Members of the Economic Competitiveness and Workforce Development Committee prioritize goals for the region.

Area of Focus

The Economic Competitiveness and Workforce Development Committee focused on economic development of our region, including, but not limited to, the development of particular industries, attracting and keeping new businesses and firms, and developing a competitive workforce. The committee’s primary task was to guide the consortium in developing a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) that promotes the economic competitiveness and vibrancy of our region in a manner consistent with HUD’s Livability Principles and related long-term outcomes.


The Economic Competitiveness and Workforce Development (EC&WD) Committee was led by NJTPA, with Rutgers University (RU),  PlanSmart NJ and Office of Planning Advocacy (OPA).

To see the leadership team and the full list of participating organizations, visit the committee participant page.


The committee organized its work according to the topics listed below. Its first task was to prepare reports assessing regional conditions for each topic:

  • Asset-based Economic Development (PlanSmart Lead): This report identifies infrastructure, natural and cultural assets that strengthen the economic base of a locality and the region. Special focus is on the Newark/Elizabeth seaport and other important employment centers.
  • Industry Sector Development (RU Lead): This report focuses on key industry sectors in the region such as bioscience, pharmaceuticals and healthcare; financial services; transportation, logistics and distribution; and the arts and entertainment. The report identifies industry clusters and opportunities.
  • Workforce Preparedness and Training (RU Lead): This topic identifies needs and strategies to align worker skill sets and training with the needs of the region’s growth industries. Focus is on increasing opportunities in communities with high unemployment. This builds on the work of the Bio-1 Stop: New Jersey Bioscience Talent Network (Bio-1) and the NJ Transportation, Logistics and Distribution (TLD) Talent Network.
  • Business Environment and Entrepreneurial Support (RU Lead): This report looks at incentive and funding programs and regulations that support vibrant economic development.


The main product of the EC&WD Committee is a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), built upon local CEDS efforts and the data analysis and collaboration conducted to develop the topic reports. CEDS reports are required to qualify for U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance. Another important product of the Committee is the development and reporting on three “Flagship Sustainability Indicators” as required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These indicators are:

  • Economic Resilience: Economic Diversification Index: This measure captures the diversity of employment sectors in an area, as an indicator of the ability of a local economy to adapt to change in the event that any one employment sector faces decline. This indicator is most closely related to the Industry Sector Development topic.
  • Economic Resilience: General Local Government Debt-to-Revenue Ratio: This measure captures the capacity of local government to absorb economic shocks by indicating fiscal health.  A low debt to revenue ratio indicates that the area has greater leeway in using policy and fiscal measures to overcome economic shocks. This measure relates to all topics listed above.
  • Growth through Reinvestment: Net acres of agricultural and natural resource land lost annually to development per new resident: This indicator measures the extent to which new development is occurring on previously undeveloped land. This measure is related most closely to the Asset Based Economic Development topic.

Committee Reports