Many communities in Massachusetts currently utilize a variety of publicly-funded economic development organizations that help to generate and maintain economic activity and growth. Given the importance of economic development to cities and towns that are currently facing high unemployment rates, eroding tax bases and vacant space, it is crucial that these organizations operate effectively and receive the support necessary to continue their operations.
To date, however, the performance of many of these organizations has not been evaluated in a systematic manner, and the extent of their effectiveness is unknown. Only through a formal evaluation process can it be determined if the organizations need to be modified or improved. Furthermore, failure to assess and document the impact of the economic development programs could lead to questions of their value or purpose by taxpayers and/or funding sources.
Unfortunately, information on a systematic approach to evaluating economic development agencies is not readily available to many communities . The Center for Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts, whose goal is to advise and help Massachusetts cities and towns in their economic development efforts, recognizes this problem and would like to provide localities with the means to perform these evaluations.
The purpose of this project, therefore, is to provide information on the evaluation of local economic development organizations which the Center can pass on to these communities. Hopefully, the availability of ·this information will encourage evaluation at the local level and provide a basis for further investigation into the subject by the Center for Economic Development.
Section 11: Pages 1-60
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