A few updates to end your week:
CEDS Annual Report: I probably don’t share enough about GPEDC’s role as a planning organization, but I’m really proud of the work we do in this area. Through our contract with the US Economic Development Administration (EDA), we write and manage the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). This five-year plan lays out the goals and strategies for improving the regional economy. As an economic development programming organization, we draw our work plan directly from the CEDS, but the CEDS covers a much wider range of areas, including tourism, housing, public health, and conservation. The plan is stewarded by a group of stakeholders representing the breadth of the plan itself. Every year, we write an annual report that catalogs the accomplishments of the previous year and outlines plans for the coming year. I invite you to take a look at our 2023 Annual Report here. We are halfway through the Big Table CEDS 2021-2025 and will start working on a new plan towards the end of next year.
Pekin Future Focus: Jeffrey was invited to attend the first “Future Focus” day of the school year at Pekin Community High School. Regional organizations had the opportunity to set up booths within different career fields to talk about the work we do, what kind of training and education is needed, and general pay information. Jeff loved talking to students about his work at GPEDC and about attracting, vetting, and developing individuals to meet the needs of businesses to create a prosperous, thriving community. There is a follow-up event in January where professionals can meet with small groups of students for a more in-depth Q&A, as well as job shadows and workplace tours. If you’re interested in joining that event, too, reach out to Jeffrey.
Bradley DIGIM: On the other side of the river, David helped DeMarcus “Marc Supreme” Hamilton and the YANI Collective host a unique college fair tailored to high school students. Based on DeMarcus’ book, Damn! I Graduate In May, the fair exposes students to a variety of industries, some of which do not require a college degree, and connects them with experienced industry professionals from across the country. Over 600 students from Manual, Central (Peoria), Richwoods, Quest, East Peoria, and Limestone high schools attended the fair at Bradley. The event included panel discussions by professionals from various sectors the opportunity to engage with Bob Robinson, a Peoria native and 3-time Grammy Award Winning producer, as well as B. Simone, a multi-faceted actress, host, comedian, author, and entrepreneur. David volunteered as one of the chaperones for the students and assisted in the preparation before the fair. He also served as one of the resource persons for the Government and Nonprofit track.
Just Transitions: Kathie had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC last week as part of Just Transition National Convening. Serving on the planning committee for this national and international event, she was able to see firsthand the important role philanthropy plans in addressing critical issues all across the globe. The Just Transition Fund was established in the spring of 2015 by the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Appalachia Funders Network with the support of six other foundation partners: Blue Moon Fund, the Chorus Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Their work focuses on supporting economic development in communities transitioning from coal. In the Midwest – Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and Ohio are all working with the Just Transition Fund.
AgTech Connect: Just another reminder that the next meeting of our AgTech Connect meetups will be November 7 from 3 – 5 p.m. at CSE Software (316 SW Washington, Peoria). These events create opportunities for farmers, agricultural service providers, innovators, and parts of the startup community to interact and learn from each other. You can RSVP here.
Have a great weekend.