Maui Sets Roadmap Strategy to Strengthen, Diversify Economy

December 20, 2016, 4:34 PM HST · Updated December 20, 5:05 PM
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Photo by Wendy Osher.

The County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, in partnership with Maui Economic Development Board, has officially released its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a report that reviews the state of the County’s economy and sets out a locally-based, regionally driven planning strategy for economic development over the next several years.

The economic development goals and specific strategies identified by the Focus Groups and refined by the Strategy Committee are described in the CEDS report.

Usually conducted every five years, CEDS is mandated by the Economic Development Administration of the US Department of Commerce. The County of Maui and the State of Hawaiʻi are regional partners with the EDA in the CEDS planning process, which provides a vehicle for individuals, organizations, local governments, educational institutions and private industry to determine what economic development efforts can best serve the community.

“One of the key purposes of the CEDS is to identify opportunities to integrate federal, state, and county funding sources with private sector resources,” commented Teena Rasmussen, OED Director. “These can then be directed toward advancing economic development goals and objectives that have been defined by community participants.”

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As in other municipalities across the nation, Maui County must update its CEDS every five years to qualify for EDA assistance under its Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs. CEDS is also used by other Federal agencies as well as the State and County to determine economic priorities.

“The CEDS process, which has taken place over several months, serves as a means to engage community stakeholders, leverage the involvement of the private sector and establish a blueprint for collaboration,” said Jeanne Skog, President and CEO of MEDB. “The report provides a capacity-building foundation and helps define what economic development initiatives can create an environment for regional economic prosperity and resilience.”

The CEDS process was led by a Strategy Committee drawn from business, industry, community organizations, local government, organized labor, education, utilities, public health agencies, minorities and women. The Committee identified the main economic clusters considered to be economic drivers for Maui County’s economy. These were, in alphabetical order: agriculture; construction; creative industries; energy; health and wellness; science, technology and innovation; sports and recreation; and the visitor industry.

As an integral part of the process, MEDB convened Focus Groups representing each of the eight identified clusters and geographical locations to gather input on economic development challenges, opportunities, and actions relevant to the formulation of the CEDS for Maui County. Recognizing the unique economies in Lanai and Molokai, the committee approached them as distinct geographical clusters in the CEDS process and convened Focus Groups on each island.

A total of 115 participants contributed during this process and their input incorporated into the CEDS report. To further inform the choice of clusters, MEDB surveyed 1,473 residents at the 2015 Maui Fair to obtain their priorities among the eight clusters.

Copies of the CEDS are available online; and a limited number of hard copies are available from the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development by calling (808) 270-7710.

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