Here are a few updates to end your week:
Technical Working Group: I swear, one day, we will rename our Technical Working Group to something more exciting (maybe Super Friends). But regardless of its boring name, the TWG is a really great group. For nearly a decade, GPEDC has been hosting a monthly meeting where we invite all of our local partners in economic and community development to gather. The meetings are part networking event and part educational session. We’ve had guest speakers sharing federal, state, and local resources or talking about important initiatives like broadband or active transportation, or conservation. The group meets the fourth Tuesday of every month, but since that would put us into conflict with the Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, we always combine those events. This week, the TWG also had a special location: The Ronald McDonald House in Peoria. (Full disclosure: My wife works there!) The community room in the house was an excellent gathering place for our meeting, where we discussed the new DCEO grant to help small businesses (see below). But it also gave us an opportunity to tour the House and see what a great mission they have in providing hospitality to families in need. And no near-Christmas gathering that ends at 4:30 and is across the street from Obed & Issac’s can be complete without a bit of Christmas cheer together. I am so thankful for the strong partners we have at GPEDC. You should be thankful, too.
We Are Hiring! GPEDC is growing in 2024, but the work to get there starts now. We will be adding a total of four new positions in 2024 and the first two are being advertised as we speak. Recognizing the importance of workforce development to our work and the advancement of our region, we are looking to fill two positions. The Workforce Solutions Specialist will work alongside Jeffrey to develop, implement and track progress on workforce initiatives like CareerSpark, Talent Pipeline Management and the Regional Workforce Alliance. We are also looking for someone to become our first Talent Attraction Coordinator. In partnership with the Greater Peoria Leadership Council and the Gilmore Foundation, this position will offer “concierge services” to people who indicate interest in relocating to our region via the Choose Greater Peoria talent attraction campaign. A core task of this partner will be to help match that interest with job openings within our region. For both positions we are looking for energetic, passionate, organized and self-starting individuals who want to make Greater Peoria even greater. Check out the job descriptions on our website and share these opportunities with people in your network.
Bloomington Normal Thanks: I’ve often said that economic development is a team game. And while our work is focused on the Peoria area, we have built strong partnerships with our neighbors in Central Illinois. That was evident when I was invited to join in an event hosted by the Bloomington Normal EDC. They were welcoming a delegation of German companies involved in the electric vehicle space. Coordinated by the German-American Chamber of Commerce, our foreign guests had visited companies in Detroit and Columbus before arriving in Normal. They planned to tour Rivian before heading to Chicago, but Wednesday night, they were treated to a welcoming reception at Destihl’s beer hall. It was nice to be included in the event and share a little about the advantages of Greater Peoria and Central Illinois. Thank you to my friend Patrick Hoban of BNEDC for including us.
Strategy Reports: The first Tuesday of the month means a GPEDC board meeting, which means I made the staff write up their strategy reports. You can support them by reading about their great work here.
B2B NewBiz: One week down, six to go. The Back-to-Business (B2B) NewBiz program is designed to help businesses that opened in 2020 and 2021 – during the height of the COVID pandemic. Businesses can qualify for a grant of up to $30,000. GPEDC is managing a network of eleven local organizations poised to provide individual technical assistance to businesses seeking these grants. The deadline for submitting an application is January 11. You can learn more about the program here.
Have a great weekend.