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.