Analyze Your Clusters and Talent

Our projects come in all sizes and are made up of all types of activities. From assisting with the creation of economic development and workforce plans to connecting researchers and policy-makers with data training, CREC provides a full portfolio of services to help regions compete.

CREC's projects range from the small, such as helping think-tanks draw up white papers, to the large, such as developing economic development curricula for an entire Canadian province.



Informing the Process: Establishing a Data-Driven Foundation for Planning & Implementation

CREC believes all economic development and workforce initiatives should be grounded in solid data-driven investigation.Our staff support each type of analysis by:

○ Integrating a variety of research approaches

○ Using public statistics

○ Gathering perceptions and opinions from key stakeholders

We then help articulate questions and concerns to clearly define actionable research that leads to insights.

Our method for “Informing the Process,” shown above, comes in three broad phases: the situational assessment, the quantitative analysis, and hands-on research.

Background Assessment

Our background research begins before we talk to a client – through our understanding of economic and workforce development patterns gained from decades of experience. Our assessment starts with our client, garnering information and insights they have about the region’s history, its issues, and its perceived opportunities. Our staff get on the ground from a project’s beginning to, literally, see its environment, and to really appreciate the area where we will be investing our time and expertise.CREC staff then ensures that we have a thorough understanding of what the region has done before and how that work was received, keeping in mind that sound research is an integral part of regional priority setting and decision making. We also examine the area’s key assets – community colleges, universities, infrastructure, culture, natural environment – and begin to examine existing and emerging industries.

Quantitative Analysis

After developing a firm grasp of the region and its unique features, the CREC team dig into the data to validate what we know and search for patterns that might motivate or inspire our partners to action.Our staff has a unique relationship with the Federal public agencies involved in creating statistics because they also work with our association partners in monitoring advances in statistics and advising the agencies on how to disseminate data in user friendly forms that our clients can use. We supplement that insight and those sources with an unparalleled knowledge of proprietary data sources to enhance our work and discern patterns. We also understand how far these data sources can be taken and our analysts are equipped to undertake creative approaches to developing estimates that can be used to fill some of the inevitable data gaps.

Hands-on Research

We do not take the quantitative data at face value. The trends they show often mask many others. The essential next step involves gaining context behind the numbers and gaining perspective on apparent trends.The CREC team facilitates hands-on research as a critical foundation of our data-driven approach. This consists of a variety of one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and surveys of stakeholders and industry leaders designed to elicit a better understanding of a region’s outlook, its challenges, and its opportunities. The fundamental goal is to understand the conditions under which local industries are operating and to identify the story behind the numbers that our quantitative analysis reveals. Furthermore, these interviews, focus groups, and surveys are more than data collection techniques, they are also approaches for engaging key private and public sector leaders in a process of providing input that often sets the stage for longer-term engagement in decision making about a region’s economic future.


Our end-products are actionable plans or analyses designed to support those plans. The reports are typically written in full narrative form with detailed appendices for those who are interested in the details. They take on a variety of forms such as briefing papers, memos, state of the region reports, or regional profiles. Regardless of the scope and size of your project, CREC is equipped to deliver the data you need to feel confident in your results.

For more information about our data-driven mission or experiences, please feel free to reach out to Sean McNamera.


Related Projects

Maryland Economic Development Incentives and Financing Study
Maryland Department of Commerce and Maryland Economic Development Corporation
Start Date: Jul 2015 — End Date: Jan 2016

CREC conducted an in-depth examination of 12 Maryland state incentive and financing programs in six categories.  Those included (1) place-based tax credits, (2) investment tax credits, (3) incentives to attract or retain large employers, (4) small business lending and investment programs, (5) credit enhancement and financing programs for small and mid-sized firms, and (6) job […]

Labor Market Information Technical Assistance and Training
Arizona Commerce Authority
Start Date: Jul 2011 — End Date: Dec 2012

C2ER assisted the ACA Workforce Division in supporting the SESP and other workforce activities in updating its SESP strategy, acquiring a real time job openings dataset, and delivering training and technical assistance to participating workforce investment boards. C2ER also assisted in providing research support to the SESP by identifying energy-related occupations that require some form of apprenticeship and/or experience.

Georgia Workready Regions
Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Division
Start Date: Feb 2008 — End Date: Oct 2009

The Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER) and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) has conducted an in-depth economic and workforce analysis for sixteen regions of Georgia designed to help local leaders better understand their workforce demand and supply. The goal of the analysis was to identify the characteristics of those currently working in the […]

Conducting an assessment of Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Evaluation
Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
Start Date: Jan 2008 — End Date: Oct 2009

Working in partnership with EntreWorks, the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, and PolicyOne Research, the Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER) and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) provided analytic support for the state’s on-going comprehensive economic development evaluation. The research project focused on examining a wide array of Maine’s policies and programs in economic […]

Conducting an Impact Analysis of the Defense Intelligence Agency Move to Charlottesville
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
Start Date: Feb 2007 — End Date: Oct 2008

The Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER) and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) conducted a survey of US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnel scheduled to move from Washington, D.C., to Charlottesville, Va., as a result of the 2005 Base Reuse and Alignment Commission (BRAC) recommendations. The project included an analysis of the direct and indirect […]