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Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC)

The EDCC program recognizes communities that are economic development leaders in our state and show a readiness for growth.

From small towns to urban developments, Nebraska has a vast array of thriving communities. The Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) Program, sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats, certifies the communities that display economic development preparedness and a desire for growth.

Communities with the highest level of economic readiness are most likely to succeed in the program. Each applicant community is evaluated on program standards related to their community’s organization, community identified targets and/or markets, community infrastructure, local financing and business assistance, and existing sites and/or building information.

Businesses and EDCC Communities
If you’re looking to grow or move your business, communities with EDCC certification are a perfect place to start. The application process provides communities the opportunity to learn about relevant needs for various business projects and how to strategically address those needs. This program showcases the communities in Nebraska that have positioned themselves well for economic development opportunities.

Economic Development Certified Communities
There are currently 40 Nebraska communities that hold the EDCC designation. So, what sets them apart from the rest? They’ve demonstrated preparedness for business growth and are ready to meet the needs of companies seeking new business and industrial locations. These are the certified communities:

Albion Crete Holdrege Ord
Alliance Elwood Imperial Plattsmouth
Auburn Falls City Kearney Seward
Aurora Fremont Laurel Scottsbluff
Beatrice Geneva Lexington Scribner
Bellevue Gering McCook Sidney
Blair Gothenburg Nebraska City South Sioux City
Chadron Grand Island Norfolk Wayne
Columbus Hartington North Platte West Point
Cozad Hastings Ogallala York

Why Communities Should Apply

Certified communities display a high level of economic development readiness. It signifies a strong infrastructure, among many other great qualities. Certified communities are:

  • Properly identified and documented as ready for economic development opportunities.
  • Marketed to businesses and industries.
  • Publicly recognized as economic development leaders within our state.
  • Positioned to have success in grant funded competitive projects.

EDCC Program Objective and Guidelines

Certification will require a serious commitment from the participating community. Applicant communities are expected to have a full-time economic development director focused on business retention and expansion efforts and recruitment initiatives.
  • Provide communities with a specific checklist of items that define proactive communities.
  • Identify communities with meaningful economic development agendas and capabilities increasing their opportunities for success.
  • Recognize community organizational infrastructure readiness and ability to respond to existing and prospective business and industry needs.
  • Encourage strategic cooperation among Nebraska’s economic development organization.

This program is not a competitive process. Certification for individual communities results from meeting specific criteria. The designation will be reserved for those communities who exhibit documented economic development readiness. Each applicant community will be judged against the program standards.

These include (but are not limited to):

  • Organization
  • Identified targets and/or markets
  • Community infrastructure
  • Local financing and business assistance
  • Controlled site or building information
Don’t take it from us, take it from people who have gone through the EDCC certification process. See what they had to say about their certification process.
  • Brad Peitz
    "The designation that Hartington received five years ago has really opened the door to improving our community. Not only does the process help us focus more on community and economic development planning, but allows us to be better prepared when applying for grants and using other resources. This process is a great tool in helping any community to be proactive in preparing for future growth.”
    Brad Peitz
    Hartington Mayor
  • Michael L. Moser
    “The City of Columbus is very proud to have been recertified by the Nebraska Diplomats in the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community Program. This recertification is a living testimony of the community’s efforts, both in the private and public sectors, to growing our opportunities and sustainability as a place where employers wish to locate and great jobs can be obtained. The recent partnerships formed for projects to improve the quality of life for our area residents are continuing examples of our efforts to collaborate and make Columbus the great place it is to call home.”
    Michael L. Moser
    Columbus Mayor
  • Keith Knudsen
    “I am so pleased for the City of Laurel that we continue to be a certified community for economic development and thank everyone who helped in the recertification process. Great things are happening with both existing and new businesses in Laurel and this recertification will only help ensure that the momentum continues.”
    Keith Knudsen
    President and CEO, Security Bank in Laurel
  • Joe Pepplitsch
    "Gaining EDCC certification indicates that Lexington continues to move in a positive direction, and the community is poised to achieve current and long-term development goals. As we continue to build on our past successes and invest in our future, our message is clear: Lexington is full of opportunity, is development-friendly, and is able to deliver resources that progress requires.”
    Joe Pepplitsch
    Lexington City Manager
  • Marlene Johnson
    “The EDCC certification process provided our leaders with new opportunities to create strategic plans for development and recruitment, which will now serve as an additional tool to attract new businesses, job seekers and West Point alumni to northeast Nebraska. This designation showcases West Point as a welcoming community to businesses and industries, and as a city that works together to continually improve our way of life.”
    Marlene Johnson
    West Point Mayor

Certification Maintenance
Once a community is successfully certified, it will receive annual reviews of the community’s economic development website and LOIS information. Plus, the certified community will need to complete a recertification application every five years that addresses the following standards:

  • Organization
  • Infrastructure
  • Identified targets and/or markets
  • Business retention and expansion program
  • Strategic planning
  • Marketing efforts
  • Long-range funding plan
  • Labor market information and workforce attraction efforts
  • Housing initiatives
  • Economic development evaluation

Recertification Process
Certification is good for five years with annual reviews. At that point, a recertification process is necessary. DED will notify communities six months before their expiration.

Alternative Options
The EDCC Program is not realistic for all communities, but the process is invaluable to communities regardless of size. The application process helps to identify capacity, stimulate focused planning and deliberately structure websites.

If your community does not meet the guidelines for the EDCC Program, consider the Leadership Certified Community program. For more information, contact Kelly Gewecke at 308-627-3151 or

For more information on EDCC certification:

Ashley Rice-Gerlach

Economic Development Certified Community Program Manager