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

Regional Economic Impact Analysis of Fort Leonard Wood
Cities of St. Robert and Waynesville Missouri
Start Date: Jul 2016 — End Date: Jun 2017

CREC and its partner, the Leonard Wood Institute, studied and quantified the impacts stemming from the 2013 actual, and the 2015 announced personnel reductions on Fort Leonard Wood military base. This included an analysis on topic areas including employment and workforce impacts, retail and lodging, housing, schools, small business and suppliers, social and public services, […]

Momentum West Talent Strategy
Momentum West
Start Date: May 2016 — End Date: Nov 2016

CREC, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa’s Institute for Decision Making (IDM), assisted Momentum West with developing a Talent Retention and Attraction Action Plan comprised of an analysis of the region’s existing talent supply (Workforce Analysis), an assessment of its capacity to develop or attract workers (Asset Analysis), and an implementation plan for […]

Assessing the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge (AMJIAC) Initiative
National Institute of Standards & Technology – Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Start Date: Oct 2015 — End Date: Oct 2016

CREC worked with NIST MEP to develop a survey instrument and conduct phone and in-person interviews with AMJIAC awardees. The questions covered the life of the grant, from development of proposals to the completion of projects. CREC then synthesized findings from these interviews—as well as a document review of project proposals, integrated work plans, and […]

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

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (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 […]

Lakeshore (Wisconsin) Value-Supply Chain Analysis and On-Line Mapping Tool
Progress Lakeshore Foundation
Start Date: Feb 2014 — End Date: Dec 2015

CREC worked with the Progress Lakeshore Foundation, Inc., in partnership with the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation and the Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative, to develop an in-depth Value‐Supply Chain Analysis of Industry Clusters in the Lakeshore Sub Region of The New North, consisting of the counties of Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan Wisconsin. This […]