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Strategic Framework

Strategic Plan

Background: 2016 CEDS Framework

In 2015, Sonoma County and Mendocino County signed a joint powers agreement to create the Sonoma-Mendocino Economic Development District (EDD). The formation of an EDD allowed the counties to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and apply for designation as a federally-funded EDD through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This designation allows the district to qualify for funding and assistance programs available from the EDA to support strategic projects. The Sonoma-Mendocino EDD engaged consulting firm Civic Analytics to assist them in developing the Sonoma-Mendocino Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which was completed in November 2016. 

The Sonoma-Mendocino CEDS built a clear vision statement for the district – Sonoma-Mendocino is a sustainable, inclusive, and diverse economy.

To support this vision, the CEDS was built around four themes and supportive goals: 

Theme – Economic Diversification (Resilience)


Expand the non-tourism/real estate share of regional GDP to bolster Sonoma-Mendocino’s resilience to economic downturns.


Grow the region’s green economy – renewable energy, clean tech, and related enterprises – to become a national leader in sustainability.

Theme – Human Capital


Exceed the U.S. rate of population growth in the primary working age cohort (25-64) to achieve sustainable expansion of the Sonoma-Mendocino labor force.


Raise the postsecondary completion rate for the 25-64 age cohort until Sonoma-Mendocino again exceeds the U.S. rate.


Close the postsecondary completion gap between Sonoma County and Mendocino County in the age 25-64 cohort.

Theme – Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Continue to exceed the U.S. average of the Kauffman Foundation’s core measures of entrepreneurial activity.

Theme – Inclusive Economic Development


Reduce the number of economically distressed communities in the region, as defined by EDA investment eligibility criteria.


Close the gaps in earnings by race/ethnicity to ensure that all workers can compete for living wage jobs that make housing affordable.

Achieve parity with U.S. average earnings.

Strategic Sonoma builds on the Sonoma-Mendocino CEDS by diving deeper into each theme to understand specific priorities in Sonoma County and align local organizations and projects in an Action Plan to move the county forward.