Certified Development Community (CDC)

The West Virginia Certified Development Community (CDC) program is intended to spur communities across the Mountain State to better prepare and equip them to respond to the needs of existing and prospective business and industry.

The current CDC program builds upon the basics of community development and moves communities to the next steps in the preparedness process: prospect servicing, commercial building inventory, and industrial site development.

The CDC certification has been an integral part of our community and economic development programs since 1992. To date, 50 counties have received CDC designation. It is our goal that all 55 counties complete the certification process.

The existing CDC program has evolved; therefore, our objective is to build on that program to provide an avenue for those Local Economic Development Authorities seeking certification, giving them a greater opportunity to achieve this and expand their local economic base. It will also provide additional resources to current CDCs that want to develop and/or broaden entrepreneur programs in their communities. With this additional track, which is meant to be a complement to the existing program, the non-certified counties have an alternative to the existing CDC program.

 

Achieving CDC Certification:

The West Virginia Certified Development Community (CDC) program is an economic development initiative jointly sponsored by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce (COC), the West Virginia Economic Development Council (WVEDC), and the West Virginia Development Office (WVDO). The program is intended to spur communities across the Mountain State to better prepare and equip themselves to respond to the needs of existing and prospective business and industry.

The five main objectives of the CDC program are:

  1. Designation (or establishment) of a local economic development (LED) organization and formation of a prospect handling team;
  2. Completion of a comprehensive community assessment, development of a long rangestrategic plan along with a long rangestrategic fundingplan to address deficiencies and completion of a community profile;
  3. An economic evaluation of the county that includes an establishment of an active business retention and expansion program;
  4. Identification and categorization of available industrial/commercial sites and buildings;
  5. Development of a fully served, locally controlled industrial site with completion of data file requirements.

The WV Legislature initiated an annual line item appropriation, in an amount determined by the Legislature, to the WVDO for a matching grant program (LED) for regional economic development corporations or authorities. The LED grant process is designed to assist in the CDC process of achieving certification.

Each designated Economic Development Authority (EDA) that participates in the CDC program applies and receives (if warranted) LED (Local Economic Development) grants annually through the WVDO. It is the responsibility of each EDA to work toward and achieve CDC Certification. The process of certification should begin in the first year of funding and culminate in the third year.

By applying the LED grant requirements: professional development, organization information structure, annual action plan, business retention and expansion, and site/building inventory; the EDA can formulate the creation of the four required components (highlighted above in bold type) of CDC Certification.

The EDA must use all of its available resources to determine what the priorities of the county are and what is needed to accomplish those priorities. Through the associations that the EDA has earned in the first 2 years of LED funding; businesses, organizations, and key individuals must be encouraged to assist in the process of creating the Long-Range Strategic Plan that will assist in achieving goals for the next three to five years.

The success of improving the economic outlook of the county in the first two years of the three-year process can be the tip of the iceberg as to what can be accomplished upon achieving CDC Certification. The WVDO is ready to assist the EDA in any way possible to achieve CDC Certification.

 

How to Apply:

Entry into the West Virginia Certified Development Community program is open at any time to any community in West Virginia. For the purpose of the program, a community shall be either a county or multi-county region.

It is strongly encouraged, where applicable, to utilize the geographic area of responsibility of any existing development organization(s). It is not the intent of this certification program to create duplication in local development programs. Also, communities that do not have a full-time professional development staff should work, where possible, with the closest appropriately funded and staffed program.

For more information or to apply, please contact Susan Foster at 304-957-2032 or by email at susan.k.foster@wv.gov.