May 03, 2024

GPEDC Weekend Update- May 3, 2024

Here are some updates to end your week. 

Greenville: I attended the last of my three site selector conferences this week and knocked the last -Ville off my list at the NextGen Talk in Greenville, SC (the two previous conferences were in Louisville and Nashville). This is a purposely smaller conference that allows for better networking opportunities with site selectors and among peers in the economic development community (in some ways, more valuable than the site selection connections). I particularly liked the educational sessions at this conference. Some takeaways: As the US elections draw nearer, industrial expansion is slowing as decision makers pause to understand the risk of whatever outcome happens. The higher interest rate borrowing market is impacting business decisions just like they are the housing market. The availability of the proper load of electricity is beginning to trump all other location decisions, including labor issues. And local economic developers should focus more on smaller industrial sites of 25 – 75 acres than so-called “megasites” of 500+ acres. No traveling for me for the next few months, but looking forward to putting some of the knowledge gained to work.

Precision Planting and ASCM: The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) is the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation, innovation and leadership. Lincoln Land ASCM is actively connecting companies throughout the Greater Peoria region to the newest thought leadership on all aspects of the supply chain.  Sally and Kathie participated in our local chapter’s networking and learning event at Precision Planting on April 23.  ASCM plays an important role in building a learning community among professionals to elevate end-to-end supply chain excellence, innovation, and resilience. Precision Planting’s new global warehouse and distribution center demonstrated the latest use of robots and technology in supply chain management. Additional programs supported through the Lincoln Land ASCM Chapter include APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designations. See more pictures of the event here.

Rural High School Visits: Our rural communities are such a vital component of our overall regional economic opportunities.  During the last couple of weeks, Kathie, Jeff and Sarah have been visiting our rural schools to learn more about the career and technical education programs that are thriving in Illini Bluffs in Glasford, Illini Central in Mason City, and Delavan in Tazewell County Educational institutions play a vital role in developing a skilled workforce for the future by offering targeted programs in areas like food science, agricultural engineering, biotechnology, and supply chain management. These programs can equip the local workforce with the necessary skills to thrive in value-added manufacturing roles. 

Broadband Breakthrough: Logan County recently completed two significant milestones in strengthening broadband infrastructure as they completed a 16 week Broadband Breakthrough Program and received a $6.8 million Connect Illinois grant award.  Kathie worked with local leaders to facilitate local planning efforts through the Broadband Breakthrough Program which was designed by Benton Institute with support from Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Office of Broadband, University of Illinois, and Illinois State University.  The planning process has been a valuable tool in building critical relationships with private Internet Service Providers, who can further extend the reach of the Logan County Connect Illinois Grant to build “middle mile” fiber into rural Logan County.  

SkillsUSA: Last weekend, SkillsUSA Illinois hosted the state finals at the Peoria Civic Center, an event that brought together thousands of outstanding career and technical education (CTE) students to compete hands-on in 100 different trade, technical, and leadership fields. Students work against the clock – and each other – proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, mechatronics, additive manufacturing, welding, CNC programming, medical assisting, and more. This event is a great asset to Peoria, not only due to the size of the crowd that descends on the Peoria Civic Center but also for the proximity to many excellent employers, a large number within walking distance of the event. This is a great opportunity for employers to meet with the best students from CTE programs and the SkillsUSA program under one roof; and connect with them for employment opportunities that don’t require two or four more years of formal education to earn a college degree. The GPEDC team toured the event on Friday along with many local employers and educators to witness the high energy and skills of the students. In our tour, we met with several students from Greater Peoria and learned how much this competition means to them, as well as how it serves to give real-world experience and benchmarks for growth.

Economic Development Week: I know your calendars are already marked, but just in case here is a reminder that May 6 – 10 is Economic Development Week. Be on the lookout for highlights of GPEDC’s work and those of our partners on our social media channels all next week.

Have a great weekend.