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Department of Commerce Selected for Economic Development Policy Academy

Apr 19, 2023

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TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced today that the Department of Commerce and the Southcentral Economic Development District (SCKEDD) have been selected to participate jointly in the Policy Academy, a 10-month technical assistance initiative designed to better align federal, state and regional economic development efforts.

Funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and implemented by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, the Academy provides an opportunity for improved returns on investment through developing policies that are in the best interests of their constituents. Commerce and SCKEDD will be joined in the process by economic development representatives from all seven EDA-designated districts (EDDs) in the state, two universities and other stakeholders across Kansas.

“To drive sustainable economic growth that leaves no Kansan behind, we need to increase collaboration among the key economic development players at all levels across the state,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The Academy process offers an opportunity for both public and private voices to be heard.”

The application identified the lack of a strong state-level association of EDDs to present a collective voice for regional cooperation and development as a significant challenge to address. Other outcomes the team will pursue include establishing priorities and developing a strategic plan.

“Strategic alignment and collaboration among state and regional economic development organizations can boost the success of economic development initiatives,” Regional Director of the Economic Development Administration Denver Regional Office Angela Martinez said. “This Policy Academyis an opportunity for states, economic development districts and other key stakeholders to improve respective returns on investment (ROI) with enhanced economic development outcomes and overall higher economic performance.”

Fifteen team members from across Kansas have been identified to participate in the Academy. They represent the state’s major economic development players whose voices and actions are essential in delivering the best results for Kansans.

“Utilizing the specific strengths and efforts of each participant in the Academy while also having a shared mission for future growth, is a winning formula for continued economic success,” Matt Godinez, Kansas Department of Commerce Director of Performance and Programming, said. “Having all of these individual members pulling in the same direction will make us an unstoppable driving force for economic and community development.”

Godinez, who was selected to oversee the project, said while the Academy only runs through January 2024, the technical assistance received and the outcomes achieved will help fuel prosperity across Kansas far beyond that date. More information about the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) can be found here; for the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC), click here.