Since 1964, the mission of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation has remained consistent – to create, expand, recruit and retain job opportunities for Morgan and Scott counties.
In accordance with the Regional Economic Development Plan for Morgan and Scott Counties, the JREDC will 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 maintain contact with 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.
2024 Goals, Strategies and Plan of Work
As outlined in the five-year Regional Economic Development Plan, JREDC continues its charge to realize seven goals – all of which support to the mission of our organization:
Goal #1: Improve the Region’s Quality of Place
JREDC has been working closely with our partners and allies to promote the amenities and resources our region offers, as well as complete more projects to advance place-making strategies. We partnered with the City of Jacksonville on a Community Revitalization Plan to understand current housing needs in an effort to improve economic development, housing development and community development. The final plan assists developers in understanding the community’s needs and priorities for future growth.
We continue to market our region’s reliable public infrastructure; affordable housing and quality education; and availability and access to quality healthcare to attract new businesses to the region. Our newly updated website assists in promoting our quality of place.
The installation of fiber broadband throughout the entire region ensures our businesses and residents have high-speed internet service expected in today’s economy – which is especially important given the impact COVID-19 has had in transforming the way we live, work and learn.
Goal #2: Create an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
JREDC continues to promote and support the Morgan-Scott CEO Program and aspires to engage with these young entrepreneurs as they develop businesses that positively impact our region. Our organization actively participates in monthly Jacksonville Mainstreet Economic Vitality meetings to assist new business owners setting up shop in the Mainstreet district. In addition, the JREDC has met and counseled several entrepreneurs interested in identifying properties to begin new brick-and-mortar small businesses in the region.
Goal #3 Strengthen the Region’s Workforce
Strengthening relationships with Illinois College and Lincoln Land Community College helps grow the talent pool our commercial industries need, as well as provide opportunities for upskilling our workforce.
The employment opportunities page on the JREDC website proves to be one of our most visited pages. We continue to urge our region’s employers to take advantage of this free, “one-stop shop” that benefits local employers and jobseekers.
JREDC’s new talent attraction program – which includes a relocation incentive package, production of “live/work” videos and an aggressive digital marketing strategy – will promote the Jacksonville region as a great place to live and do business.
Goal #4: Help Existing Businesses Expand and Grow
Valuable incentives through sales tax and property tax abatements to qualified projects are administered through our Jacksonville Regional Enterprise Zone. JREDC also takes great pride in facilitating relationships between developers, business owners and municipal leaders to grow business in the Jacksonville region. Enterprise Zone Administrator Bonni Waters is continually working with property owners to ensure he or she receives valuable incentives during renovation, including the former A.C. Humko and Shopko properties.
Goal #5: Develop Available Properties in the Region
JREDC’s recently updated website allows us to easily market available properties in Morgan and Scott counties. This online tool continues to serve as the first point of contact with business prospects before we continue the conversation virtually or in person.
Goal #6: Constructively Engage Community Based Organizations
JREDC has made great advances in the last two years to engage with various community-based organizations through newspaper and radio interviews, a re-instated electronic newsletter, public awareness campaigns, volunteerism and an increased social media presence.
Throughout the pandemic, JREDC continued this work and illustrated our worth by educating small business owners about loans and grants offered to those negatively impacted by the pandemic. Our role as a Community Navigator with the Illinois Department of Public Health through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Back 2 Business grant program has proven worthwhile. To date, we have helped facilitate more than $1.3 million in funding to small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic through the B2B program. Overall, JREDC and other community partners have helped small businesses receive more than $4 million in grant funding in Morgan, Scott and Cass counties through local and state programs since the start of the pandemic.
Goal #7: Pursue Development that Diversifies the Region’s Economy
A combination of new marketing assets, strengthened by our successful rebranding campaign, and updated website will prove valuable in attracting new, diversified development in the Jacksonville region. We utilize our website to focus on our target industries, promote relocation strategies and extend our message through social media channels. We believe our web-based strategy has been successful, as we receive inquiries from prospects specific to our target industries. The upcoming launch of a new talent attraction campaign will encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners to consider Morgan and Scott counties when developing a plan to start or expand a business.