Regional Summit on Economic Development Opportunities Announced

February 21, 2013 02:22 PM
The city of Galesburg and the Entrepreneur, Business & Industry (EBI) Network will be inviting regional municipal officials and economic development partners to a Regional Summit on Economic Development. The summit is scheduled for Tuesday March 19th at Carl Sandburg College’s Business Technology Center (BTC), Building G. 
Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza announced, "We are reaching out directly to our neighboring municipalities to advance and strengthen the regional approach to economic development. We are looking to collaborate and partner with our neighboring communities to identify promising eligible projects at the local level and apply the necessary resources – both technical and financial assistance – to see these job creating projects to fruition. The EBI Network, a  collaboration between the city of Galesburg, Knox County and several partners, has the staff and resources to help assess challenges and opportunities, develop local programs, and apply resources from an EDA grant to help area businesses grow and ultimately create jobs. We can make these resources potentially available to regional businesses through our partnerships with our neighboring municipalities."
Galesburg City Manager Todd Thompson noted, "Our economic development team is busy preparing for the summit. With available EDA Grant funds per city council approval and various technical support programs, our partners will be able to go back to their communities with the resources they need to help their community retain, expand, create and attract business. Per the intent of the EDA grant, we are looking to share these resources because what’s good for the region is good for Galesburg, and what’s good for Galesburg is good for the region."
Mayor Garza added, "We are seeing positive traction in the region. Over the past three years we’ve been instrumental in providing assistance to the private sector in retaining and creating over 1100 jobs, numerous open job positions, and more on the horizon. BNSF announced they will continue to hire in 2013; various pending public & private development projects; as well several new prospects are encouraging, but we need to be more assertive and get the entire region more actively engaged. This summit will be a crucial step in fulfilling that goal."
The summit will allow municipal officials and economic development partners the opportunity to bring participants up to date on what’s happening in their communities, identify challenges and opportunities and discuss action plans to achieve economic development goals. Key participants in the region’s economic development, such as the Workforce Investment Board and Carl Sandburg College will also be attending to share their programs and initiatives to help boost the region’s economy. 
Dr. Lori Sundberg, President Carl Sandburg College said, "the College is prepared to be a key stakeholder in the proposed regional economic development summit. Steven Sager, Carl Sandburg College, Director, Business & Community Education added, "We want to be the regional employer’s first choice when considering training providers for their business and professional development needs." The college is refocusing its Business & Community Education programs on outreach and business education related courses and will be an important component in the proposed regional effort. 
Workforce Investment Office of Western Illinois Director Blanche Shoup added that her office will also participate in the regional efforts and said, "Several new initiatives are underway that should make additional training funds available to provide employers with skilled workers, and improve the quality of the existing workforce." Ms. Shoup will outline these initiatives at the March 19th summit.
Invitations will be sent out by the EBI Network. For further information contact Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director.   


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