Join Opportunity Unbound Elevate for a “Game Day” social networking evening on March 5. Complimentary appetizers at Fatty’s and Free NIU game ticket.

RSVP using the QR code or email Katelyn at

Date posted: February 12, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on NEW OU Elevate Event – March 5th!

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

Did you know DeKalb County is part of the Northeast region of the Illinois Area Health Education Centers (IL AHEC)? IL AHEC provides programs and other supportive resources for students pursuing careers in healthcare with a focus on underserved rural and urban areas.

Please visit their website for additional information and resources: Illinois Area Health Education Centers (NE region)

Check out their “Lunch & Learn” series: February 2024 IL AHEC Lunch & Learn

IL AHEC Winter 2024 Newsletter

Date posted: February 7, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Illinois Area Health Education Centers (IL AHEC) resources for students in healthcare education

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) is offering a program to assist manufacturers with cybersecurity costs.

Through IMEC’s incentive program, eligible manufacturers “may be awarded up to $25,000 to reimburse documented expenditures of contractual services, infrastructure costs (software/hardware), and other approved costs directly related to cybersecurity implementation and monitoring. Approximately 50 awards will be made in this pilot program. Award amounts will be no more than 50% of the company’s documented expenditures. A cyber assessment must be completed to qualify and applications must be submitted prior to March 31st 2024. Expenses incurred between July 2023 and March 31st 2024 are eligible under this program.”

Go to for more information

Date posted: February 7, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on IMEC Cyber-Safe Incentive Program for manufacturers

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News Regional Economic Updates

Site Selection Magazine Ranks Illinois Number One for Workforce Development in Midwest

Press Release – Tuesday, January 16, 2024

CHICAGO – For the second consecutive year, Illinois has been named the number one leader for workforce development in the Midwest region. The top ranking highlights the State of Illinois’ commitment to expanding access to innovative workforce programs and making critical investments through legislation and programming to reduce barriers to good-paying jobs in order to create a thriving business ecosystem for jobseekers, employees and employers.

“The hardworking people of Illinois are at the forefront of our state’s economic progress, making us the top state in the Midwest for workforce development for the second consecutive year,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Since day one, my administration has been committed to making Illinois the best place to live. That’s why we’ve made transformative investments in workforce development, education, and our businesses—ensuring that every Illinoisan has an opportunity to thrive.”

“Illinois’ greatest asset is its people, and through a variety of pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and workforce development programs throughout the state, DCEO is opening the doors to opportunities to join the state’s top-ranked workforce,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, the State of Illinois will continue to provide resources and programs to support the number one workforce in the Midwest.”

The Site Selection magazine ranking recognizes “states that performed well in a set of measures that gauge workforce-related aspects of states’ overall employment climate.” It combines information from CNBC, U.S. News, and other organizations.

The Pritzker Administration has consistently invested in workforce training to advance career training opportunities for residents across all industries. From training initiatives and trade programs, Illinois has a sustainable pipeline of qualified workers for every field.

Illinois’ workforce development is rooted in equity, innovation, and growth for the future. The state fosters apprenticeship programs at every level and has over 400 Registered Apprenticeship programs for more than 20,000 active apprentices. Starting with Illinois’ youth, the state is building cohesive programs to ensure every individual that enters the workforce has adequate preparation and the ability to access the resources needed when choosing careers. Illinois’ youth apprenticeship programs provide a foundation for students aged 16-24 in high school and postsecondary education to choose between multiple pathways in high school, leading to college, full-time employment, or a combination of both.

In 2021, the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program was launched to increase access to good-paying jobs in the trades for historically underrepresented populations. Since the launch of Illinois Works, more than $40 million has been awarded to 36 diverse organizations across the state, paving the way for over 4,100 participants to secure jobs and greater opportunities in construction and the trades.

DCEO Press Release

Date posted: January 17, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on DCEO Press Release: Illinois Tops Workforce Development Rankings

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News Regional Economic Updates

$200,000 in scholarship money available through Future of Energy Scholarship to boost entry to STEM careers for students in Illinois

CHICAGO (December 18, 2023) – ComEd today announced it is now accepting applications for $200,000 worth of college scholarships made available through its Future of Energy Scholars program, created for Illinois students pursuing degrees in STEM. Now through January 14, 2024, high school and college students can apply for scholarships of up to $10,000 each and the chance to intern with ComEd.

“ComEd is focused on powering cleaner and more resilient communities for the future – and that work begins with ensuring the next generation is prepared to take on the growing volume of careers in our industry,” said Louie Binswanger, Senior Vice President of Government, Regulatory and External Affairs at ComEd. “The future of energy is here, and this scholarship will help to ensure that local, diverse and qualified people can benefit from the economic opportunity that will be created from the transition to cleaner energy.”

Since the program first launched in 2022, ComEd has awarded nearly $640,000 in scholarships to help remove the financial burden for Illinois students interested in careers in STEM. Increasing investments in education and workforce programming is a top priority as ComEd seeks to prepare its communities for as many as 150,000 new jobs coming to Illinois by 2050 as a result of the clean energy transition.

Through the Future of Energy Scholars program, Illinois students can qualify for an award of up to $10,000 to cover college tuition and other related expenses. Selected applicants will also be considered for an internship opportunity with ComEd. To qualify for the scholarship, students must be enrolled in an eligible college degree program, have a minimum 2.8 GPA, and submit an application.

The Future of Energy program serves to increase pathways to STEM, including for groups who are nationally underrepresented in the STEM workforce such as women and people of color.

“Now entering our third year of connecting qualifying students to the Future of Energy Scholars program, it’s been rewarding to see the difference it has made in the lives of students and families that need the extra support to reach their goals,” said Mary Spruill, Executive Director of The NEED Project, which administers the fund. “Securing financial support remains a leading barrier for students attending college, and through our partnership with ComEd, we are addressing this challenge and ensuring that more students, regardless of where they live or their background, are prepared for the careers that will power a cleaner tomorrow.”

The Future of Energy Scholars program is just one example of how ComEd is working to build a diverse and skilled talent pipeline for the future. To help its communities prepare for a wide range of careers connected to the clean energy industry, ComEd this year stepped up its investment in STEM programs while also launching several new trades training pathways, including the launch of the new Take Charge: EV Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program, the CONSTRUCT Youth Academy, and the Power Up Academy. As a result, in 2023 alone, more than 2,500 local residents were reached by ComEd’s wide range of workforce development and STEM education programs.

For more information or to apply for the ComEd Future of Energy STEM scholarship, visit

For more information on ComEd’s STEM and workforce programs, please visit

# # #

About ComEd

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit, and connect with the company on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Date posted: January 3, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on ComEd Invites Local Students to Apply for College Scholarships of Up to $10,000 Each

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

“DeKalb County generated a local economic impact of $123 million and contributed to an increase in visitor spending across Illinois in 2022, according to a news release from the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The boost in tourism contributed $2.8 million in local tax revenue while directly supporting 722 jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry, according to the latest data provided by Tourism Economics, a global tourism research firm that measured the number of visitors as well as their influence on Illinois’ economy during the 2022 calendar year.

” ‘This data validates what the DCCVB has seen and heard from our attractions, hotels, restaurants and event hosts and planners – that people from across the state and beyond are experiencing DeKalb County in numbers that rival pre-pandemic figures,’ Cortney Strohacker, the bureau’s executive director, said in a news release. ‘While challenges remain, particularly in the hospitality sector, we are encouraged that people are discovering or being reintroduced to the great attractions, businesses, venues and events that make our county a great place to live, learn, work and play.’ ”

Please read the full article from The Daily Chronicle: Tourism up in DeKalb County, data shows

Date posted: December 26, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on From The Daily Chronicle: Tourism up in DeKalb County, data shows

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

Mayor Cohen Barnes and City Manager Bill Nicklas joined Governor J.B. Pritzker, Meta leadership and project partners on Nov. 29 for a ceremonial flipping of the switch as the DeKalb Data Center went online.

Joining Meta’s global infrastructure is a milestone for the $1 billion project, which broke ground in 2020. Since then, Governor Pritzker said over 1,200 skilled trades people have been hard at work constructing the first million square feet with still yet another 1.3-million square feet to build.

“So, there are many jobs, and I hope people will take note that if you’re looking for work that you want to be in DeKalb,” said Pritzker, noting the facility will also support hundreds of operations jobs. “This data center is bringing investment and vitality to a truly growing region.”

Along with creating jobs, Mayor Barnes said Meta has diversified the City’s tax base allowing the hiring of police officers and firefighters while investing in the nonprofit community.

“It’s not just a pretty building, not just a cool data center, the lives of people have been directly impacted significantly,” said Barnes. “Thank you, Meta, and I look forward as we continue doing more construction projects, working together with you as a great partner.”

Barnes also thanked Jerry Krusinski, manager of the ChicagoWest Business Center, for having the vision to develop the site that is now home to the most energy efficient data center in the world.

“We are pleased to work together with Meta and Illinois leadership for the economic benefit of Illinois businesses and residents,” said Krusinski. “This is a model for what can be accomplished through effective partnerships among communities, government and private industry.”

At the ceremony, Meta announced it will be expanding its commitment to the DeKalb community through a new partnership with Northern Illinois University to address the gap of underrepresented populations in STEM careers. Meta is supporting the NIU Barb City STEAM Studio — a new, year-round initiative on the NIU campus designed to increase college and career readiness for DeKalb High School students interested in engineering, robotics and other in-demand fields.

From City of DeKalb enewsletter

Date posted: December 4, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Meta’s DeKalb Data Center Now Online

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

The Kishwaukee College Foundation has established a new scholarship honoring longtime Marketing & Management instructor Desa Henn.

The scholarship will provide support for in-district Kish students who demonstrate financial need. Henn’s family and friends recently contributed the initial endowment to support the scholarship.

“Education is very highly regarded in our family. The reason we chose Kishwaukee College for the scholarship was because our mother loved teaching there and sharing her passion and expertise for local retail and small business,” said Nancy Plate, Henn’s daughter.

Henn taught Marketing & Management courses at Kishwaukee College from 1979-1992. Additionally, she was a longtime entrepreneur in the DeKalb community as the owner of her store, Desa’s Vendome. She was also a prominent figure in many retail stores, including House of Joy, Elsa’s Gift Shop and Moxie.

“She loved working in the DeKalb community and was so energized by the enthusiasm of her Kish students,” Plate said.

“This generous donation will greatly benefit the students of Kishwaukee College. The Foundation is proud to work with Desa Henn’s family to honor her legacy and support Kish students,” said Dr. Kayte Hamel, Executive Director of the Kishwaukee College Foundation.

To contribute or learn more about Kishwaukee College Scholarships, visit


Date posted: December 4, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kish College Foundation announces creation of Desa Henn Memorial Scholarship

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

Kishwaukee College was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Institutions Program grant, providing more than $2 million over five years for student success initiatives.

Kish was awarded $2,065,280 in funding for its project Leading Equity in Attainment and Design for Retention and Success (LEADRS). The objective of LEADRS is to improve academic success and completion by providing students with additional academic planning, support, and enhanced online learning. With these improvements, the College will continue its goal of closing achievement gaps for students of color and low-income students.

“Kishwaukee College has made significant progress in helping our diverse student body achieve its academic goals. With the majority of our students being transfer students, it is important for our College to develop guided pathways to aid in the course selection and transfer process. Students will have an easier time identifying and selecting classes that transfer to a bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College.

Strategies of the LEADRS project include implementing guided pathways, adding additional tutors in classrooms, expanding student success coaching, enhancing online courses, and providing faculty training to focus on classroom technology, online learning, and inclusive classroom environments. Awarded in October, Kish will receive Title III grant funding through September 2028.

To learn more about Kishwaukee College’s equity initiatives, visit

For Immediate Release — The contents of this press release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.


Date posted: November 15, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College awarded $2 million federal Title III grant

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

The Kishwaukee College Continuing Education department will offer seven short-term training programs during the Spring 2024 semester. Kish short-term programs provide students with the skills and training needed to meet local workforce demands. The programs range from 11-20 weeks, allowing students to immediately start a career or build upon their skills with additional training.

Spring 2024 classes are available in online, in-person and hybrid formats. Participants will need access to a computer and the internet to participate in programs with an online component. Some programs include an externship/clinical.

The short-term training programs offered in Spring 2024 are:

Appliance Repair Technician: Jan. 22-April 24 (In-Person)
Appliance repair technicians are skilled professionals trained to assist clients with household appliance installation, troubleshooting and repairs. In-person instruction is from 5:30-9 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays at Kishwaukee College.

Dental Assistant: Jan. 22-April 19 (Online Lecture/In-Person Practice)
Dental assistants are health care professionals who work closely with dentists and dental hygienists to provide quality preventive and corrective dental care and administrative support in dental offices. In-person practice will be conducted from 6-9 pm on three Tuesdays in a local dental office.

Pharmacy Technician: Jan. 22-May 3 (Online)
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with dispensing prescription medication while performing various other duties in a pharmacy setting. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding is available to those who qualify.

Phlebotomy Technician: Jan. 22-April 5 (In-Person)
Phlebotomists are health care professionals trained to collect, transport, handle, and process blood and other specimens for laboratory analysis using venipuncture and micro-collection techniques. Instruction and in-person practice is from 10 am-12 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Kishwaukee College. A clinical experience will be offered in a local hospital from March 18-April 5.

Real Estate Broker Pre-License: Jan. 23-April 4 (Online)
Real estate brokers perform many duties in real estate transactions, including marketing homes, establishing escrow accounts, and working to ensure transactions are fair and legal. Online instruction takes place from 6-9 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Sterile Processing Technician: Jan. 22-April 26 (Online)
Sterile processing technicians support patient care services in a health care facility. Technicians are responsible for decontaminating, cleaning, processing, assembling, sterilizing, storing and distributing the medical devices and supplies needed in patient care, especially during surgery. Online instruction is delivered in an asynchronous format.

Veterinary Assistant: Jan. 22-June 14 (Online Lecture/In-Person Practice)
Veterinary assistants are trained to assist veterinarians and veterinary technicians with medical procedures on sick and injured animals. Online/live lectures take place from 6:30-9 pm on Tuesdays, and in-person labs are from 5-8 pm on Thursdays at Ashton Animal Clinic in Ashton. A clinical experience will be offered at a local animal hospital from May 20-June 14.

To learn more or register for Kishwaukee College Short-Term programs, visit

For Immediate Release

Date posted: November 15, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kish College to offer seven short-term training programs in Spring 2024

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News