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

Assessing and Evaluating the Defense Industry Adjustment Program
Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA)
Start Date: Nov 2015 — End Date: Aug 2019

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) and EntreWorks Consulting will provide technical assistance for the OEA by assessing and evaluating the design and effects of Office of Economic Adjustment’s Defense Industry Adjustment (DIA) program and the assistance that its grantees provide to defense-dependent communities, workers, and businesses. CREC and EntreWorks will work closely with OEA […]

Mapping the Defense Supply Chain For The State Of West Virginia
West Virginia University
Start Date: Feb 2017 — End Date: Dec 2017

CREC developed a statewide supply chain map of West Virginia’s defense and manufacturing industries that serve defense manufacturers and communities in limiting the impact of defense-related spending cuts and identify new opportunities for economic diversification.  The project included identifying regional and sector-specific competitive advantages regarding DOD assets, and how these related to broader industry cluster […]

The 7 Rivers Alliance Regional Wise Talent Strategy
The 7 Rivers Alliance
Start Date: Feb 2017 — End Date: Dec 2017

CREC collaborated with the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) at the University of Northern Iowa, Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, and First Children’s Finance on this effort. CREC and its partners developed a Regional Talent Plan comprised of workforce preparation, attraction and retention strategies, a roadmap for implementing key initiatives, and an asset and gap […]

Regional Aerospace & Defense Exchange (RADE) DIA Evaluation
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
Start Date: Oct 2016 — End Date: Sep 2017

CREC performed an assessment of the Regional Aerospace & Defense Exchange (RADE) Defense Industry Adjustment project’s effectiveness and impact by developing quantitative and qualitative evaluation criteria. Working with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, CREC collected outcome and activity metrics through stakeholder engagement events and interviews to develop a logic model. The model […]

Texas Economic Adjustment Assistance
University of Texas at Arlington
Start Date: Sep 2016 — End Date: Aug 2017

CREC supported the state of Texas in mitigating the impact of defense spending and sequestration on the state economy through identification and assistance to affected businesses, creating an analyses to aid economic planning for affected regions, and facilitation of high-impact entrepreneurship and technology acceleration activities in those regions. CREC worked with project partners and key […]