The Commission is an Economic Development District as designated by the U. S. Economic Development Administration. As members of the Commission, most communities and counties are eligible for EDA funding, along with an additional 10% funding bonus for projects. This designation was made by EDA on February 6, 1975. The Commission’s economic development program includes such activities as assistance in working with industrial prospects, tourism promotion, provision of economic and demographic data (employment/unemployment rates, retail sales, census data, etc.), mapping of industrial sites and parks, marketing the area’s industrial sites and parks, technical and funding assistance to the area port authorities, industrial development authorities, Chambers of Commerce, and other development organizations.
The Commission’s staff, in cooperation with the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee, has developed a plan, or “strategy,” to guide the Region’s development. This strategy is reviewed periodically to track what goals have been met and to add to or revise any of the recommended actions of the strategy. Some of the goals included in the strategy are to promote greater regionalism as a means to market the Region more effectively, and promoting positive aspects of the area; develop affordable housing; improve transportation structures; enhance quality of life; increase employment opportunities; develop necessary infrastructure for economic growth; and develop a regional finance pool to foster economic development.
Over the years, the Commission has been a point of contact for developers looking to locate in the Region. These developers are given information on member entities, including availability of land and/or buildings; state and/or local incentive packages; financing options; job training and labor market information.