University Economic Development Association

Relationship Building with Diverse Partners with California State University Chico

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, this month’s UC Cohort Corner is focused on the activities at the Center for Economic Development (CED), a division of the North State Planning and Development Collective and EDA University Center at California State University (CSU) Chico, a Hispanic Serving Institution.

Under the direction of Executive Director Jason Schwenkler, CED’s priority objective is to increase collaboration and cohesiveness in the region, with the goal of bringing resources to rural and under-resourced communities. CED’s outlook is represented through its work that is leveraged by its multitude of partners, including but not limited to:

  • Consortium with California State University Fresno and California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo: This partnership was the only EDA UC Consortium in the Seattle region. This effort expanded the region served, strengthened relationships between the three universities, and increased programming and resources in UC activities.
  • Faculty and student partnerships: CED provides data assistance to faculty at CSU Chico; likewise, faculty members provide their expertise on numerous CED projects. CED also offers paid internships to students to offer relevant experience in data collection efforts, client relations, and more. Many times, CED has hired their interns as staff.
  • Northern CA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: CED prides itself on focusing on diversity and inclusion in their work. By partnering with the Chamber, CED has built connections with Hispanic-owned businesses and expanded their reach in the region.

These relationships assist in convening partners for events held by CED. Each year, CED hosts its Economic Forecast Conference to bring together the North State region and beyond at the state level. The conference discusses upcoming trends and best practices in economic development and foster conversations that are then continued throughout the year during CED’s Regional Summits, such as its 5th Annual Broadband Summit held last month.

Projects centered on the CA Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF), land management, tribal partnership development, agricultural resiliency, and climate adaptation are key priorities for future work. However, without collaboration, it would be difficult to assist the communities they serve. CED is the conduit for bringing people together and leveraging resources in the North State region. Building trust through partnerships is an essential way to build connections, and the EDA UC designation assists with bringing a sense of trust in their work.

To learn more about CED, click here.