CATLYST Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Update Underway Now

We at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) are excited to have you participate in the update to the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The CEDS is updated every five-years, as required by the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The CEDS process is the region’s opportunity for a collaborative and collective public engagement process to plan for Atlanta’s future. This process will be focused on addressing historic economic imbalances and the negative, and ongoing impact of COVID-19 on persons of color while defining strategies to support our small businesses and continue to recruit Fortune 500 companies and globally recognized businesses. Public engagement and strategic plan development will take place throughout 2022 for the 11-county Atlanta Region.

We need you input! Continue to check back as more engagement opportunities and meeting dates become available.

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 (now the 11-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.

Map - Atlanta region 10 county and 11 county
The 10 CATLYST (2017) counties are Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale. As of July 2021, CATLYST also covers Forsyth County, making the Economic Development District (EDD) 11 counties.

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.

How Was CATLYST Started?

CATLYST was built on the 2012 Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy. It provided updated goals and objectives to further advance the economy of the 10-county region and provide more opportunities for its residents.

The CATLYST planning process began in 2017 with regional data analysis, in addition to interviews, focus groups, public forums, and workshops. Overall, this engagement process included the input of 150 stakeholders, five 2-hour workshops with a 65-member regional Strategy Committee, an online survey of more than 2,000 area residents, and four 2-hour community open houses in Gwinnett, Douglas, and Clayton Counties and the City of Atlanta. The Strategy committee filled an invaluable role in helping to inform and guide the development of this strategic plan.

This extensive data collection and outreach process ultimately produced three guiding documents, completed in December 2017.

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.


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