in civic analyses, reports, and platforms for local governments. This webpage is regularly updated and free to the public.
“A lot of great research and collaboration went into the development of the new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, and as a result we have a framework for moving our economy forward in a balanced and sustainable manner,” said Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu. “I’m excited to continue working with the Regional Economic Partnership to address the challenges identified here and move forward on promising opportunities.”