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The Definition of Economic Development

October 2013

How do you define economic development? That was a question I asked many years ago after graduating with a degree in economics. None of my professors had talked about economics in terms of economic development and its crucial role in how our communities are heavily dependent on the role of economic developers. So, back in my college days, my answer would've been, "I have no clue!" But lucky for me, a year and a half after graduating, I started a job at the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC), with the sole purpose of figuring out the practice of economic development.

Twenty years later, I am still figuring it out! But that's O.K., because the profession is constantly evolving. The economy continues to shift from a transactional to a sustainable transformational economy while trying to keep up with technology and the experience of the customers. Our communities can no longer afford to solely support local practices. A more global, or regional approach, is fortuitous for today and the future. Understanding the critical role economic development plays in any community (state, local, regional and global) and being able to communicate with elected officials and professionals across all specialties within the municipal structure and the citizens is paramount. Where am I going with all this? 

CERC, in collaboration with the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) and the MetroHartford Alliance, is developing a unique 3-hour course (free of charge) to local municipalities. The curriculum – geared to ALL those who impact economic development and designed to get everyone working collaboratively – will help your town better understand the role of economic development and its impact on your community's future. Our team of experienced economic development professionals are ready to work with your municipality and we invite you to learn more about the program, which is customized to meet the needs of your municipality or region. As details become available, we will post program information online and circulate it via email. Or, feel free to contact me for more information at 860-571-6207 or

- Elizabeth Wallace, EDP - CERC, Director, Connecticut's Business Response &  Licensing Info Center

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