Southwest Tennessee EDD launches 12-County REDI initiative

When Joe Barker, Executive Director of Southwest Tennessee Economic Development District, (SWTDD) called on VE to help him address the economic development challenges of Southwest Tennessee, VE used its ENVISION services to help the region define a regional sense of urgency and to develop a critical mass of regional leaders. Following 18 months of regional consultations, VE facilitated an economic summit of over 200 leaders in late fall, 2009 that launched the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) in April, 2010.

REDI, which serves a region with a population of over 340,000 people, initially will focus on transforming the educational expectation culture of the region and improving access to higher education for youth and adults. A key component of REDI is a college access program called Southwest Tennessee Educational Pathways (STEP). REDI also will focus on increasing access to and adoption of broadband in the region.