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October is Manufacturing Month in Illinois and across the Nation.

National Manufacturing Month (MFG) is an annual event that will kick-off on Friday, October 6th! Executed at the local level MFG Month supports thousands of manufacturers across the nation. It is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

There will be more than 100 events across the state of Illinois that celebrate manufacturing throughout month.  Additionally, Governor Bruce Rauner will officially mark the start of Manufacturing Month with a gubernatorial proclamation.

Click Here for a list of Manufacturing Day events in Illinois

Click Here for the Manufacturing Month proclamation issued by Governor Bruce Rauner

As always, the Department is here to help, and we look forward to working with you! 
Sean McCarthy



Gov. Rauner visits auto parts manufacturers in Japan 



NAGOYA, Japan (Sept. 13, 2017) - Gov. Bruce Rauner left Tokyo today aboard a high-speed Shinkansen train and arrived in Nagoya to visit several of the top auto-suppliers in the world as part of his first international trade mission. In Nagoya, the governor met with senior executives from Aisin Seiki, Toyota Boshoku and Sakae Riken Kogyo.



"These leading Japanese companies are driving economic development and innovation through parts of our state, including our smaller communities," Gov. Rauner said. "These same communities are the foundation for economic growth in our state."

Aisin's main Illinois operations are in Marion and employ more than 2,000 people. The company develops and produces auto parts, including brake pads, engine parts and transmissions. The governor toured Aisin's state-of-the-art campus and saw firsthand the leading research and development that is being developed.

The governor then met with the senior leadership team of Toyota Boshoku, which employs more than 1,000 people in Lawrenceville. It specializes in the manufacture and sale of seats, door trims and interior components. Last year, Toyota Boshoku announced a 100-person expansion of its Lawrenceville facility.

The governor finished the day with a visit to Sakae Riken Kogyo Co., Ltd. The family business has been operating for more than 45 years and produces a variety of products, including interior and exterior trim for automobiles, as well as parts for household appliances. Its U.S. affiliate, Eakas, has operations in Peru, Illinois, employing more than 400 people.

Understanding the importance of relationships in business in Asia, the governor underscored that "I believe our friendship is about shared values. We both value leadership. We value hard work. We value our families, and we value each other. This is why we will continue to strengthen our relationship, build our businesses and provide for our families."

The governor thanked all the business and government leaders for a wonderful visit during his final full day in Japan, vowing to return soon to grow the special and highly respected relationship between Illinois and Japan. The governor travels to China on Thursday.



New EDGE Tax Credit Program are Being Accepted


The Illinois Department of Commerce is pleased to announce that as of today – Monday, October 2, 2017 – applications for the new EDGE Tax Credit program are being accepted.


As you are aware, EDGE is a critical local economic development tool that incentivizes job creation and helps attract investment to every corner of Illinois. Last month, Governor Rauner signed House Bill 162 to extend the EDGE program through June 30, 2022. The legislation also made important changes to modernize the program to better serve businesses while offering more value to taxpayers.

After a thorough review of the new provisions, DCEO has submitted revised rules to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). This move allows the Department to begin accepting new applications immediately. Please note that any new agreements entered into during the JCAR process will be subject to amendments based on final rule approval. A copy of DCEO’s submitted rules can be found on our website.

If your company is interested in applying for an EDGE Tax Credit, please reach out to the Department at CEO.EDGE@illinois.gov.


Illinois Awarded $890,000 to Support Small Business Exports

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Trade and Investment received $890,000 in federal funds to support export growth among Illinois small businesses. The funding was awarded through the Small Business Administration’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). Since 2011, the State of Illinois has received a total of $4.8 million in SBA awards.

“In our increasingly global economy, manufacturers looking to grow need to look beyond domestic markets,” Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy said. “Less than one percent of U.S. companies currently export, making foreign markets a huge growth opportunity for Illinois manufacturers. STEP will allow the Illinois Department of Commerce to continue to help Illinois manufacturers explore new markets and grow their businesses abroad and at home.”

Illinois’ State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP) program provides small manufacturers with financial and technical assistance to increase exports. Eligible companies may participate in group trade missions, individual sales missions, receive assistance for product compliance, prepare international marketing campaigns and participate in general export education.

“The federal award will be invested into OTI’s ISTEP program during the state’s 2018 fiscal year (FY18) to proactively assist more Illinois manufacturers enter and expand to new international markets” said Margo Markopoulos, director of OTI.
Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest, and the fifth largest exporting state in the country. For companies interested in expanding their global footprint, OTI coordinates participation at international trade shows for a variety of industries, from life sciences and medicine, to green technology, manufacturing and mining.  In FY18, OTI will lead trade missions to 12 international markets. Illinois exporters can explore the OTI website to learn more about the trade missions. The ISTEP program is highly competitive. Applications are accepted throughout the entire year and are considered on a rolling basis.

In FY’18, OTI’s will lead trade missions to the following international trade shows :

  • MEDICA 2017: Dusseldorf, German | November 13-16, 2017
  • Arab Health: Dubai, UAE | January 29-February 1, 2018
  • Medical Japan: Osaka, Japan | February 21-23, 2018
  • Bio Asia: Hyderabad, India | February 22-24, 2018
  • Mobile World Congress: Barcelona, Spain | February 26-March 1, 2018
  • FABTECH Canada: Toronto, Canada | March 20-22, 2018
  • Asia Water: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | April 10-12, 2018
  • Expo Min: Santiago, Chile | April 23-27, 2018
  • SIAL Canada: Montreal, Canada | May 2-4, 2018
  • IE Expo: Shanghai, China | May 3-5, 2018
  • Food West Africa: Lagos, Nigeria| May 8-10, 2018
  • Africa Health: Johannesburg, South Africa | May 29-31 2018
  • Expo Pack: Mexico City, Mexico | June 5-8, 2018
  • CIEPEC 2018: Beijing, China | June 11-15, 2018

 For more information about trade missions and other resources available through the State of Illinois’ Office of Trade and Investment, please visit www.exports.illinois.gov.


Mitsubishi Trade Success Story 

Randy worked as a Production Associate at Mitsubishi Motors in Normal, Illinois for 26 years when the automaker closed and moved its production overseas. With only a high school diploma, Randy improved his employability by applying for funding to attend Illinois Central College in East Peoria. Assessment testing and career counseling at Career Link, including researching job outlook statistics and job openings, helped Randy narrow in on the CNC Machine Operator Certificate program at ICC. Completing the program would help him attain his goal to build on his current skills while earning a credential. 

With family demands and the desire to get back to working full-time, he wanted to accomplish this goal as quickly as possible. He started his full-time training program at ICC on June 6th and successfully completed six months later, on December 5, 2016. He made the 127 mile round trip from his home in Colfax to the East Peoria ICC campus with the help of Trade mileage, never missing a class, and making the Dean's List!

Randy recently secured a full-time position at CATERPILLAR in Pontiac, Illinois as an Assembly/Test Specialist. He is excited to be working again with full-time wages. Randy says of the Trade program, "After almost 27 years on the same job and at my age (over 50) I was really nervous when the plant (MMNA) announced they were closing, but the Trade Program helped me regain my confidence and find a new career path. I am very happy with the path I chose and thankful for the support of the Trade Program."


Illinois Office of Tourism wins award for best travel website

The Illinois Office of Tourism’s website EnjoyIllinois.com received the U.S. Travel Association’s Mercury Award for outstanding travel website at the 2017 Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) in Minneapolis, Minn.

The new EnjoyIllinois.com launched in March, featuring inspiring content and customized, user-friendly webpages based on browsing behavior. The site was designed to feel like a digital magazine showcasing amazing experiences across Illinois while engaging visitors with a combination of compelling video, photography and user-generated content from local influencers. Since launching, the website has generated a 74% increase in user traffic, 447% increase in newsletter signups and a 14.5% increase in hotel accommodations and flight bookings.

“We are thrilled to be honored for doing what we love—sharing all of the incredible people and places that make Illinois such an amazing state,” said Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “The EnjoyIllinois.com website delivers visually compelling content, encouraging visitors to immerse themselves in all the experiences Illinois has to offer.”

The Illinois Office of Tourism shared the honors with Chicago-based partners TimeZoneOne, a global creative communications agency, and J. Walter Thompson, an international marketing communications firm.
The U.S. Travel Association’s ESTO is a national forum where tourism destination professionals across the country go to learn about new tools and techniques, share best practices and debate pressing issues impacting destination marketing.


Small Business Connections


The SBDC provides two monthly updates to their members. These newsletters are Regulatory News and Clean Energy Clips. Moving forward...the SBDC members will receive these articles with the DCEO monthly newsletter. We welcome the SBDC members and invite all others to add to our DCEO mailing list 

Regulatory News

Our monthly newsletter provides important information on changes in rulemakings for business and industry groups, chambers of commerce, trade associations or anyone interested in small business issues. The newsletter also provides information on upcoming conferences, seminars, workshops, trainings, permitting and licensing, tax information and recent legislation.

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Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP)

Located at the Illinois Department of Commerce, a non-regulatory agency, SBEAP provides free confidential information and services to help small businesses understand their environmental obligations.

For more information call 800.252.3998 or email dceo.sbeap@illinois.gov.

Free newsletter Clean Air Clips, to provide timely alerts about rule changes, reporting deadlines, and other articles of interest 




Five Illinois Manufacturers Receive National Recognition


Daily Herald

Five local manufacturers have earned national recognition for their work in creating programs to train the next generation.

The five companies, Felsomat USA Inc. of Schaumburg, North American Lighting of Paris, Principal Manufacturing Corporation of Broadview, Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corp. of Vernon Hills and Wittenstein North America of Bartlett, were honored for their exemplary work in initiating apprenticeships that prepare youth for in-demand occupations.

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a national network promoting economic development and opportunity, recently honored nine manufacturers across the United States as Young Adult Employer Champions for promoting Pathways to Apprenticeship. Of the nine award recipients, five were Illinois manufacturers participating in Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training Apprenticeships a workforce development initiative led by the IMA Education Foundation in partnership with the German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest and William Rainey Harper College.

"We're particularly humbled by these companies being singled out by the National Fund," said IMA President & CEO Greg Baise. "It reflects the high quality that ICATT apprenticeships are bringing to the marketplace to help companies adopt a long-range development plan that fulfills their workforce needs."

"The National Fund's approach to promoting regional prosperity centers on meeting the needs of employers, while at the same time preparing unemployed and underemployed workers for careers with living wages," National Fund President & CEO Fred Dedrick said. "The National Fund is proud to celebrate employer leaders who have the vision to recognize young adults' potential, the commitment to help prepare and hire them in good jobs."

The Illinois Manufacturers' Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities.



Rexnord Corporation Plans Manufacturing Hub-Aerospace Headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois


Area Development News Desk

Rexnord Corporation will build a new manufacturing facility and Aerospace Headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois. Rexnord plans to redevelop its existing site at 2400 Curtiss in the Ellsworth Business Park. 

Rexnord is comprised of two strategic platforms, Process & Motion Control and Water Management, with approximately 8,000 employees worldwide. The Process & Motion Control platform designs, manufactures, markets and services specified, highly engineered mechanical components used within complex systems. The Water Management platform designs, procures, manufactures and markets products that provide and enhance water quality, safety, flow control and conservation.

Downers Grove was selected for the project following a national search. Rexnord plans to build a 248,000 sq. ft. facility for its manufacturing operations and Aerospace Headquarters. The project is expected to be completed by 2019.



Will County Hears Plan for Business Park, Truck Bridge 


Susan DeMar LaffertyContact Reporter Daily Southtown


Will County officials recently got a peek at the proposed 2,200-acre business park in Jackson Township, with its developers' promises of pumping revenue into the Elwood and Manhattan areas, while keeping trucks off residential roads.

Patrick Robinson, vice president of development for the Kansas City-based NorthPoint Development, gave an overview of preliminary plans to invest $1.2 billion into the Compass Business Park, with 25 to 30 million square feet of warehousing, distribution and light manufacturing, and a privately funded bridge to keep trucks off Route 53 and local roads.

It would be located 1 mile east of Route 53 between Manhattan and Hoff Roads.

Members of the county board's ad hoc economic development committee said they were generally impressed with the concept, which addressed truck traffic and promised high-quality structures built with local labor.
Area residents — including Will County Executive Larry Walsh — have opposed the project, claiming it will change the quality of life in the rural area.

Proponents said future development will occur and trucks will come regardless of the business park.

John Greuling, CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development, told the committee that the county's soon-to-be-approved Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan does project "substantial growth" in this industry.

"The challenge of Will County is how to manage that," he said, noting that NorthPoint's proposed bridge is an "important element" in minimizing impact on local roads.

In addressing the committee last week, Robinson said he may need Will County's support to expand an existing enterprise zone in Diamond, to include Compass Business Park, making it eligible for tax breaks and financial incentives.

He said NorthPoint wants to "level the playing field in the Illinois environment" and would seek tax abatements in exchange for giving Elwood a one-time payment of $38 million to relieve its existing bond debt.

Enterprise zones are a state program designed to stimulate growth in economically depressed areas by offering incentives, such as exemption on state sales tax for building materials and the state utility taxes, and investment tax credits, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

There are three zones in the area, but the state limits the maximum square miles, Greuling said.

"It's an exciting project, but the reality is it is very early in the process," he said. "We don't know everything about it."

The firm owns about 500 of the 2,200 acres, which would have to be annexed and rezoned by both Elwood and Manhattan, officials said.

Robinson said they would begin in Elwood, move west to east, and build 1 million square feet at a time.

Robinson said he has met with hundreds of residents first to address their concerns before submitting formal plans to Elwood.

"We put people first. If we take care of the people, everything else will fall into place," he told the committee.

"We need something like this in Homer Glen or Lockport. It would be good for our town," said board member Steve Balich, R-Orland Park.

Elwood residents, however, have organized in opposition to the plan — "Just Say No to NorthPoint" — and it is spilling into Manhattan.

Supporting that effort is Walsh, who was born and raised in Jackson Township.

"This proposal would basically decimate what is left of Jackson Township as a community, as an agricultural township," said Walsh, whose sons continue to farm in the area.

"It comes down to do I want to see Will County completely engulfed in distribution centers and logistics, 2,000 to 3,000 acres at a time, in every township? I don't know if that's the quality of life I want for next generation," he said in a separate interview.
Walsh is aware of the impact truck traffic has had on the area, and his administration has undertaken the Freight Mobility Plan, which the county board is expected to consider for approval soon.

It will identify what infrastructure is needed to improve the flow of freight traffic, support a growing freight economy, keep trucks off residential streets and allow commuters to get to and from jobs, while having minimal impact on communities and coordinating land uses.
Issues of quality of life and livability are at the forefront of the freight study, Walsh said.

Better infrastructure would relieve some of the complaints, he said, and the county plans to use the study to secure funding to widen the interstates and improve other roads.

In his recent state of the county speech, Walsh said economic development is a "top priority," and "major developments are a possibility in our county, but without the necessary infrastructure in place to handle the flow of traffic safely, we may not be able to move forward," he said then.

Katie Hunt, an Elwood resident who opposes the development, said she has been in Elwood her entire life, but if Compass Business Park moves in, she will move out.

"I don't want to be in a place where I have to look at ugly warehouses instead of farmland," she said.

While NorthPoint's proposed bridge would keep trucks off routes 53 and 52, it will still add traffic onto CenterPoint's property, Arsenal Road, Baseline Road, and interstates 55 and 80, and "would double what we have now," Walsh said.

According to NorthPoint, there would be 3,415 trucks per day — in and out of the business park, and up to half of those would remain within Compass Business Park and the nearby intermodals, as trucks would transport goods from the rail cars to the warehouses and never use the interstates.

Additionally, NorthPoint officials told the committee, there could be 14,000 employees at full build-out, generating up to 1,600 vehicles during the peak evening rush hour.

The park would have 11 entrances for employees, including the bridge.

Robinson said area residents previously opposed housing developments on this land, which would have generated four times more traffic than the business park.

County board speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Township, reminded the committee that the area was once a "major military base" that employed about 20,000 people.

"The traffic has always been there. This is not something that would be new," he said.

Committee member Don Moran, D-Romeoville, noted that the freight study indicates that 66 percent of the trucks on the highways are passing through Will County and "will be here regardless" of future development.

He told Robinson he was "impressed with everything you had to say."

Aside from development issues, Hunt said her main concern is a lack of transparency from the village.

Hunt said the $38 million debt in general obligation bonds — incurred for the CenterPoint intermodal center — was never discussed publicly.

Gibson said Elwood does not have a lot of specific information regarding the financials of the business park proposal, nor the potential annexation agreement, but they are working on that now.

NorthPoint wanted to get public input first, she said, and she expects to see a submitted plan in a couple months.

"The only reason we are entertaining this is because the developer will build an overpass without state funding," Gibson said.

"My job is to get the best product from the developer, to make certain residents get the best project it can be," she said. "It's way too early to decide."

According to the proposal Robinson presented to the county board's economic development committee, NorthPoint will:

  • Provide $886 million in total tax revenue in the first 10 years, and $140 million in revenues annually after build-out.
  • Create 1,200 to 1,600 construction jobs during build-out.
  • Have a Project Labor Agreement, guaranteeing work with local unions.
  • Generate 15,000 permanent full-time jobs
  • Donate 27 acres of commercially zoned property along Route 53 to Elwood to begin a new retail zone.
  • Provide 400 acres of open space
  • Develop a "heritage farm" to honor the character of the area.
  • Provide a pedestrian connection from Elwood to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, via the bridge.
  • Install signage on the interstates and roads directing trucks on where to go.
  • Create a learning and career center in Elwood to develop a qualified workforce with emphasis on manufacturing jobs.


Authentic Illinois
Every Artifact in Your Attic Tells a Tale, and the Ones that Say "MFG in Chicago, ILL" Tell Ours




The Made-in-Chicago Museum, est. 2015, is a thoroughly unsolicited historical research project focused on collecting, documenting, and celebrating the "everyday objects" produced during Chicago's 20th century industrial heyday. What started out as a small collection of rusty metal knick-knacks in my Uptown apartment has since evolved into this website (which I humbly dubbed a digital "museum") and now an honest-to-gosh, real-life exhibition at the Edgewater Historical Society on Chicago's North Side.

There are roughly 200 industrial antiques and vintage wares on display here so far-all of them dating from 1900 to 1970, and all of them, of course, Made in Chicago.

From old advertising tins to tools, toy trains, telephones, and typewriters, each product included in the Made-In-Chicago Museum provides a rabbit hole to its own unique little origin story-complete with the innovators, immigrants, entrepreneurs, and working stiffs who delivered it to the world. Start weaving the various company histories together, and you gradually get a better sense of the city of Chicago itself, and how it became one of the manufacturing capitals of the world.

If a museum theme or philosophy has emerged over the years, it's that art and industry are not mutually exclusive, and that the innovative products built by the skilled workers in a factory can reflect a time and place just as much, if not more, than any singular work of art. Considering the thousands of Chicago manufacturing businesses that have come and gone over the decades, I've never set a goal of being comprehensive here. Instead, I let the items I find out in the world determine which companies I add to the website next. After that, the biggest goal is to encourage new insights and feedback from "museum patrons" with their own personal memories of these products and the people behind them. Ultimately, this will help produce a useful resource on Chicago industrial history that goes beyond corporate accounts into the always preferable nitty-gritty.

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