Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Employment Report Quick Peek: Late yesterday the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) released January 2023 employment and jobs data. (The January report is always delayed by a month; February numbers will be out in two weeks.) I didn’t have time to do a deeper dive into the numbers, but thought I would share this sentence from the press release: “The metro areas which had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Peoria MSA (4.2%, +6,900), the Springfield MSA (+3.6%, +3,800) and the Rockford MSA (+3.5%, +4,900). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago Metropolitan Division were up +2.7% or +99,300.” That sounds like good news. The January 2023 unemployment rate was an even 5%. I’ll have more next week.
Three-Year Anniversary: On March 20, 2020, I made my first appearance on 1470 WMBD’s Greg & Dan Show. Greg Batton had asked me if I could come on the air (via phone, of course) to discuss COVID’s impact on the business community. Nearly every week since then I have had a great opportunity to connect to a pretty wide audience, first to talk about COVID, then to talk about relief programs and assistance, and most recently to just shine a light on the great things happening in Greater Peoria. This coming Monday at 7:40 am we will take a look back at these past three years. My thanks to Greg and Dan for giving me this forum to help and inform.
GPMN Meeting: Thank you to Morton Industries for hosting our Greater Peoria Manufacturing Network meeting on Thursday. We had our largest crowd to date with over 25 people in attendance. Chris Ober gave a nice history and overview of this fast-growing company that now has over 750 employees in three different states. Christy Johns of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) gave an update on some really great programs to help manufacturing companies with everything from recruiting to cybersecurity. Kari gave a brief update on our workforce programs. The main event, however, was a presentation by Mark Denzler, the CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA). GPEDC is a member of IMA, a powerful state organization that does incredible work on behalf of Illinois’ most important economic sector. Mark outlined IMA’s legislative agenda as well as some of their efforts in promoting manufacturing careers.
Supply Chain Wrap Up: One of the biggest challenges identified at the Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities Roundtable in 2022 was the workforce shortage and the lack of professional development opportunities for supply chain professionals in the area. To follow up on those comments, GPEDC staff coordinated with the Association of Supply Chain Managers and other resource partners to identify programs of relevance to this audience. This Tuesday Lenora convened a group of 24 business and resource partners to learn about the ASCM and how their association supports supply chain managers around the world. Kari also presented information on the local workforce development programs to address employer needs. If there is interest in a professional ASCM chapter, please contact Lenora to learn more.
New Board Members: An active and informed board of directors is vital to every nonprofit organization, and GPEDC is blessed to have one of the best boards in Central Illinois. Over the past few months, we have added some great talent to the board to help guide the organization over the coming years. In January, Kyle Smith and Beth Kavelman joined the board. Kyle is the Senior Operations Manager for the Western Division of Illinois American Water covering areas like Peoria and Pekin. Beth is the Economic Development Coordinator and zoning officer for Logan County. In February, Jimmy Dillon, the chairman of the Peoria County Board, joined the board. And this past month, the board appointed Tommy Arbuckle, the managing partner of AFE Construction. We are looking forward to working with all four new board members.
A tip of the cap to Brian Ray of PNC Bank for reading this whole thing. For him and all of you, have a great weekend!