Are You In?
The Greater Peoria EDC is coordinating dozens of initiatives. Why? Because building and strengthening an economy is like a puzzle. Each piece is critical to the next. You can't attract high quality companies without a talented workforce. You can't develop and retain talented people without a great quality of life and a good job. People can't get good jobs if they go into career paths that aren't in high demand. 

When a region aligns their systems, they can strike economic gold. Kids get degrees in fields that are in high demand and so can choose to stay in the region and have a great job. Businesses are able to secure the talented workforce they need and thus grow and thrive. Communities and citizens have dollars to reinvest in quality of life amenities and activities. And new businesses startup or are attracted to a region based on a hub of talent.

Alignment of our systems is well underway thanks to dozens of organizations that have come together to work on business assistance and expansion (Elevate GP), startups ( Startup Peoria), business attraction (GP Attraction) talent attraction ( Live GP), talent development ( GP Pathways), rural development (GP Rural), improved graduation rates ( Alignment Peoria), and improved health outcomes ( Partnership for a Healthy Community). The work is also led by metrics and best practices, helping groups identify the very best pathways to success.

And the best are invited to the party! In fact, everyone can play a role in building the region where we all want to live, work, and play. If there is an initiative above that you, your employer, or your organization can help with through volunteer hours, research, or funding, send me a note and we will find the perfect spot for you to plug in.

Working together we can put all of the puzzle pieces together to create one amazing GP. Are you in? Let's do this!

Jennifer Daly
Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

Join us for our first annual GP Talent Forecast to review the results from our labor projection survey.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Grand Ballroom, Gateway Building
200 NE Water Street, Peoria, IL

At the end of 2016, we circulated a detailed job projection survey to the top employers in our healthcare, manufacturing, professional technical services, agribusiness and logistics industries.  The results from the survey project over
9,000 jobs over the next 24 months among the 43 employers that responded.

Find out how our regional employers, educators and the community are working together to help our employers recruit and retain the skilled workforce they need to continue growing.

We will also share information on Greater Peoria Job Spark, one of the ways we are helping develop the future talent of the region.

Breakfast will be provided.   See you there!   Please register for the event HERE .

For more information, contact Kate Cundiff at

Getting Ready for Hannover! 
by Kim Uhlig, Director of Business Attraction
Next month, I will be heading to Hanover, Germany to promote Greater Peoria at the largest trade fair for industrial technology in the world, Hanover Messe.

The event attracts 250,000 visitors and over 6,500 exhibitors.

We are attending the show with the European American Investment Council (EAIC). This site consulting group works with industries throughout Europe who plan to make an investment in the United States.

EAIC is setting up one-on-one meetings for me with clients who have indicated they are planning to establish a new location in the United States within the next 24 months. I'm looking forward to securing as many site visits as I can for our region during the trip.  Read the full story here.

Learn more about out business attraction efforts by contacting Kim at
Calling All Startups - Win $10k for Your Big Idea!
Keystart is back and better than ever!  This year the program has evolved to include a three-week pre-accelerator that ends with the pitch competition where one entrepreneur will walk away with $10,000 to put toward their startup.

Startup GP's Keystart Pre-Accelerator is for first-time entrepreneurs who are ready to get started on their entrepreneurial journey. Entrepreneurs will learn tools and strategies for how to execute on their idea and gain an understanding of what the early development of a startup company looks like.

The application deadline for Keystart is March 31, so don't delay!
Apply and learn more about the pre-accelerator curriculum and schedule at

AFT President's Visit Highlights Pathways Work 
by Brent Baker, Peoria Pathways Coordinator
"You're doing the work we aspire to in education, the work we dream of in education," said Randi Weingarten, national president of the American Federation of Teachers, during a visit to Woodruff Career and Technical Center last week.  "People are now seeing high school can be a pipeline for well-skilled students going into well-paying jobs."

President Weingarten visited Peoria to champion the progress being made in the Peoria Pathways to Prosperity initiative.
Over the last year and a half, Peoria Pathways has sequenced 16 unique career pathways for Peoria Public Schools students.  In the last six months, 21 students have been placed in career-relevant internships at 10 unique employers, spanning 12 career clusters.
"Without the support of President Weingarten and the AFT, along with our teachers and other business partners, this initiative would not be possible," said Peoria mayor Jim Ardis.

It was a great opportunity to share our successes with AFT!   Watch a video recap of the visit:

To learn more about Peoria Pathways to Prosperity or to get your business involved in the Greater Peoria Works internship program, contact Brent Baker at

Mark your calendars for this year's GP Annual Meetup, the annual event for the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Warehouse on State
736 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL

Get up to speed on all things Team GP!  We will share all the work that has been accomplished over the last 12 months and our goals and projects for the future.  Save some room for food and refreshments!

Stay tuned for more details and registration info.
Young Business Owner Invests in First Expansion!
by Sally Hanley, Director of Business Assistance
Zimmerman Detailing and Power Wash recently invested $430,000 to expand into a brand new 7,500 square-foot facility in Goodfield, Illinois.  The company, offering detailing and power washing service for commercial vehicles, has grown steadily over the last six years since it was founded by Eureka native Alan Zimmerman - when he was only 14 years old!
Alan's original business plan was developed with a friend when they were in the fifth grade.  He launched the company during his freshman year of high school.
"I knew I wanted to build my own shop.  It was my dream," said Alan.  "I drew up a plan that looks like what we just built in Goodfield."

After five years of building his customer base, Alan looked toward expansion.  With the help of Goodfield State Bank he was able to secure the funding needed for the planned facility.  For equipment expenses, the Greater Peoria EDC assisted Alan with accessing Woodford County's revolving loan fund.   Read the full story here.

No matter the size or age of your business, your expansion matters to us and to the GP economy!  Please contact Sally Hanley for business assistance at

Travel Grant Connects GP Startups to Opportunities Around the World!
by Randon Gettys, Startup Peoria Coordinator
The Startup Travel Grant is off to a great start!  Our first two recipients are packing their bags for a couple business trips to help grow their new companies.   Unit Trac will be heading to Maine to visit with a potential customer base, and NEXMachine will be hopping the pond to pursue an opportunity in Prague!

Unit Trac is an app that streamlines rental unit management for storage facilities - created right here in GP!

The idea for the Startup Travel Grant came to me after I noticed a pattern of startups who were taking trips across the country to pursue business development opportunities - new customers, potential partners or suppliers. 

Travel can be painful for many reasons, so I asked a few founders if offsetting the cost of travel would be valuable to them. I thought I could help alleviate some of that pain. Believe it or not, they said yes! 

Congratulations to our first two local startups for being the first ever winners of the Startup Travel Grant!

Do You Have A Project That Could Help Our Regional Goals?
The Greater Peoria EDC will be scoring and prioritizing regional projects to submit to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for our Focus Forward Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) .  Projects that are included in this document become more eligible for federal funding. 
Projects should be led by a government or nonprofit agency and regional in nature. They should also be aligned to regional goals, supporting business development and job creation, workforce development and attraction, and the improvement of our regional quality of life.  

Project Submission Deadline: April 7, 2017 by Noon

Find more information and an application here. 

We Want to Thank These GPEDC Investors for their Support!

The Latest Headlines
National Teachers Union President Visits Peoria 

Peoria Promise application deadline extended to May 1

Peoria Minority Entrepreneurs Among First in State Development Program

State rep named economic VP at OSF HealthCare

Peoria's largest Downtown Hotel Expected to Reopen This Summer

SIU Clinic to Open in Lincoln

Shopping Local Has Tangible Effects
Mark Your Calendars
March 17 - Squishy Circuits - 4 p.m. Morton Public Library
March 22 - TCPIE Reverse Job Fair - 10:30 a.m. - Freedom Hall
March 23  - Leadership Morton - 8 a.m. - Midwest Food Bank
March 28 - Master Planning of Resources- 6 p.m. - Bradley University
March 31 - Keystart Application Deadline - Apply now!
April 4 - Starting a Business in Illinois - 3 p.m - NEXT Innovation Center
April 5 - 1 Million Cups - 8 a.m. - Jump Simulation
April 6 - GP Talent Forecast - 7:30 a.m. - Grand Ballroom at Gateway Building
April 13 - Women's Leadership Luncheon- 11:30 a.m. - Country Club of Peoria
April 18 Starting a Business in Illinois - 3 p.m. NEXT Innovation Center
May 10 - Save the Date! GP Annual Meetup - 3 p.m. - Warehouse on State
Mondays - 'One-Stop Shop' Business Assistance - 1:30 p.m. Peoria City Hall
Wednesdays-  Open Coworking   9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at The Nest
Track Our Progress
The Greater Peoria EDC has established a five year strategy and measurable goals as part of the Focus Forward Plan. We will be updating our investors and stakeholders each quarter on our progress in achieving the following goals by 2019:

25 interstate firm expansions/retentions by 2019, as measured by our clients
1,000 new high quality jobs created/retained by 2019, as measured by our clients.
T hrough Q4 2016: 23 business expansions, 141 jobs created  

30 new companies created by 2019, as measured by Startup Peoria clients
150 new high-quality jobs created by 2019, as measured by Startup Peoria clients.
Through Q4 2016: 21 startups launched, 27 jobs created

10 new interstate firm locations by 2019, as measured by our clients
750 new high-quality jobs created by 2019, as measured by our clients.
Through Q4 2016: 4 business locations, 130 jobs created  

50% increase in capture rate in targeted jobs by 2019, as measured by our clients
50 apprentices transitioned to full-time employment in our region, as measured by our clients.
Through Q4 2016: 2,125 student career experiences, 12 high school internship placements, 6 apprenticeships filled

30% increase in new hire capture rate, as measured by our clients.
20% improvement in employee retention rate by 2019, as measured by our clients.
Through Q4 2016: 235 newcomers presentation attendees, 2,379 users, 1,612Live GP postcards distributed 

Look for our full quarterly progress reports in our e-Newsletters and on our website!