November 01, 2022

Press Release: Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and Partners win a $5M Department of Defense Grant.


Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and Partners win a $5M Department of Defense Grant.

The Grant will support the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium to create a Center of Excellence.

Peoria, IL (November 1, 2022)— The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC) is pleased to announce that the US Department of Defense has awarded the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium (ILDMC) a five-year, $5 million grant through the department’s Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program.  The federal grant is supplemented by an additional $1.6 million in non-federal funds to support the project.  26 applications were received, two were ineligible, and 24 were competitively scored, resulting in six awards. 

GPEDC has served as a member of the Illinois Defense Network for over six years implementing key DoD programs and is excited to continue helping the local manufacturing industry and related businesses provide products and services that help keep America safe.  In addition to the traditional five counties served by GPEDC, the funding allows it to also serve businesses in the adjoining counties of McLean, Fulton, Marshall and Stark. The focus of the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium and this grant is to create a Center of Excellence Model for casting, forging, and energy storage manufacturers to enhance innovation and increase industrial capacity and to build a talent pipeline for advanced manufacturing and defense resiliency targeting underrepresented populations.

The Consortium, led by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois Chicago, includes the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development represented by Chicago Metro Metals Consortium, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center as partners. Together, these organizations represent 23 counties in Illinois and five counties in Iowa.

“Over 75% of the state’s defense manufacturing is concentrated in the state’s northern half. This region represents one of the nation’s most concentrated manufacturing bases for casting and forging and ranks first in the number of employees and businesses in this specialty. In Greater Peoria, we have great examples of this impact at Caterpillar’s Mapleton foundry and Cast Technologies. This grant allows GPEDC to support these companies, our region, and our partners through ongoing workforce development initiatives and by creating opportunities for innovation,” states Chris Setti, CEO of the GPEDC.

On average, $269 million worth of DOD sales were performed annually in the Greater Peoria region during the 2016-2020 period. This figure is 8% higher than the average for the 2013-2017 period ($249 million).

GPEDC’s goals tie into the Consortium’s Center of Excellence goals of strengthening supply chain productivity by introducing innovative technology and digital tools to stimulate market growth. To expand the skilled manufacturing talent pipeline, the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium will introduce manufacturing careers to high school students, promote employment in manufacturing for underrepresented communities and veterans, and facilitate retraining and employment of displaced workers.

About the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

(GPEDC) is a regional economic development organization covering the Greater Peoria area spanning five counties in central Illinois: Logan, Mason, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford. The GPEDC’s mission is to promote economic development in the region through its six core programs: Business Attraction, Business Assistance, Workforce Solutions, Innovation and Startups, Rural Development, and the development and promotion of a regional Manufacturing Network.

Press Contact


Chris Setti

CEO, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council


(309) 472-6291