Some GPEDC updates to end your week:
OSF Ministry HQ Tour: Every month, our network of local economic and community development partners gather as the lamely-named “Technical Working Group.” The meeting is an opportunity to share resources, learn about new programs, and network with each other. This month we had a field trip of sorts: The group met at OSF’s Ministry Headquarters in downtown Peoria. About 25 of us got to listen to CEO Bob Sehring talk about OSF’s investments in our region and continued commitment to providing world class health care. GPEDC board member (and alum) Ryan Spain then took us on a tour of the amazing renovation and historic restoration of this iconic building that is a new anchor of downtown. They even fed us lunch, which probably means the group will keep expecting such fine treatment each month. My thanks to Bob, Ryan and OSF for their generosity.
August Jobs and Employment: The August employment and job numbers came out late last week. On the employment side, we saw modest declines between July and August in the labor force (-1,641) and employed persons (-1,494). Oddly, we also saw a small decrease (-147) in the number of unemployed people. The unemployment rate remained 4.9%. On the jobs side, there was a different story. The Peoria MSA saw a jump of +1,500 jobs between July and August. The table shows the big increase is due to +900 “government jobs” (which doesn’t completely make sense to me) and more modest gains in “education and health services” (+300) and “professional and business services” (+200). More information here.
Entrepreneurship in Havana: Andrew and Kathie worked with stakeholders in Havana in Mason County to support entrepreneurship. They are working with Mashup Lab, a Canadian accelerator that focuses on small business development in rural areas. The free, seven day program is completely on-line and includes tools and resources, group check-ins and mentoring. Up to 10 businesses or entrepreneurs will be able to enroll. This is a great partnership between GPEDC, Distillery Labs, the Havana Chamber of Commerce and Spoon River College. More information here.
Digital Literacy: More than 20 K-5 teachers, librarians and tech coaches from Greater Peoria school districts in Logan, Mason, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties participated in a half day hybrid professional development opportunity on September 21 at Bradley University. The workshop was designed to build regional capacity around Digital Literacy. The training was made possible through Heartland Forward funding and the generous support of Discovery Partners Institute Tech Talent Institute, Illinois Digital Educators Alliance, Computer Science Teacher Association, Bradley University and Greater Peoria EDC.
Cypriot Innovation: Dr. Alex Charalambides, Associate Professor from the Cyprus University of Technology, visited Peoria this week and shared insights on the learnings he observed when standing up Cyprus’ first CleanTech accelerator. This week, he was a visiting lecturer at Bradley, where he presented to engineering as well as liberal arts and science classes and also was interviewed on WCBU, Peoria’s NPR radio station, which you can read and listen to here. He is currently a Fulbright Research Fellow at Purdue Research Center in West Lafayette, Indiana. You can catch the video of his presentation here.
Have a great weekend.