Since 1964, the mission of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation has remained the same – to create, expand, recruit and retain job opportunities for Morgan and Scott counties.
The JREDC will, in accordance with the Regional Economic Development Plan for Morgan and Scott Counties, continue our mission through:
- Business Attraction: Work with public and private sector partners to market available sites and buildings to attract new investment to the region.
- Business Creation: Assist partners to encourage and support start-ups and emerging businesses so more will survive and grow locally within the region.
- Business Retention/Expansion: Expand our business retention and expansion program, with assistance from our allies, to reach out to every large employer and many smaller ones at least once per year.
- Workforce Development: Collaborate with the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce to implement a new workforce development approach – or talent pipeline management – to meet the needs of today’s changing business environment.
Goals, Strategies and Plan of Work
Goal #1: Improve the Region’s Quality of Place
The JREDC supports revitalization efforts of the vibrant downtowns in our region. We have and will continue to promote and volunteer at community events throughout the region. Marketing our region’s reliable public infrastructure; variety of recreational and entertainment amenities; affordable housing and quality education; and availability and access to quality healthcare is critical in our efforts to attract new businesses to the region. The new JREDC website will help us market our regions quality of place, adding to our current marketing efforts in traditional and social media platforms. We understand high-speed broadband is essential for the development of industry, and we are involved in conversations with local leaders and providers to ensure our region’s industry has the broadband service expected in today’s economy.
Goal #2: Create an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
The JREDC continues to promote the Morgan-Scott CEO Program, and remains engaged with these young entrepreneurs as they develop businesses that positively impact our region. In the last year, we collaborated with Jacksonville Main Street to apply for funding to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem that could include a business incubator, co-working space, maker’s space and resource center. While the grant bid was unsuccessful, we continue to look for more resources to fund this exciting endeavor that will encourage entrepreneurism in our region.
Goal #3 Strengthen the Region’s Workforce
In collaboration with the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, the JREDC is developing a plan to implement Talent Pipeline Management initiatives. In the past year we have met regularly with Lincoln Land Community College and leading manufacturers to imagine a program that engages high school upperclassman in manufacturing coursework. While we continue those conversations, we anticipate opportunities to move workforce development forward through the local Healthy Communities Collaborative. Our workgroup has the potential to give JREDC, the Jacksonville Chamber and Jacksonville School District #117 an opportunity to pilot a seminar series featuring local industry leaders at Jacksonville High School in the next academic year. In addition, the employment board on our new website can serve as a one-stop shop for our workforce to learn of available positions in our region.
Goal #4: Help Existing Businesses Expand and Grow
A great investment in time and resources paid off with the announcement last fall that our new Jacksonville Regional Enterprise Zone was approved by the State of Illinois. Incentives through sales tax and property tax abatements to qualified projects have already assisted our region’s current businesses, and a powerful resource to recruit new industry to areas within our new Enterprise Zone.
Goal #5: Develop Available Properties in the Region
JREDC’s new website allows us to easily market available properties in Morgan and Scott counties. In addition to our Enterprise Zone tax abatement incentives, we have been working to educate our community and business leaders about the Jacksonville Opportunity Zone incentive. Recent newspaper and radio stories and a “lunch and learn” event, have helped educate local investors and developers Opportunity Zone benefits.
Goal #6: Constructively Engage Community Based Organizations
The JREDC also made great strides in the last year to engage with various community-based organizations through numerous newspaper and radio interviews, a re-instated quarterly newsletter, public awareness campaigns, volunteerism and an increased social media presence. We anticipate working with community leaders to develop a regional branding campaign in the future.
Goal #7: Pursue Development that Diversifies the Region’s Economy
JREDC’s new website is our most valuable tool in pursuing new development that will prove to diversify our economy. We will continue to utilize pages within the JREDC website to focus on our target industries, and extend our message through social media channels. We realize the economic value of tourism and the arts to provide revenue for our area and will continue our close partnerships with the Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Jacksonville Center for the Arts. Finally, we recognize that our local colleges have the potential to provide training opportunities for growing local firms. We aspire to work more closely with these entities to facilitate strong relationships.