July 21, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- July 21, 2023

Some GPEDC updates to end your week:

AMCC Road Show: On Tuesday, GPEDC hosted a site visit by the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative (AMCC), a national organization that has been selected by the US Economic Development Administration to create a “community of practice” that will make manufacturing more robust, equitable, sustainable and resilient across the nation. AMCC was visiting Illinois as part of their series of “road shows” to learn how states and regions were working on improving manufacturing and their workforce.  Sally, Linda, Dick, and Kathie organized a great day showcasing our region’s manufacturing pipeline. AMCC visited Illinois Central College, where they got a sneak peek of the new Workforce Sustainability Center, toured ICC’s manufacturing technology classrooms, and discussed programs like the Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative, Regional Workforce Alliance, and Career Spark. That was followed by a tour of Morton Industries showcasing their automation adoption and a discussion of their innovative approaches to hiring and promotion. The day concluded back at GPEDC, where they heard about a GP Manufacturing Network-inspired collaboration between Integris Engineering and Quality Metal Products; learned about efforts to soften the blow of coal transition from the Illinois State Director, USDA Rural Development and Kathie; and heard from Spoon River Community College about their workforce efforts. Matt and David from AMCC were very impressed with what they saw and will incorporate some of our ideas into their best practices.

Illinois Defense Network: The AMCC visit was coordinated as part of the Illinois Defense Network. The Network, of which GPEDC is a founding member, is a coalition of partners across central and northern Illinois that work to improve and sustain manufacturing associated with the defense industry. GPEDC and a host of partners work collaboratively through a US Department of Defense Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium (ILDMC) Designation with a federal grant awarded to the University of Illinois Chicago. The group meets quarterly, and it was Chicago’s turn to host. Sally and Linda traveled to Chicago on Wednesday to visit MxD, a manufacturing institute. They were also able to coordinate an opportunity for our partners to hear a presentation by Don Schafer regarding our region’s EDA Good Jobs Challenge IT Workforce Accelerator. On Thursday, I joined Sally and Linda for the official quarterly meeting, where we shared our progress with our colleagues. It was a really jam-packed week of learning and networking.

Peoria County Small Business Grants: Congratulations to the thirteen small businesses in Peoria County that were awarded $5000 startup grants through the Start A Business Greater Peoria program. The applicants were vetted by the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Advisory Committee, on which both Andrew and I serve. Andrew is also a mentor in the program.

Distillery Labs Hammer Swing!: They say that good things come to those who wait. Well, between COVID, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and a redesign, we’ve certainly been waiting for our fair share of time for Distillery Labs construction to start. But the waiting is over. Renovation of the facility at 201 SW Adams starts on Monday, August 21. To celebrate, we are throwing a small party on Thursday, August 17, at 10 am at Distillery Labs. Since it is a renovation, we have no ground to break, so we will be swinging a few sledge hammers into the drywall. Please consider joining us in celebration. 

Have a great weekend.