February 17, 2021


While frigid temperatures and snowfall forecasts are dominating the news this week, other recent headlines have continued to communicate the positive things happening across Southwestern Illinois. We’re pleased to share the highlights in this edition of Good NewsLink, which includes coverage of workforce development initiatives and investments being made in various sectors in the Metro East.

The Leadership Council continues to host Southwestern Illinois Communities Broadband Summits for elected officials and educators, providing information and future direction on strategic broadband planning and setting regional project priorities for broadband connectivity. As part of this outreach, we are still distributing broadband surveys to secure input that will help our strategic regional planning for the Southwestern Illinois Connected Communities cohort. These efforts are aimed at building awareness of connectivity challenges, advocating for enhanced connectivity with state and federal legislators and related companies and more. The goal is to enable digital literacy and readiness activities for all residents with an emphasis on underserved communities, and we would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to George Evans, Chair of Education Committee, and Susan Schultz, Vice Chair, for all of their hard work to make this project possible. If your organization would be interested in a presentation on this important topic, we’d be happy to accommodate requests. Also, businesses and organizations that haven’t yet completed the survey can do so at, and individuals can complete the survey at

The Leadership Council Education Committee’s ongoing partnership with PCs for People is continuing to equip those in great need with home computers. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, PCs for People distributes refurbished corporate computers updated to Windows 10, with very low-cost, unlimited internet access for students, underserved populations, the elderly and veterans. They have successfully connected over 450,000 people to internet and computing devices in cities across the U.S. and now they have set up a retail and warehouse space in Belleville. We welcome them to Southwestern Illinois and the St. Louis region. This location will be able to coordinate computer donations and serves as a place underserved citizens and students can select computers. The State of Illinois Office of Broadband has committed to facilitate the donation of 10,000 computers to PCs for People Metro East, but they have set a goal of sourcing a total of 25,000 computers in their first year in order to meet the significant need in our community. Though great work is being done, even more PCs will need to be donated to bridge the gap. For more information and to learn how you can help us achieve this goal, contact our office at 618-692-9745.

Our Expert Wednesday series also continues to deliver great content for local businesses. If you would like to receive recordings from the series or if your business would be interested in presenting, please email

Read on for more on the developments underway across the region and stay warm!

Dr. Ronda Sauget
Ronda Sauget, D. Mgmt, MBA
Executive Director and CEO
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
104 Magnolia Drive, Ste B
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Metro East to play role in state’s supply-chain training initiative 
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/13/2021) 
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity says a new training program is designed to prepare more residents for roles in Illinois’ growing supply chain management industry. (Read More)

House votes to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs 
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/07/2021) 
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed H.R. 447, the National Apprenticeship Act, which would create nearly 1 million additional apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years. (Read More)

Riechmann Bros., Poettker to break ground on John Deere dealership 
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/10/2021) 
The Riechmann Bros., a family-owned, multigenerational John Deere dealership, is set to break ground on a new John Deere dealership location in Breese. Poettker Construction Co. is serving as the design-build contractor for the 15-acre development, which begins in February. (Read More)

Holland Construction Renovating Historic Downtown Belleville Building 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 02/09/2021) 
A 90-year-old building in downtown Belleville that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is being transformed into loft living by Holland Construction Services. (Read More)

Lindenwood campus continues to look for buyer 
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2021 Issue, Page 1) 
The broker tasked with finding a buyer for the idle Lindenwood University campus in Belleville said the uniqueness of the property is drawing interest, but no deals are imminent. (Read More)

Construction continues at Hartman Lakes development in Shiloh 
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2021 Issue, Page 3) 
Construction continues on Darrell Shelton’s Hartman Lakes development on the northwest corner of Hartman Lakes and Frank Scott Parkway (Thouvenot Lane) in Shiloh. (Read More)

IMPACT Strategies breaks ground on new 50 West Office Building 
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2021 Issue, Page 3) 
IMPACT Strategies recently broke ground in the 50 West Office Building in O’Fallon, Ill., a Class A office building near the new HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. (Read More)
PCs for People help get computers in the homes of those who truly need them!

Distributes refurbished corporate computers updated to Windows 10, with very low-cost, unlimited internet access for students, underserved populations, elderly, and veterans.

They have connected over 450,000 people to internet and computing devices. The State of Illinois Office of Broadband has committed to facilitate the donation of 10,000 computers to PCs for People Metro East, but they have set a goal of sourcing a total of 25,000 computers in their first year in order to meet the significant need in our community, and they need our help to meet that goal.

PCs for People is NAID AAA certified to wipe clean all data off computers and recertify them for reuse

PC donations needed!!  

If you would like more information about how to donate computers, please contact the Leadership Council office at 618-692-9745 or
PCs for People trying to address region's technology needs
(Advantage News, 02/16/2021)
The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Education Committee has partnered with a nonprofit new to the Southwestern Illinois Region, PCs for People, a 501(c)3, that helps get computers in the homes of those who need them. (Read More)

Louer Facility Planning features 6 projects of 2020 
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2021 Issue, Page 9) 
Louer Facility Planning Inc. is celebrating the completion of six signature interiors projects during 2020. (Read More)

Village plans to reopen Miner Park by April 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 02/12/2021) 
GLEN CARBON — Bids for the Miner Park stream bank stabilization project were opened Feb. 5 but if village officials want to open the park by April 1, they’re in a race that Father Time, with some help from Mother Nature, usually wins. (Read More)

Citizens for Modern Transit Looks to the Future of Public Transportation  
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 02/10/2021) 
Despite unprecedented challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, public transit remains an essential component of the St. Louis region’s transportation system. (Read More)

United Way awards grants aimed at bridging digital divide 
(Advantage News, 02/05/2021) 
United Way of Greater St. Louis has awarded 10 grants totaling $46,914 to nonprofits, community agencies and faith-based organizations working to bridge the digital divide in the St. Louis region. (Read More)

SIUE moves to bolster online master’s programs in School of Education 
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/15/2021) 
The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees this month agreed to amend an existing contract with Academic Partnerships LLC to add three SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior online graduate programs. (Read More)

SIUE’s Brown cited for leadership among women in higher ed 
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/05/2021) 
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Venessa A. Brown, PhD, has been recognized by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine as one of 25 women who have a made a difference in higher education. (Read More)
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