Employers in our region face challenges like unfilled job openings and upskilling employees. We conducted a survey a year ago, and now we’re launching a pilot program to address these needs in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce. Kim Kuchenbrod, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Talent Pipeline Management Fellow, will lead efforts in healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation/distribution industries. Don’t miss our upcoming workshop on Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) and sector partnership development.

Peoria, Illinois, August 31, 2023— The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (HIRPD) recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Illinois Waterway (ILWW) Ports Commission, a crucial gathering following the enactment of the Illinois Waterway Ports Commission Act.

The ILWW Ports Commission, among the top 25 bulk cargo ports in the U.S., has seen a 13% increase in annual freight tonnage. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has committed approximately $1 million to develop port master plans within the ILWW Ports Commission area.

The meeting focused on collaboration and growth for ILWW Ports, emphasizing their importance in the region’s economic development. Dr. Anshu Singh, Director of Sustainability at HIRPD, and Sally Hanley, Director of Business Assistance at the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, both highlighted the significance of working cohesively.

HIRPD plays a crucial role as the lead coordinating port for the newly formed Illinois Waterway Ports Commission, contributing to the region’s economic growth and development.

October is a special month in Greater Peoria, Illinois, as it marks Manufacturing Month. Our region has a rich manufacturing heritage, with one in ten residents employed in this sector. A recent report showed that manufacturing contributes a remarkable 31% to our local GDP, amounting to a staggering $4.1 billion.

While we’re known for heavy machinery manufacturing, we make a diverse range of products that impact daily life. From sunglasses to canned pumpkin, our manufacturing prowess extends to items you might not expect. These products aren’t just for our community; they’re shipped nationwide and even globally, bringing economic growth and job opportunities.

Manufacturing is the foundation of our economy, and this month is a reminder to celebrate and support our local makers. Happy Manufacturing Month!

Central Illinois has become a hub for technological innovation, particularly in bioprocessing, thanks to its designation as a “TechHub” by the US Economic Development Administration. At the heart of this development is the Central Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Hub at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, focusing on precision fermentation—a technology with a projected global market worth $11.8 billion by 2028.

Greater Peoria, strategically located near abundant farm resources and extensive bioprocessing production, is set to benefit from these advancements despite TechHub being 90 miles away.

The region already houses major ethanol producers, innovative companies like Natural Fiber Welding, and significant players in bioprocessing, including Alto Ingredients.

A recent visit to Alto Ingredients in Pekin highlighted the region’s role in this sector, showcasing its readiness to capitalize on TechHub initiatives.Greater Peoria is poised to lead in the bioprocessing and technological innovation sector, leveraging its strategic location and existing industrial landscape to shape a sustainable and innovative future.

Peoria, Illinois, is a crucial hub for national defense, hosting the Peoria Air Force Guard base and the Illinois Army National Guard’s aviation facilities. The recent addition of advanced C-130J Hercules aircraft underscores its military importance. This dual-use airport supports over 2,400 jobs and injected $74.4 million into the local economy in FY 2022, with defense contracts totaling $161.7 million. It’s a story of resilience, innovation, and economic synergy, where security and prosperity go hand in hand. Explore Peoria’s role in national defense and its economic impact in our detailed blog post.

Broadwing Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Warwick Carbon Solutions, has signed an agreement to create a pioneering power and steam facility aimed at capturing more than 90% of CO2 emissions. This facility will combine CO2 removal technology with ADM’s permanent carbon storage wells. Originally announced in 2021, the project’s scope has expanded, with Warwick planning to build and operate a natural gas power plant providing electricity and steam to ADM’s Decatur processing operations. CO2 emissions will be captured and stored underground using ADM’s CCS capabilities, aiming for an efficiency of over 90% and the potential to sequester more than 2 million tons of CO2 annually. The project is viewed as a model for decarbonization efforts and could create numerous jobs during construction and operation. Warwick Carbon Solutions specializes in decarbonization projects and is committed to sustainable infrastructure development.

Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), a farmer-owned dairy co-op known for its popular ice cream brand, has exciting plans for Decatur, Illinois. They intend to open a new ice cream manufacturing facility in Decatur by late 2024. This facility will be TCCA’s first outside of Oregon and will be solely dedicated to ice cream production. The company will invest in updating the previously-owned Prairie Farms plant, which closed in early 2022, to meet its stringent quality standards. The goal is to start full ice cream production in October 2024.

What’s even more promising for Decatur is that this project is expected to create approximately 45 new jobs in the local community. Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe is enthusiastic about this development, emphasizing its positive impact on the local economy, especially along the MLK corridor. The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County President, Nicole Bateman, believes that TCCA’s choice of Decatur for expansion is a testament to the city’s strong business climate, affordable utilities, and strategic location, providing access to a large customer base in the Midwest.

Illinois is front and center in the Biden-Harris administration’s Tech Hubs program, a groundbreaking initiative to drive innovation and job creation. As part of this program, Illinois will focus on industries like quantum computing, biotechnology, clean energy, and more, positioning the state at the forefront of technological advancements.

The Department of Commerce has also granted Strategy Development Grants (SDG) to support local planning efforts and enhance Illinois’ competitiveness for future Tech Hubs funding. The Tech Hubs program promises to rejuvenate Illinois’ economy, create high-quality jobs, and strengthen the state’s position in the technology sector. This initiative is a significant step towards a more innovative and competitive future for Illinois.

Decatur, Illinois, takes center stage as Rising Pharmaceuticals, also known as Rising Pharma Holdings Inc., unveils its new commercial manufacturing facility spanning an impressive 230,000 square feet. This facility is dedicated to the production of sterile products, addressing critical pharmaceutical supply shortages in the United States.

Decatur, a vital part of this expansion, stands to benefit significantly from the economic growth and job creation brought about by Rising Pharmaceuticals. The facility has been an integral part of the Decatur community since 1952, and Rising Pharmaceuticals is committed to further enhancing its positive impact.

Decatur, Illinois, is witnessing a sustainable transformation as InnovaFeed invests $250 million in a pioneering insect protein facility near an ADM plant. With an innovative “industrial symbiosis model,” it maximizes waste use, reflecting Decatur’s growing importance as a hub for sustainable industries.

This project isn’t just eco-friendly; it’s economically impactful. It’s set to create 280 direct jobs and many indirect ones, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.

InnovaFeed aims to feed 10 billion people by 2050, and the Decatur plant, the world’s largest insect protein facility, is a vital step in that direction. Opening in late 2023 or early 2024, it symbolizes Decatur’s journey towards sustainable growth.