A lot of folks are taking this Friday off (including me), so instead of getting 54 “out-of-office” emails back, I’m sharing my update a day early. Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Site Selector Guild: Lenora attended the Annual Site Selectors Guild (SSG) Conference in San Antonio last week. The event had the largest attendance of Site Selectors and EDOs in the SSG’s history. The conference includes networking, meals, breakout sessions and roundtable discussions with site selectors, and lots of quality time to talk about projects, location assets, etc. Team Illinois was represented in force. The first year Lenora attended, only she and Ryan McCrady from Springfield participated. This year, eight Illinois representatives attended, including Ameren Illinois and Intersect Illinois. Of the 61 site selectors in attendance, Lenora had substantive conversations with more than 25 of them directly over the course of a day and a half. It was also good for her to attend following the two familiarization tours we hosted in 2022. All of the site selectors that visited circled back with her to share how much they valued the visits and that they continue to be interested in and celebrate our progress. And several of the folks that hadn’t been to Greater Peoria commented on the positive feedback received from the guild members that did. All in all a great conference and an opportunity to solidify the positive relationships built and investments made last year. (Representatives from “Team Illinois” pictured below, including Lenora and GPEDC Board member Eric Whitfield of Ameren Illinois.)
February Jobs Numbers: We were able to figure out the new way IDES is reporting monthly job numbers, and everything has been updated in the workforce section of the DataHub (scroll to the second section). As was reported by a few news sources, we saw an increase of 6,400 jobs in the Peoria MSA between February 2022 and February 2023. We also saw a nice increase of 1,500 jobs between January and February of 2023. The biggest gains were in the “Education and Health Services” category, with +1,200 month-over-month and +2,500 year-over-year. I’ve updated the chart that I use to compare “employed persons” and “jobs” in the Peoria MSA (below). You’ll see that after briefly converging in July 2022, the lines are again pretty far apart. Still have never found anyone to explain how this all works other than to assume the Peoria area is a “net importer” of workers. We are down off our recent highs in employed persons but tracking nicely on jobs.
Information Technology Workforce: Don Shafer of Illinois Central College made a presentation at our quarterly Board meeting this week about the IT Workforce Accelerator. Funded by a three-year, $14.6 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration’s Good Job Challenge, ICC is partnering with Bradley and Eureka and a host of community partners (including GPEDC) to train 1,000 people in critical information technology skills ranging from programming to network support, and even including technology-based careers like CNC machining. You can see Don’s presentation and materials here and can get in touch with him by emailing him at Donald.Shafer@icc.edu.
Strategy Reports: And if we had a Board meeting, that means we also have updated staff strategy reports. These are quarterly reports, so if you missed the January and February reports, you’ll find them summarized here along with March activity. Read them here.
B2B Grants: Just a reminder that applications for Illinois’ latest COVID relief grants for business are now open. There are three separate grant programs, one each for restaurants, hotels and creative arts. More information at www.gpcovid.com where businesses can also request help from one of GPEDC’s “Community Navigators.”
For those who celebrate, happy Easter or happy Passover.