September 16, 2022

GPEDC Weekend Update- September 16, 2022

Some GPEDC updates to end your week:

DCEO Planning Grant: This week GPEDC learned that it was awarded a $150,000 Illinois Research in Illinois to Spur Economic Recovery (RISE) planning grant. A total of 42 organizations split $3.5 million in RISE grant awards. GPEDC will be using its grant to conduct a workforce and labor shed study for the region. The results of the study will help inform regional workforce development strategies by studying employment and commuter patterns, identifying skills gaps, define short term needs and long term trends, and inform business attraction strategies. We will be preparing and issuing a Request for Proposal to solicit a firm to conduct this research and would hope to have the results in early 2023. You can read the grant narrative here.

Defense News: For the last few years, GPEDC has been part of the Illinois Defense Network, a collaborative effort that joins the forces of groups like ours in Chicago, Rockford and the Quad Cities. Organized by the University of Illinois Chicago, and with a sixth partner in the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), the Network has worked to better align our manufacturers and support companies with Department of Defense priorities and needs. The next step for the Network was to apply to the Defense Department for designation as a “Defense Manufacturing Community.” On August 16, 2022, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Dr. William A. LaPlante, made six such designations across the country, including our group in Illinois. The designation is more than just a name – our Network has developed and submitted a request for $5 million in funding over the next five years that will be split among the partners to help in areas such as workforce development, procurement, and modernization. We hope to get positive news about the grant award soon. More here.

Big Check: GPEDC was invited to the Ag Lab last Friday where some of the scientists and research leaders met with Representatives LaHood and Bustos and Mayor Ali to discuss how their new research greenhouse would impact crop resiliency in the face of climate change. The greenhouse is being made possible by a $4.5 million appropriation that was jointly requested by both Congresspeople. The request was prepared and submitted by GPEDC. After the roundtable, Reps. Bustos and LaHood, Mayor Ali and Peoria County Farm Bureau Executive Director Patrick Kirchhofer went across the street to a press conference held at the Farm Bureau. Because federal employees are not allowed to participate in events that could be construed as political in nature, I was asked to accept the “big check” on their behalf. (I actually snuck the check back across the street and left it in the AgLab lobby – no idea what they did with it.) This has been a fun project to be involved in, and I’m excited to see the greenhouse under construction, hopefully next summer. Some media coverage here.

Supply Chain Gathering: Just a reminder that GPEDC is hosting a gathering of local supply chain and procurement professionals to discuss common issues and challenges and have a chance to network with each other. The meeting is on September 20 from 3-5 pm at the Growmark Tank and Truck Center (240 Ashland, Morton). The event will include presentations from folks at OSF Healthcare System, Caterpillar, Morton Industries, Bradley’s Supply Chain Management Institute, and regional support organizations. More information and registration here.

Don’t Forget: Other cool things happening soon. Check out the Distillery Labs Startup Showcase on September 21. Sign up to be a CareerSpark volunteer for either October 5 or 6. Join us at the Big Table on October 20 (and sign up to be a table facilitator).

Have a great weekend.

Chris