DeKalb County has welcomed significant development projects in recent years – an accomplishment to be celebrated by all – with many attracted by the existence of the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone.

While the enterprise zone offers numerous potential benefits, such as various abatements and credits, one notable incentive can be taken advantage of by all projects big and small, new and existing businesses: Illinois sales tax exemptions on qualified building materials.

Since its creation in 2016, businesses in all participating DeKalb County Enterprise Zone municipalities – Cortland, Genoa, DeKalb, Sandwich, Sycamore, and Waterman – have used the Building Materials Exemption Certificate (BMEC) incentive as part of their location within the zone. BMECs allow applicants working on enterprise zone projects to purchase qualified building materials at reduced costs, saving potentially thousands of dollars in construction costs.

Qualified building materials generally include any materials intended to be permanent fixtures in the project construction. These can include common construction materials such as lumber, cement and sheet metal; plumbing and heating systems; electrical systems; built-in appliances; permanent floor coverings; large computer server systems; and much more. The use of a BMEC relieves some of the construction costs via sales tax exemption for those materials, allowing for substantial project financial savings, especially important for our smaller businesses.

Read the full article published in The Daily Chronicle:DeKalb County Enterprise Zone building materials savings benefit projects of all sizes

Date posted: June 7, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Van Drew: DeKalb County Enterprise Zone building materials savings benefit projects of all sizes

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

“If we were going to have a word for the year coming from the committee, it’s encouragement, because this data certainly does look good.”

That was a quote from Paul Callighan, co-chair of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp.’s Business Retention, Expansion and Talent Pipeline Committee, after an update on local labor force data for DeKalb County.

The data was provided by Tom Austin, a labor market analyst with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

A brief highlight of some of the data follows:

The population growth rate in DeKalb County is higher than the state’s growth rate when indexed at the state level starting in 1980.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, DeKalb County was part of about a dozen Illinois counties experiencing population growth between July 2022 and July 2023. That is certainly encouraging news given recent trends of outmigration and losses during the pandemic.

DeKalb County is being recognized as a place to live, work and play.

The labor force participation rate in DeKalb County is considerably higher than the state and national average.

What does this mean? While employers rely on new workers entering the labor force, they also rely to a larger extent on the existing labor force continuing to participate in the labor force.

The decline in labor participation was evident during the pandemic and coming out of the pandemic, where individuals chose not to participate in the workforce for various reasons. Some chose to go back to school to improve their skills and or were not able to find adequate child care options.

Austin pointed out that “over time, you do want to see labor force participation at a higher level because that’s reflective that the economy is doing well, people are comfortable coming back into the economy and participating in it, and that there are opportunities.”

DeKalb County has the lowest median age for workers in the Elgin Metro region at 34.3.

Read the full article published in The Daily Chronicle: Williams: Encouraging trends in workforce for DeKalb County

Date posted: June 7, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Williams: Encouraging trends in workforce for DeKalb County

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Three high school students walked across the stage to collect Associate in Science degrees during Kishwaukee College’s Spring 2024 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18. For Emily Frazier and Theo Baird, it may have felt like déjà vu. The Indian Creek High School students received their high school diploma six days earlier. Calvin VanderSchee, a DeKalb High School student, received his Kish degree before earning his high school diploma just a week later.

Photo Caption: Early College Program students Calvin VanderSchee, Emily Frazier and Theo Baird pose for a photo at Kishwaukee College’s Spring 2024 Commencement. Each student earned an Associate in Arts degree from Kish while finishing their high school diploma.

The three students completed two years of college credits while in high school. Kish’s new Early College Program helps other students do the same. The program allows high school juniors and seniors to work toward an associate degree by taking college courses at Kish or their high school.

“The Early College Program is an ambitious challenge for our district high school students. It is a great opportunity for students looking to get a head start on their college journey,” said Colleen Tumminaro, Director of Dual Credit & K-12 Partnerships.

VanderSchee utilized Kish’s Engineering, Math & Science Academy (EMSA) as he pursues a degree in mechanical engineering. He will transfer to Purdue University, where he plans to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

“EMSA gave me college credit for courses that were not available at my high school. I also took dual enrollment courses to transfer to university. Community college tuition is substantially lower than university, so dual enrollment saved me time and money,” VanderSchee said.

Frazier will transfer to Aurora University to pursue a degree in biology before transferring to medical school to become a sports medicine doctor.

“I decided to pursue dual credit classes at a young age. Going into my freshman year of high school, I knew I wanted to go into the medical field. I was unsure of what, but I knew it would take a lot of school. Dual credit and dual enrollment allowed me to take some classes early, giving me a head start on my long journey of school,” Frazier said.

With careful planning, Early College Program students can balance their high school and college schedules to achieve their educational goals. VanderSchee took classes on the Kish campus, at his high school and online. Frazier completed her college credits at her high school and online.

“We are so proud to support our dual credit students and help meet their college needs. An invaluable benefit of taking college-level courses while in high school is it helps students make the transition to higher education at their own pace,” said Dr. Michelle Rothmeyer, Vice President of Student Services.

VanderSchee and Frazier said taking college courses in high school was challenging and rewarding and recommend the option to other motivated students.

“Even though the shift from a high school classroom to a college is hard, it was worth it. It taught me independence, responsibility and a good work ethic. I also believe this shift is worth taking in high school because it is a more supportive environment due to the small class sizes and extremely helpful instructors,” VanderSchee said.

“If you like to be challenged and know you have a lot of school ahead, take the opportunity. You won’t regret it, and you are setting yourself up for success,” Frazier said.

The Early College Program is the newest of several options high school students can utilize to start their college education at Kish. The College also provides dual credit, dual enrollment, career and technical education (CTE) courses, the Kishwaukee Education Consortium and more.

“The Kishwaukee College Early College Program offers many benefits to high school students. Data shows students are more likely to earn their post-secondary degree when they take college-level coursework while still in high school. The program helps students reduce the time it takes to earn their college degree after high school, so while their peers are still in college, these students are out working in their chosen profession. And one of the biggest advantages is the money saved in the process,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College.

To learn more about Kish’s Early College program, visit To learn more about all Kish high school opportunities, visit

For Immediate Release
Brett Herrmann
Kishwaukee College
Content Coordinator/Web Master, Marketing & Public Relations

Date posted: May 31, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Kish Early College Program students earn both high school diploma, college degree

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

Sycamore, IL 05/30/24 – The City of Sandwich was awarded a $29,245 Community Economic Development Implementation Grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation. This grant is a catalyst for multiple downtown improvement projects aimed at enhancing the city, attracting tourism, and more. Funding will help facilitate projects like a downtown business kiosk, holiday and city banners, the creation of three murals, historical markers, and activities. In addition, an inventory of future sites for economic opportunity will be explored.

The Community Foundation developed the grant program to provide additional opportunities for DeKalb County communities to support implementation projects aligned with their economic development plan.

Foundation Community Engagement Director Teri Spartz adds, “It is wonderful to see the City of Sandwich maximize the impact of this grant to fund multiple projects and improvements in their community.”

A generous total of $300,000 has been committed to this grant program through donor support. Remaining eligible communities are encouraged to apply for an implementation grant by the end of 2024, as the program will come to completion. Grant applications must reference a recently completed economic development plan and connect to implementation projects within the plan or to support continued planning.

Sandwich Mayor Todd Latham accepts an economic development implementation grant from Community Foundation Executive Director Dan Templin.

For questions or additional information, please contact Teri Spartz at 815-748-5383 or

CONTACT: Teri Spartz, 815-748-5383,

Date posted: May 31, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on City of Sandwich Secures Funding for Economic Development Projects

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

DCEDC staff are hosting a FREE Small Business Webinar, featuring a panel of speakers from the IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This webinar will be offered via Zoom at 10:00 am on Wed, May 15th. RSVP by May 13th by clicking on the flyer below or using the QR code. Hope to see you there!

Date posted: May 7, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on FREE Small Business Webinar May 15

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Young professionals invited to attend networking May 20 to find local career mentor!

Are you a young professional eager to navigate the twists and turns of your career journey with confidence and guidance? Look no further than Elevate’s Mentor Match-Up event, hosted by the Elevate, an Opportunity Unbound initiative of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.

Scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, at River Heights Golf Course, 1020 Sharon Dr., DeKalb, this event promises an evening of networking, mentorship and professional growth.

The Mentor Match-Up event offers an opportunity to connect with seasoned professionals and influential leaders serving on the DCEDC board. Through a structured speed networking format, participants will engage in rapid-fire conversations, exchanging insights and ideas with potential mentors. Attendees will have the chance to rank board members based on compatibility and alignment with their professional goals, ultimately discovering their perfect mentor match.

Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to elevate your career trajectory. Secure your spot today by RSVP-ing at For inquiries or information, email Elevate your aspirations with Elevate and DCEDC on May 20.

Full article available at: Boost your career at Elevate’s Mentor Match-Up event

Date posted: May 6, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Boost your career at Elevate’s Mentor Match-Up event

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

It’s almost that time again — Give DeKalb County 2024! DeKalb County’s day of giving for our local non-profit organizations!

Visit our page!

Help support our work in economic development! Our efforts here at DCEDC are not possible without your help and support. On May 2, donate online from midnight to midnight at If you prefer to give by check, print a donation form, complete it then write a single check for the total amount payable to “DCCF.” Mail your check and completed donation form to: DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. Mail-in donations must be postmarked April 18 – May 2. And… every donation made during Give DeKalb County is BOOSTED by the Bonus Pool. This means your gift goes even further during Give DeKalb County!

Date posted: April 22, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Give DeKalb County on May 2!

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Discover what’s in your community at the 2024 Local Showcase & Job Fair at the DeKalb Sports & Recreation Center on Thursday, April 25th from 4-7pm! Meet the businesses and organizations in your community as they distribute valuable information, exciting giveaways, and provide activities for all ages. This event is also an opportunity for job seekers! Participating vendors with open positions will be actively seeking new hires. Whether you’re a seasoned community member or a newcomer, come together to celebrate our community! Admission is free.

Sponsorship and vendor registration open now! Regular registration ends April 18th. All vendors are required to submit a certificate of insurance with the DeKalb Park District listed as additionally insured.

This event is for DeKalb Chamber members in good standing. Curious about DeKalb Chamber membership? Email or call the DeKalb Chamber at 815-756-6306!

8.5×11 Flyer – 2024 Local Showcase

Date posted: April 18, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Local Showcase & Job Fair – April 25th

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Master welders from [DCEDC member] Enbridge, Inc. provided a hands-on demonstration for students in Kishwaukee College’s Welding Technology program Tuesday at the College.

In Kish’s newly renovated welding lab, Dan Morang, Enbridge Senior Welder, and David Losiniecki, Enbridge Senior Equipment Operator, showcased different welding techniques while fielding questions about the profession from the Kish welding students.

“We are here to help. We are here to instruct. We are here to get you information you might not have yet so we can help you get out in the welding field and get good-paying jobs,” Morang said.

Kish students expressed appreciation for the Enbridge welders who offered their time and expertise to help them learn about the welding profession.

“This was an exciting opportunity. These professionals are what we are training to be. To have people in the industry sharing their experiences with us is fantastic. If you want to know how to do something, you go and ask the professionals who are doing it,” said John Rinkenberger, a Kish welding student.

Enbridge is a longtime partner of the College and the Kishwaukee College Foundation. Along with regularly providing professional demonstrations, Enbridge supports Kish’s programs with financial and equipment donations. Every semester, the Enbridge Pipeline Industry Awareness Scholarship provides scholarship support to students studying engineering or welding-related programs.

Photo Caption: David Losiniecki, Enbridge Senior Equipment Operator, talks with Kishwaukee College welding students during a live welding demonstration. Enbridge provides support to Kish through classroom demonstrations, financial support and equipment donations.

To learn more about welding at Kish, visit


Date posted: March 8, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Enbridge master welders provide demonstration at Kish College

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Kishwaukee College joined community colleges across the state to celebrate its role in preparing the workforce for in-demand jobs. CTE programs offered at community colleges provide students with hands-on training and real-world experience in multiple industries, including health sciences, manufacturing, technology and more.

Kish adapts its CTE programs to meet local workforce demands. Kish’s programs offer flexible scheduling, work-based learning and stackable credentials that provide a pathway from education to employment. The College models its courses based on community needs, providing students with the opportunity to pursue in-demand careers. In 2023, 70% of Kish CTE graduates were employed in a related field, and 93.6% of graduates were employed within the state of Illinois, according to technical graduate surveys.

CTE programs at Kish and Illinois community colleges offer a cost-effective way for individuals to pursue career goals at a fraction of the tuition of four-year institutions.

“Illinois community colleges are a leading workforce developer in the state and are continuing to expand access and opportunities to dozens of good paying careers,” said Brian Durham, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board. “CTE programs at community colleges are an essential part of our state’s workforce development strategy, and we are proud to be a part of preparing the next generation of workers.”

Statewide, nearly 37,500 students graduated from more than 4,600 approved CTE certificate and degree programs offered by Illinois community colleges in 2023.

The National Skills Coalition says nearly two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. economy require education beyond high school but not a four-year college degree. Many of these jobs are in CTE fields like health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology, which are among the fastest-growing occupations projected through 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information on CTE programs at Kish, visit


February 26, 2024

For Immediate Release:
Kishwaukee College celebrates Career and Technical Education Month

Date posted: February 27, 2024 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College celebrates Career and Technical Education Month

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News