Envisioning a Region that Works for Everyone

Ensuring metro Atlanta remains a vibrant, thriving community that is competitive on the global stage requires a comprehensive, actionable approach for economic development, education, economic mobility, and other critical factors.

CATLYST: A Strategy for Economic Competitiveness

With a core goal of empowering upward economic mobility for all, CATLYST is a strategy designed to improve regional competitiveness and collaboration throughout the 10-county region. CATLYST will ensure that metro Atlanta has good jobs, a well-trained workforce, and the regional collaboration needed to invigorate economic growth. CATLYST serves as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Atlanta region, and allows communities and organizations to receive grants and assistance from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for projects and technical assistance that support the four focus areas.

It all happens through the work of project teams consisting of leaders from across the region’s public, private, and nonprofit spheres. Work began in 2017 with an evaluation of the region’s economy, including data analysis and extensive outreach (interviews, focus groups, public forums, and workshops). This work built on the 2012 Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy. Learn more about the history of CATLYST.

(The 10 CATLYST counties are Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale.)

CATLYST Executive Summary

CATLYST will serve as a guide for policies, programs, and investments that ensure the region’s continued economic dynamism. CATLYST is designed to provide information, tools, and specific actions to ARC, partner organizations, local economic development and community development practitioners, elected leaders, and private businesses.


CATLYST Summary Background and SWOT Analysis

This first chapter of CATLYST includes a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) summary. The SWOT summary is based on a quantitative evaluation of metro Atlanta’s current competitive position along with qualitative information collected through a series of focus groups and interviews.


CATLYST Strategic Action Plan & Evaluation Framework

CATLYST’s second chapter includes a five-year program of work to enhance metro Atlanta’s economy, resiliency, and quality of life for all residents. The recommended actions build on findings from the SWOT analysis and incorporate activities from current regional efforts that support the vision and goals of CATLYST.


Current Projects

After the initial planning and outreach, the priorities were divided into four pillars, or areas of focus. These pillars were defined by the needs of individual residents, and each one is of equal importance for achieving balanced, stable economic development. Each pillar has been assigned a project team that will set goals and do the necessary work to reach them.

Below is a look at one project underway for each of the four project teams.

Employed & Engaged

Project: Regional Marketing Alliance

Multiple economic development organizations selling metro Atlanta globally.

Prepared & Productive

Project: Bridge the Gaps

Unifying goals of educators, businesses, and workers.

Healthy & Housed

Project: Regional Housing Strategy

Strategizing a wider variety of housing near job centers.

Connected & Resilient

Project: Understanding the Impacts of Poverty

Studying poverty's impacts on the region's economy and residents.