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GPEDC Weekend Update – June 17, 2022

Some GPEDC updates to end your week: 

Central Illinois “Fam” Tour: Our partners at Intersect Illinois, the state’s economic development marketing organization, brought three relocation and expansion consultants (“site selectors”) to Central Illinois last week for a “familiarization” tour. Three consultants, one each from Chicago, Indianapolis and Greenville (SC), spent two and a half days visiting Greater Peoria and Bloomington-Normal. We took them to dinner at Blackband in Peoria and had them enjoy a Peoria Chiefs ballgame from a luxury suite (courtesy of our friends at Ameren Illinois), toured AutonomouStuff and Rivian, visited Heartland Community College to discuss their electric vehicle training programs, and relaxes at BloNo Pizza and Bakery & Pickle restaurant in Bloomington (courtesy of our friends at Wabash Valley Power Alliance). In between we were able to give formal presentations on our community and some of our initiatives but most importantly were able to have some one-on-one informal conversations with the consultants. 

It is important to note that we were joined on the visit by our economic development partners in Springfield, Decatur and Champaign-Urbana. Together with us and the Bloomington-Normal EDC, we comprise the “Mid Illinois Collaborative” and strive to work together to market this amazing “super” region. In the Friday morning report-out by the consultants, they noted the importance of this sort of collaboration. One consultant commented that there are over 3500 counties in the US and that every one of them is a “great place to live, work and play.” The consultants will never remember each of them individually, but will remember entire regions. In addition, the consultants were surprised by our innovation assets and sustainability industries, both factors they felt we should highlight. It was a great trip, and got Lenora and I excited by a fam tour GPEDC is organizing (with the help of Ameren) this fall that will focus on the biomedical industry. More on that soon. And finally, a hat tip to Lenora for great work helping the Intersect team organize this whole experience.

Peoria and Woodford Broadband Survey: Kathie and Grace, working with their broadband planning teams in Peoria and Woodford counties, finalized and launched a household survey to assess broadband issues of availability and affordability in both counties. The surveys were launched at a press conference on Wednesday at the Alpha Park Library in Bartonville. You can take the Peoria County survey here and the Woodford county one here.

Career Spark Brunch: On Thursday, Kari and Rachel (our Workforce Solutions intern) and our partners at Junior Achievement held Careers Spark’s celebration brunch. This is a moment to celebrate past sponsors and volunteers for all their past work in advancing the initiative and preparing them for the bright future of Career Spark. A huge thanks to the Peoria Riverfront Museum for hosting and our incredible partners Junior Achievement! Learn more about Career Spark event happening this Fall here.

Have a great weekend.

Chris

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