It was great to see so many of you at yesterday’s Thanksgiving Luncheon. Congratulations and thank you to the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce for putting on such a great event. As always, some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Peoria Bio-Made Director: In a surprisingly lightly covered news event, Peoria Bio-Made announced that Vivian Standifird has been named as the first Executive Director of Peoria Bio-Made. Made possible with a grant from the Gilmore Foundation, Vivian will work part-time to put into action the work of the steering committee that has been working on this project for over a year. WCBU did a nice Q&A with Vivian. And Jake Becraft was interviewed on the Greg & Dan Show last week, followed up by a discussion with me this past Monday.
Peoria NEXT: Congratulations to our Bradley University partners at Peoria NEXT for a great pair of announcements on Wednesday. First, existing tenant Midwest Bioprocessing Center was awarded a federal research grant that will allow their expansion in Peoria. Second, Veloxity Labs, a startup founded by Dr. Shane Needham of Moscow, Idaho, will become a tenant of the incubator starting in January 2022. WHOI had a good story on the event, including this powerful quote from Dr. Needham on why people love Greater Peoria: “They want a quality of life like Peoria affords. They want affordable housing, they want a low cost to do business. They want to take their kids to a soccer game at 3:00 and still go back to work at 4:00. That’s the quality of life that [you] have in Peoria.”
IT Summit. This Tuesday, the GPEDC and other partner organizations invited employers with needs for a workforce with information technology skills to a meeting hosted by Illinois Central College in order to identify skills and competencies needed in the workforce in preparation for an application to the Good Jobs Challenge. The Good Jobs Challenge is a grant from the US Economic Development Administration to build training infrastructure and workforce pipelines for high demand jobs. The Regional Workforce Alliance and GPEDC plan to leverage the momentum from this gathering to invite IT employers to participate in an ongoing collaborative following the Talent Pipeline Management methodology (a best practice from the US Chamber of Commerce) to analyze talent flows, build talent supply chains, and continuously improve that IT talent pipeline here in Greater Peoria. ICC followed up by sending out a survey to collect data about which training programs are needed here in the region. If you have IT talent (or are looking for talent), please play an active role in developing our regional talent pipeline and communicate your hiring needs by filling it out here. We also did a recap of the summit which you can read here.
Making Connections: One of the core functions at GPEDC is our business outreach efforts. When we visit with our companies, we are always looking at learning about the challenges and opportunities and connecting them to regional resources. That’s exactly what happened when Sally and Linda visited Inland Tool, a Greater Peoria Manufacturing Network Member in Mt. Pulaski. After learning about their new product, The Doorbell Guard, Sally referred them to the Bradley Small Business Development Center to apply for a Senior Consulting Project. They will learn soon if their project has been selected. There is still time for your company to apply for a Bradley Senior Consulting Project. Just follow the link.
We are closed next Thursday and Friday, so no Weekend Update next week. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving — we have much for which to be thankful.