Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Agency: American Planning Association
State: Federal
Type of Government: State & Local
NAICS Category:
  • 541611 - Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
  • 541618 - Other Management Consulting Services
Posted Date: Nov 24, 2021
Due Date: Dec 30, 2021
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Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Capitol Region Council of Governments

Hartford, CT


The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) intends to hire a consultant to provide services to update the region's 2019 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on economic conditions. This project will build upon the 2019 CEDS to develop a broad regional strategy focusing on a strategic situational assessment of the metropolitan region, identification of a limited set of "game changer" initiatives and of the organizational and partnership capacities that will be necessary to implement them. Funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), so the final product must meet the requirements of an EDA-funded CEDS.

CRCOG will procure consultant services in accordance with the established policy of CRCOG and requirements of the EDA terms and conditions of the grant award. The project will commence upon selection of a consultant and issuance of a notice to proceed.


The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) is the largest of Connecticut's nine regional planning organizations. We are established under the Connecticut General Statutes as a voluntary association of municipal governments serving the City of Hartford and 37 surrounding communities.

As an EDA-funded CEDS, the final product must meet basic CEDS requirements. That includes the following:

  • Summary of background information
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis
  • Strategic Direction/Action Plan
  • Evaluation Framework
  • A discussion of resilience

In addition to meeting these requirements, CRCOG is interested in the following:

  • Reevaluating strategies in the CEDS considering recent implementation progress (some have been completed while others have yet to be started)
  • Conducting a situational analysis that responds to the impacts of COVID-19, as well as long-standing issues in the region
  • Developing a logic model for the CEDS that maps desired outcomes (such as greater income equality) to evidence-based interventions
  • Developing strategic objectives based on the logic model with interventions that will move the needle to scale


Respondents to this RFP will represent a firm, company, team, or individual possessing experience and expertise in preparing Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, conducting strategic planning, conducting public outreach, and working with municipal officials, organizing focus groups, and the professional standards thereof, to undertake and successfully complete the scope of work as outlined in this RFP. Respondents should be prepared to demonstrate a strong strategic planning background and be able to undertake a planning process involving 38 municipalities which results in an EDA-approved CEDS.

The following is a description of project tasks to be undertaken by the chosen planning consultant:

1. Review existing plans and reports to identify trends and actions taken

  • Gather existing reports and plans related to economic development, demographics, transportation, and other relevant topics. Examples include:
    • Resilience Baseline Assessments for LTER Region 3
    • 2019 Metro Hartford Future CEDS
    • 2020 Metro Hartford Future CEDS Progress Report
    • 2012 MetroHartford CEDS
    • 2006 MetroHartford Alliance Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
    • 2019 CRCOG Long-Range Transportation Plan
    • The Downtown Hartford Economic and Urban Design Action Strategy (1997)
    • The MetroHartford Millennium Project (1998)
    • 2014 CRCOG Plan of Conservation and Development
    • One Region, One Future: An Action Agenda for a Connected, Competitive, Vibrant, Green Knowledge Corridor
    • Metro Hartford Progress Points (2014, 2015, and 2016)
    • Connecticut Strategic Economic Framework (1999) – Connecticut Regional Institute for the 21st Century
  • Summarize key trends, goals, objectives, and actions from existing plans and reports
  • Interview key stakeholders to determine which actions have been implemented

2. Assist with updating demographic, economic, and industry analysis

  • Work with CRCOG staff to develop an updated demographic analysis for the region. This will largely be based on existing reports created for the region. The selected consultant will be asked to assist with analyzing the results as they relate to the CEDS.
  • To the extent possible, work on this task should build on existing reports and analyses. CRCOG staff will be available to perform basic demographic and economic analysis (including location quotient and shift-share analysis).

3. Perform stakeholder and public outreach

CRCOG expects this to be a major element of the project and is open to a variety of methods. Our vision is to have a process whereby key stakeholders are brought together to discuss the issues, trends, and opportunities facing the region, and how the region's economy can be moved forward. Part of our evaluation of RFP responses will be the strength of the stakeholder and public outreach process proposed by the respondent. Our desire is to have a robust outreach process that not only informs people of the trends shaping the region, but engages them in both crafting and advocating for the solutions. CRCOG anticipates that this will involve members of the public, non-profits, governments, and the corporate sector. At a minimum, the process will involve an advisory committee (complying with EDA standards), focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and some form of public meeting.

CRCOG also anticipates that this process will be iterative and will involve multiple rounds of soliciting input, presenting data/analysis in response to that input, and soliciting further input. This iterative process will inform both the analysis and solution development processes.

CRCOG will maintain a website with basic information about the project and project-related events.

4. Situational assessment

As described above, a key element of this process will be to assess the metropolitan region's current situation and related opportunities. Based on data analysis, interviews with key stakeholders, and focus group sessions, develop an assessment of who the region is, where it is headed, and what opportunities are available to improve its situation. Similar to a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, but focused on the region's context and opportunities. An emphasis should also be placed on the region's resilience, not just to natural disasters, but to man-made disasters as well such as economic downturns or corporate relocations.

5. Strategic plan development

Based on public and stakeholder outreach, and the situational assessment described above, develop a limited number of "game changer" strategies for the region to pursue. These should be designed to accelerate inclusive economic growth (i.e., raising incomes across the income distribution with particular attention to opportunities for engaging those who have often been left behind). They should also be actionable, specific, and focused with an emphasis on building upon the region's assets that hold the greatest promise for long-term change. While a longer list of actions may be included, the core of the plan will be these relatively few "game changers". The strategic plan should recognize the interconnected nature of the economy, the environment, social equity, the transportation system, land-use, public safety, and education. It is anticipated that these will be developed collaboratively.

6. Capacity building

The focus of this task will be identifying organizational capacity and collaborations (with public and private sector partners) that will be necessary to advance the "game changer" strategic plan and to sustain it over time. While CRCOG will necessarily be an integral part of this task, CRCOG seeks a firm who has experience with coordinating and facilitating discussions designed to develop collaborative relationships focused on change. The ultimate success of this task is in the hands of the region and its stakeholders, but the work done in the task should set up a strong framework that will foster collaborative capacity building.

7. Plan development

In partnership with CRCOG staff, develop the CEDS report. The core of the report should be an attractive, engaging, and accessible document that makes the case for change and outlines a clear approach to moving the needle for the region. Supplemental reports providing more detailed analysis of demographic and economic trends, historical reports, meeting summaries, and development projects will be developed as appendices.

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Thursday, December 30, 2021
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