Here are a few updates to end your week:
Congrats, Turner Center!: Sometimes you get to hear adulations of things you already know are true. It was a pleasure to be in the crowd gathered to see our great partners at Bradley University’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship receive the award for being the best Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Illinois. The award was presented by SBA Region V Administrator Geri Aglipay, herself a Bradley alumna, in a special ceremony at Bradley’s Convergence Center. We are proud to partner with the Turner Center on so many projects, from our Community Navigator program to Distillery Labs. Congratulations to Jim Foley, Eric Sampson, and the rest of the team at Bradley. You can read/watch a nice media recap here.
August Numbers Looking Good: Don’t listen to the local media – the local unemployment rate ticking up to 5.8% (from 5.4% in July) isn’t bad news. It’s the result of some pretty good August numbers. Labor force numbers (working + looking for work) jumped by nearly 2,000 individuals between July and August. About 1,150 of those folks found work, marking the third straight month of an increase in people reporting themselves as working. These are positive signs as people are jumping back into the labor pool because we know there are jobs to be had. On the jobs side, there was a modest increase in jobs with IDES showing 300 more jobs in the Peoria MSA in August than in July. Remember the “mystery” of the 1,600 job drop in “government” between June that was attributed to local educational jobs? Well, the August report shows an increase of 700 in that category. Summary chart below; more charts here.
Technical Working Group: One of the best things GPEDC does is convene a monthly meeting of the region’s community and economic development professionals for a networking and education session called Technical Working Group, or TWG. (OK, admittedly this is about the lamest name we could come up with but it predates me!) This month we had two great presentations. First, Dr. Mark White of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana hosted a conversation on rural vitality and how to improve rural communities. As part of his research, he is conducting a short survey that you can take here. Dr. White was followed by Lauren Gibson of DCEO who gave a great summary of all the grant and incentive programs that Illinois has created to help with business attraction, business expansion, COVID recovery, community vitality, and workforce development. Let me know if you want a copy of her slides.
Makers on the Move: October is Manufacturing Month and our friends at the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) are once again traveling the state in their “Makers on the Move” bus. On October 9 they will be making a stop in Peoria at GP Manufacturing Network member Peoria Production Solutions. It’s a great event and a good reminder of how important manufacturing is to Greater Peoria and Illinois. You can learn more and RSVP here.
Central Cyber 2023: Speaking of Manufacturing Network members, Pearl Technology will be hosting their annual cybersecurity symposium on October 18 from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria. You can barely turn on the news without hearing about a cyber attack against corporations large and small, nonprofit organizations, schools, and individuals. Speakers at this event include FBI Special Agent in Charge David Nanz, FBI Computer Scientist Justin Harris, and FBI Special Agent Kelly Hickman. The event also includes speakers who are industry experts from the private sector. Central Illinois Cyber 2023 is open to the public and is free. You can find out more and to register here.
Have a great weekend.