Fixing Illinois’ loss of jobs

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Oppor­tunity and business stake­holders are forming a newly-formed private, non-profit ­organization focusing exclusively on ­increasing Illinois’ competitiveness for job ­creation and investment.

“Illinois is at a critical crossroad,” Illinois Department of Commerce Director Jim Schultz said. “We have among the best assets in the world, including unparalleled access to global markets with our five inter­national ­airports, seven Class I railroads, the third largest interstate highway ­system in the country, the third ­largest intermodal port in the world, and more. We have over 200 higher ­education institutions around the state, a ­growing ­innovation ecosystem, a diverse and dynamic workforce, along with an abundance of ­natural resources. There is no reason Illinois should not have a thriving economy.”

Yet we continue to lag behind other states and national averages, and we are losing a steady stream of ­businesses, jobs and residents to other states. Last year, Illinois lost an ­average 250 jobs a month and ended 2015 with 3,000 fewer jobs, in stark contrast with overall national growth.

Schultz said, “The rigid structure and suffocating bureaucracy of the Department of Commerce hinder our ability to attract businesses to Illinois and to drive economic development. A mere 14 percent of Department of Commerce staff is dedicated to ­economic development activities, ­limiting the resources to attract and to retain business, which is a disservice to Illinois ­businesses and taxpayers.”

The Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBEDC), modeled from best practices of other successful state and local economic develop­ment ­organizations, will focus on sales, marketing and exceptional ­customer service.

For additional information on the ILBEDC, please visit www.ilbedc.org

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