U.S. Economic Development Administration University Centers: Leveraging Federal Dollars Toward Best Practices

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G. Jason Jolley
Behzad Taimur


This paper reviews the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center (UC) program, which encompasses 58 UCs across EDA’s six regions. A review of each UC’s activities reveals a diverse, and often specialized, expertise for UCs that reflects and integrates best practices in economic development. Older UCs more often focus on traditional economic development activities, such as technical assistance to organizations in their service region, while newer UCs reflect learning and best practices by focusing on entrepreneurship support, targeted commercialization of research, workforce development, and business counseling associated with Third Wave strategies. This work informs not only the scholarly community about the depth and diversity of the UC program, but also economic development practitioners who may work with UCs on economic development initiatives.

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Author Biographies

G. Jason Jolley, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Ohio University

G. Jason Jolley is the MPA director and an assistant professor at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. His research has been published in Economic Development Quarterly, Business Strategy and the Environment, State and Local Government Review, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, & Financial Management, and other scholarly outlets. He received a Ph.D. in public administration from North Carolina State University.

Behzad Taimur, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Ohio University

Behzad Taimur graduated from Ohio University with a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Communication and Development Studies. His research interests include democratic governance, local government and socio-economic empowerment of distressed and marginalized communities.