Here are a few updates to end your week:
EDA Grant: GPEDC was notified that we have been awarded a $20,000 Planning and Local Technical Assistance grant from the US Economic Development Administration. This grant, matched with $20,000 from GPEDC’s Board of Directors from our strategic reserve funds, will allow us to hire a consultant to conduct a “Targeted Industry Analysis.” The consultant will examine the strengths of Greater Peoria and match up those assets with growing industry areas in an effort to better inform our business attraction and assistance strategies. The study will also include a “peer analysis” which will compare our assets and opportunities with similar geographies who are competitive within the selected industries. EDA continues to be an amazing partner to GPEDC and Greater Peoria. The work should get underway before the end of the year.
Andrew in CT: It is great when our staff are valued for their expertise by people well outside of our region. Andrew had the privilege to serve as a judge for HackCT‘s inaugural Transportation Hackathon in Eastern Connecticut. This impactful three-day event attracted participants from diverse locations, including NYC, Hartford, other parts of the country, and even as far as Vancouver, Canada. They gathered to address the pressing transportation challenges in Northeastern Connecticut, especially in areas like Windham County where transportation is a significant barrier to essential services. Through their collaborative efforts, six notable strategies were proposed. These solutions leveraged data analytics, artificial intelligence, and adapted traditional bartering systems to incentivize community members to offer rides. The event also allowed Andrew to connect with startups and other partners and discuss opportunities back home in Greater Peoria.
David in TX: Speaking of national pull, David was in Dallas last week attending the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference. Conferences always provide opportunities for networking, learning, and showcasing our own region. For the second year in a row, David was asked by IEDC to be a presenter, this year moderating a panel discussion focused on “The Benefits of the Metaverse and Emerging Technologies.” The panelists were Jacob Choi, the Regional Assistant Director of the Texas Regional Office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Corey Clark, Ph.D. Chief Technology Officer of BALANCED Media | Technology; Dave Copps, CEO of Worlds (A Machine Learning Company); and Romelia Flores, an IBM Distinguished Engineer & Master Inventor. David worked with the panelists to set up the session, prepare the format of the discussions, and successfully moderated it. It sparked a lot of interest, and attendants asked for a follow-up next year. David is also working with IEDC to plan more marketing and communications-oriented sessions for future conferences.
Career Spark: It’s almost here! Over two days next week (Thursday and Friday), about 4,000 eighth-grade students from across the region will be exploring dozens of career pathways at the Peoria Civic Center. Career Spark is one of our region’s signature workforce development programs. Would you like to see it firsthand? GPEDC and our partners at Junior Achievement will be hosting VIP tours on both September 28 and 29. Just drop me a note and we will get you hooked up.
Have a great weekend.