Recent research has focused attention on the need for regional approaches to economic development, yet the economic development practice lags in implementing such strategies. The Know Your Region Project has been designed to address this shortfall.
Having recognized the importance of forward-thinking strategic planning to successful regional economic development, the U.S. Economic Development Administration funded the development of the Know Your Region curriculum to encourage communities to incorporate the principles of regionalism and clustering to this planning process. Research has suggested that those communities which understood and leveraged their regional assets were able to produce and implement more effective economic development plans for their communities.
The Know Your Region curriculum was developed as follows:
- Module One ("Framework") begins by offering practitioners a framework for engaging in collaborative regional economic development.
- Module Two ("Leadership") provides guidance on how to engage and sustain the leadership required for effective regional development efforts.
- Module Three ("Regional Advantage") provides an overview of how to identify regional competitive advantage and supplementary tools and instructions on how to identify clusters by leveraging other EDA investments.
- Module Four ("Strategies") provides information on the most common strategies regional economies find effective for addressing challenges, and the Module Four case study offers more specific information about one particular strategy: linking workforce and economic development efforts.
- Module Five ("Execution") provides tools on how to implement and evaluate regional economic development initiatives. The review module details important considerations practitioners may need to consider as they engage in this process.
Together, these modules have offered practitioners concrete information and important insights that have be used to enhance EDA’s CEDS, as well as other federal planning documents.
The Know Your Region Project was directed in part during 2009-2010 by the Public Policy Institute at Western Carolina University