March 10, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- March 10, 2023

Lots of good things here, so a bit longer than normal (no pictures, though!). Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:

CEJA Awards: The Illinois Clean Energy and Jobs Act created the “Energy Transition Communities Grant Program” that awards grants to communities impacted by coal power plant, coal mine or nuclear power plant closures (or planned closures) to invest in a variety of projects to address economic recovery and energy efficiency. Kathie and I worked closely with applicants in three of our counties that were eligible because of the closure or planned closure of coal power plants. Last Friday, IL DCEO announced the allocation amounts to applicants in the first of two phases of this program. In Mason County (for the Havana plant) we worked with Havana Community Unit School District #125 ($757,657 allocated); Mason District Hospital ($324,909); and Mason County ($434,722). In Tazewell County (for the Powerton plant scheduled to close in 2028), the county itself was allocated $461,827. In Peoria County (for the closed Edwards plant), the county itself was awarded $190,271. In total, nearly $2.2 million was allocated in part because of GPEDC’s assistance. Kathie and I will be working with these five entities to help them complete the second phase of the application process. More information here. (Please note that three other entities in our region were also allocated grant dollars but weren’t assisted by GPEDC: Havana Park District $156,915; Peoria Park District $118,454; City of Havana $55,482.)

Ed and Career Success Network: The Greater Peoria region has been a Leadership Community in the Illinois Education and Career Success Network since its early days. This week, the Network celebrated their 10 year anniversary in a celebration at their annual conference in Chicago dedicated to “Accelerating Equitable Success” for postsecondary attainment in Illinois. Kari received an award on behalf of Greater Peoria for our participation as a Leadership Community and was one of four presenters to share at a lunchtime plenary session to share about the outcomes we have realized as a region in developing our workforce over the last decade. You can see her presentation here

AgTech Connect: Totally forgot to include this one last week: More than 40 agricultural business interests ranging from farmers to innovators gathered at the latest AgTech Connect session of February 24 at the Peoria Riverfront Museum with the goal of exploring resources and ideas supporting agricultural entrepreneurship in our region. Peter Johnsen, a Biotechnology and Healthcare leader shared his experiences with development of the pennycress business from research to commercialization of an idea.  Peter’s work was completed in partnership with two area agronomists including Pete Fandel of ICC and Dr. Winthrop Phippen of Western Illinois University.  Both Pete and Winn shared about their collaborations. Chris Baumann, co-founder of CashRent, shared his story of how his growing business idea was conceived and how the idea turned into a thriving new venture. Natural Fiber Welding, DigiFarmz and Leverage Your Social – Smart Start also shared their business ventures and were able form new collaboration opportunities. Our thanks to all our collaborative partners who made this a successful event: Morton Economic Development Council, Bradley University Small Business Development Center, Illinois Central College, Bradley University College of Business, Peoria NEXT, and Distillery Labs.

Quick Hits:

  • GPEDC is a founding member of the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Community (ILDMC), a network of service providers in north and central Illinois funded by the US Department of Defense. You can read the latest ILDMC newsletter here.
  • GPEDC is hosting another Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities meeting on Tuesday, March 14 at 3:30 at East Peoria City Hall with supply chain professionals and resources in the region. We will learn about the workforce programs the Association of Supply Chain Professionals offers and review the local workforce development programs available in the region. The meeting is open to the public. RSVP by emailing Lenora at lfisher@greaterpeoriaedc.org.
  • Next week our partners at Bradley’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship are celebrating “Small Business Development Center” Day. On March 15 they are hosting an open house from 4:30 – 6 pm at Peoria NEXT.
  • If you want a glimpse of tomorrow’s innovation, stop by the Big Idea Trade Show at Bradley University in the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center on March 23 between 11 am – 2 pm. Over 20 student groups will be pitching their ideas to attendees.
  • Staff Strategy Reports for February can be read here. Want to know how your investment dollars are spent? This is a great place to start.

For Andrew Rand and anyone else who got to the end of this, have a great weekend!