Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Peoria Broadband Survey: On Tuesday, Peoria County launched the next phase of its broadband planning efforts. As part of a comprehensive Broadband Feasibility Study, funded by a grant from the Just Transitions Fund (procured by GPEDC) and Peoria County ARPA proceeds, a countywide survey was launched to gather essential data from residents. The survey results will be used to ensure that today’s historic levels of federal funding are used to address Peoria County’s most urgent broadband barriers and needs. The outreach strategy is already working. After just the first day on the street, the survey had over 600 responses. If you live in Peoria County or have a business located here, please complete the five minute survey here. Hat tip to Kathie for doing really great work to coordinate this project. She was interviewed by WEEK News 25 last night.
NDIA Midwest Government Contracting Symposium: Last week Sally and Linda traveled to the Rock Island Arsenal, home of the US Army’s Joint Munitions Facility, to participate in the National Defense Industry Association’s Government Contracting Symposium. The Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium, of which GPEDC is a founding member, helped with planning for the symposium along with our partners in Chicago. The symposium focused on technology, digitization, cyber security, cloud computing and other issues essential for the modernization of the US military and its supply chain. Small Business Liaison Officers provided information and key insights for doing business with the government. Sally and Linda helped with a “matchmaking session” organized and co-led by the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Bradley University. Sally and Linda (pictured below with partners from the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and Chicago Metro Metals) staffed a booth to share more about the Consortium with participants.
April Employment Flat, Jobs Up: The April 2023 employment report from IDES showed no real movement in number of people employed in Greater Peoria between March and April with just 21 few people reporting as being employed. A slightly larger decrease in labor force (-433) led to the regional unemployment rate dropping from 4.7% to 4.5%. The jobs number continued its positive trend, though. There were 1,400 more jobs estimated in the Peoria MSA in April than March 2023, and 6,400 more year-over-year. Check out the charts here.
At Issue: The Choose Greater Peoria program continues its roll out. I was able to join Doug Oberhelman and Laura Cullinan from the Gilmore Foundation and Misty Dykema of Simantel on WTVP’s At Issue to discuss the importance of this critical regional initiative. You can watch the episode here.
Startup Showcase: Please join Distillery Labs and its sponsors for our annual Startup Showcase. The ten startups that went through the last two gBeta cohorts will be making their debut pitches. The event will also include a keynote speech by Bobby Hambrick, the founder of AutonomouStuff and current Executive Director of the Hambrick Foundation. Join us on Wednesday, June 28 from 5 – 8:30 pm at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Food, drinks, entertainment, networking, inspiration and it’s all free. All you need to do is register here.
Have a great weekend.