Economic Development Week: JREDC is a Community Leader

Economic Development Week: JREDC is a Community Leader Main Photo

3 May 2022


The seventh annual Economic Development Week (EDW) is May 9–15, 2022. Since 2016, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has promoted EDW to increase awareness of local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere.     

In Scott and Morgan counties in Illinois, Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation (JREDC) is taking this time to reflect on their office's impact on the economic development of their vibrant community throughout the pandemic and beyond.

JREDC Uses the Power of Relationship Building 

JREDC’s core strategy is relationship building. JREDC forges relationships with public and private sector partners, new entrepreneurs, education partners and large and small regional employers alike. Through these relationships, they work towards the seven goals outlined in the five-year Regional Economic Development Plan:

  1. Improve the Region’s Quality of Place
  2. Create an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
  3. Strengthen the Region’s Workforce
  4. Help Existing Businesses Expand and Grow
  5. Develop Available Properties in the Region
  6. Constructively Engage Community-Based Organizations
  7. Pursue Development that Diversifies the Region’s Economy

JREDC is a Community Leader

JREDC takes great pride in facilitating relationships between developers, business owners and municipal leaders to grow business in the Jacksonville region. The team often works with site selectors looking to expand or relocate. JREDC manages the Jacksonville Regional Enterprise Zone by administering valuable incentives through sales tax and property tax abatements to qualified projects and working directly with the property owners of the former MacMurray College to add those parcels to the Enterprise Zone.

JREDC Trade ShowJREDC also markets the region’s reliable public infrastructure, affordable housing, quality education, and exceptional healthcare availability to attract new businesses to the region. The recent installation of fiber broadband in Jacksonville and South Jacksonville ensures the region’s businesses and residents have the high-speed internet service expected in today’s economy.

Beginning in 2021, JREDC has been working as a Community Navigator with the Illinois Department of Public Health through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Back to Business grant program. To date, JREDC and partner organizations including Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Jacksonville Mainstreet have facilitated more than $300,000 for small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic through the Back to Business grant program. Overall, JREDC and other community partners have helped small businesses in Morgan and Scott counties receive over $1.5 million in grant funding through local and state programs.

JREDC is Proactive and Data-Driven For Housing Solutions

Housing continues to be a challenge in many communities. Attracting workforce housing development requires intention and data because creative solutions are only possible when needs are quantified. JREDC partnered with the City of Jacksonville and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to develop and administer the Community Needs Assessment Survey to create a Community Revitalization Strategy. The intent is to expand the capacity of underserved communities in Illinois to identify local housing needs and to empower those communities to take steps to meet those needs. Data is currently being analyzed.

JREDC also markets available sites and buildings in Morgan and Scott counties efficiently and effectively through their website, especially when meeting in person has proven difficult. The website often serves as the first point of contact with business prospects, which can lead to meaningful virtual or in-person conversations. JREDC is also involved in forging an avenue to remediate the shuttered Jacksonville Developmental Center.

JREDC Assists with the Region’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

JREDC focuses efforts on the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and those ready to launch right now.

JREDC continues to promote and support the Morgan-Scott CEO Program and commits to engaging with these young entrepreneurs as they develop businesses that positively impact our region. JREDC has also met and counseled several entrepreneurs interested in identifying properties to begin new brick-and-mortar small businesses in the area.

JREDC Focuses on Workforce and the Talent Pipeline

JREDC College StudentIn collaboration with the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, JREDC is committed to a strong and educated workforce created by expanding and upskilling the talent pool through Talent Pipeline Management initiatives. In the works is a program that will connect Jacksonville School District #117 high school students with on-the-job opportunities at Reynolds Consumer Products. Upper-level high school students could begin work at Reynolds through the current Cooperative Vocational Education curriculum or a similar program during the next academic year. Also, JREDC meets regularly with Lincoln Land Community College and leading manufacturers to brainstorm programs that engage high school students.

In a novel approach, geofencing strategies are being developed with Illinois College business students to identify and recruit potential employees for our region’s commercial industries.

JREDC’s Employment Opportunity page is a no-cost resource on their website that has been proven through analytics to be a valuable “one-stop-shop” benefiting local employers and job seekers alike. JREDC also works with Memorial Health’s Healthy Communities Collaborative to help publicize current job opportunities and reduce barriers for unemployed residents in the region to achieve employment.

JREDC Is Ready To Assist

JREDC is your time-saving connection to resources to accelerate your project by providing the data, facts and figures businesses need. Email JREDC or phone 217.479.4627 for specific information on available buildings and sites, financing and incentives, labor market information, tax information, demographics, traffic counts, retail sales data, economic indicators and trends and zoning information.

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