Sort of a longer Weekend Update because you aren’t getting one next week!
New Staff! I am so pleased to announce that Jeffrey Inman has been hired as our new Director of Workforce Solutions. Jeffrey emerged as the best choice from an incredibly competitive field. He has a great resume in Human Resource positions with a specialty in recruiting. A Peoria-area native, Jeffrey has had both local and national positions, most recently with Indeed. His passion for workforce issues came through in his interviews, and we are excited to have him fill this important role. He starts August 14 and will be thrown right into the fire with Career Spark, Talent Pipeline Management, and our labor shed study. You’ll be able to reach Jeffrey at email@example.com.
Labor Shed Analysis: Speaking of our labor shed analysis, we have selected Newmark to conduct this study. Funded by an Illinois RISE grant, they will use contracted and proprietary data along with interviews of our corporate and institutional partners to help us better understand our local workforce and national trends. As outlined in our Request for Proposal, they will also help guide the strategies of the Regional Workforce Alliance. They will provide us with critical information that will help market our region to a national audience. Newmark, in addition to their economic development consulting practice, is one of the country’s largest site selection advisory firms. Having them look at Greater Peoria through the eyes of a site selector was a real selling point for us. The work starts immediately and will be complete by the end of the year.
Volunteers Needed: Believe it or not, Career Spark is almost here. This year’s in-person event for 8th graders is scheduled for September 28 and 29. Without hundreds of volunteers, you can’t shepherd nearly 5,000 kids through the Peoria Civic Center. General volunteer sign-up is open now through the online form here. General volunteers include bus greeters, tour guides, zone entrance/exit monitors, and lunch deliverers. This is a great individual opportunity to give back and an even better group exercise for your company, church, or social group.
June Jobs and Employment: I mentioned last week that the June employment and jobs numbers were released late last week. Some good news in these numbers. The regional labor force number skyrocketed by nearly 3,500. Employed persons increased too, but not by as much – about 2,000 new people reporting as employed. That combination actually led to an increase in the regional unemployment rate, going from 4.3% to 5.0% (there was a very similar statewide jump, but this is one of those cases where an increase in the unemployment rate is a good thing.) On the jobs side, we had another strong month with an increase of 1,000 jobs in the Peoria MSA. Manufacturing (+400) and Mining/Construction (+500) were the biggest gainers. Graphs and more here.
WSP Port Plan: The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (HIRPD) received a $460,000 State Planning Research (SPR) fund program grant from the Marine Section of the State of Illinois Department of Transportation to develop its first-ever Port Master Plan. WSP USA, Inc. has been awarded the prime contract by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission to deliver the master plan. This grant will allow the HIRPD to strengthen its role as an economic enabler for the region and better support the underserved areas in its six counties and the larger Illinois Waterways Ports region. The HIRPD Master Plan Development and Implementation Strategy Study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024. More information here.
Reminders: Two great events the week of August 14. First, on August 14 Choose Greater Peoria is hosting a Bears tailgate party from noon – 8 pm at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Packers fans are welcome, of course. (Maybe leave your cheesehead hats at home.) Later that week, Distillery Labs is having a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction. The event is on August 17 at 10 at 201 SW Adams. It’s also a chance to meet Doug Cruitt, the new Executive Director. Please RSVP here.
July Strategy Reports: We didn’t have an August board meeting, but I still made my staff create strategy reports for July. You can read them here.
I’m on vacation in Michigan the week of August 7 so there will be no Weekend Update next Friday. I hope you have a great weekend and week!