Chamber Members:

Today’s update will be the last one for the week and will reappear in your inbox on Monday, April 12th after taking a week off.  Before it’s forgotten, if you have not yet voted please make plans to do so with the last option being in person at your normal polling place on Tuesday, April 6th.

The update below focuses on the massive infrastructure plan officially unveiled yesterday from President Biden, the usual Thursday employment report, and a new state school guide. Have a great weekend and we’ll reconnect on 4/12.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Five Takeaways on Biden Administrations Big Infrastructure Package
President Biden on Wednesday outlined what he called a “bold” $2 trillion plus plan to make aggressive investments in repairing U.S. infrastructure and addressing climate change with the goal of spurring job creation.

The investments would be made over eight years, and Biden’s plan relies on a hike to the corporate tax rate to 28 percent that the White House says will pay for the new investments over 15 years.

Here are five takeaways from the announcement:

The proposal is not bold enough for progressives
Biden’s proposal is being met with resistance from some members of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing who argue that it is not large enough, particularly to address climate change. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted Tuesday that the package “needs to be way bigger,” as she noted that the $2.25 trillion plan would be spent over a much longer timetable than Biden’s rescue package.

Meanwhile, a coalition of progressive organizations making up the Green New Deal Network are pressing Biden for bolder action to address climate change, such as the $10 trillion climate agenda backed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and other members of the progressive caucus. The groups have organized grassroots events across the country to highlight the message that Biden must go bolder.  Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, described Biden’s plan as a good first step but said that more is needed to address climate change. “As an infrastructure plan, it’s a home run. As a climate policy, it’s a really significant step, and hopefully there are more steps to come,” Green said.

GOP unlikely to offer support
Getting GOP support for a bill paid for through tax increases was always going to be difficult for the White House, and Republicans were quick to signal their opposition to raising the corporate tax rate.

“Our nation could use a serious, targeted infrastructure plan. There would be bipartisan support for a smart proposal. Unfortunately, the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

The Biden proposal calls for paying for the legislation over a 15-year period by raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. The proposal leaves out other ideas that had been batted around, such as a wealth tax or an increase in the capital gains tax for certain Americans.

The White House has been adamant that Biden’s proposal is a starting point and the administration will seek out members of Congress in both parties to decide how to best move forward, but it’s unclear how the president will be able to satisfy Republicans who are both opposed to tax increases and against adding to the deficit.

The plan goes well beyond roads and bridges
Biden is proposing a $620 billion investment to repair America’s aging transportation infrastructure that the White House says will fix 20,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges — but the scope is much larger.  The plan puts $174 million toward boosting the electric vehicle market, setting up incentives for state and local governments to build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers over the next decade.

Biden is also proposing more than $100 billion in funding to ensure safe drinking water by eliminating all lead pipes and service lines. The plan aims to invest $100 billion in expanding broadband access to all Americans, particularly those in rural areas and other underserved communities.

One prong of the package is designed to enhance the “care economy,” with Biden calling for $400 billion to expand access to home and community-based services for elderly people and those with disabilities.

Biden’s plan is also formulated to address racial inequities, including by proposing a $10 billion investment in research and development at historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions in the United States and $15 billion for establishing centers of excellence at these institutions to provide graduate fellowships and similar opportunities.
Biden also satisfied gun safety advocates by including in his plan a proposed $5 billion for community violence prevention programs.

Biden bets on big government
Some Democrats and historians have begun likening Biden’s legislative initiatives to those of former President Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal aimed to pull the country out of the Great Depression by implementing new government programs to address economic insecurity and drive private sector growth. With a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 spending package under his belt, Biden is again aiming to reimagine how the government and economy interact with his $2+ trillion infrastructure bill.

The proposal will touch on many different aspects of American life. In addition to making investments in traditional infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and broadband, the bill would also direct government money toward electric vehicles, green energy projects, the health care sector, child benefits, elderly care and developing future technologies.

Biden makes the case for the moment
Biden made the case for passing his sweeping infrastructure plan during an address in western Pennsylvania, arguing that passing it was a test of whether democracies can work for their people.

He spoke with urgency and suggested that America’s future depends on his plan to reshape the economy. “We have to move now. Because I am convinced that if we act now, in 50 years people are going to look back and say, this was the moment that America won the future,” Biden said in an afternoon address at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center.

White House Hopes Infrastructure Bill Passes by Summer
President Biden hopes to see Congress pass his infrastructure and climate proposal by this summer, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, setting a slightly longer timeline than his recently enacted coronavirus relief package.

Psaki told reporters at an afternoon briefing that the extra time will allow for more White House negotiations with congressional Republicans and Democrats, particularly since the legislation does not carry the same level of urgency as the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law last month. Still, she said Biden would like to see “progress” by the end of May.

“The American Rescue Plan was an emergency package, we needed to get it done as quickly as possible to get the pandemic under control, to get relief, direct checks out to Americans,” Psaki said. “We’ve got a little bit more time here to work and have discussions with members of both parties,” she continued. “We want to see progress by Memorial Day, we’d like to see this package passed by the summer. But I certainly expect when Congress returns that the president will be inviting members to the Oval Office.”

The timetable is nevertheless viewed as ambitious for such a large package, and it’s possible that it could take several months to get a bill through. Biden has offered to host lawmakers from both sides of the aisle at the White House to discuss the details of his $2.25 trillion proposal, which he laid out Wednesday. The package would fund improvements to roads and bridges, expand broadband and invest in climate-friendly technologies. The measure would be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate.

The White House has said it would prefer to pass the proposal with bipartisan support but has not ruled out using budget reconciliation — which Democrats used to pass the coronavirus relief package — to get the bill through Congress without any GOP votes.

GOP Response Places Infrastructure Plan on Likely Road to Reconciliation
Republican leaders blasted President Joe Biden’s plans for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan as an anti-business, tax-and-spend package that likely will become the second proposal from the president that will have to be pushed through Congress in a partisan reconciliation bill.

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said the spending proposal amounted to an economic “sugar high” that would boost U.S. corporate income tax rates to 28 percent, which would be among the highest in developed countries and would be “worse than China’s” 25 percent base corporate rate.

Democrats frequently complained that the 2017 tax code overhaul, passed via reconciliation without a single Democratic vote, created a “sugar high” by pumping $1.9 trillion into the economy during an economic boom.

The features drawing the most Republican ire are Biden’s call for the corporate income tax rate to rise to 28 percent from 21 percent and for the 10.5 percent minimum tax rate paid by U.S. multinationals to double.

These changes, though, were well-known features of Biden’s presidential campaign, said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Gleckman does not expect the center will have to update its estimate from October, when it said Biden’s business tax proposals would raise $1.1 trillion over 10 years. “Nobody in corporate America should be surprised,” he said.

The one surprise from the Biden administration was to say the $2 trillion infrastructure package would be paid for with these corporate tax increases over a 15-year period. By statute, Congress measures revenue impacts of tax changes over 10 years. “I guess they couldn’t make the numbers work over 10,” Gleckman said.

While Republican reactions suggested that Democrats would have to go the reconciliation route again, which would allow Congress to enact tax legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate, the biggest challenges Biden faces could come from Democrats.

Biden’s plan is more modest than independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal to restore the 35 percent corporate tax rate, which was in place before the 2017 overhaul. And Biden’s proposal is more aggressive than repeated hints from Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., a key moderate, that he would favor a smaller raise, to 25 percent.

New Transportation Funds Would be on Top of Highway Bill
The $115 billion investment in bridges, highways and roads proposed in President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan would come in addition to spending to be included in a surface transportation reauthorization due Sept. 30, a Transportation Department official confirmed Wednesday.

The current highway bill, a one-year extension of the 2015 law, will expire Sept. 30. It includes about $45 billion annually for the nation’s more than 1 billion miles of federal aid highways, as well as $12.3 billion annually for transit. That bill is primarily funded by the Highway Trust Fund, which is paid for through gas taxes.

But the plan Biden announced Wednesday makes no mention of the gas tax, with Biden instead pushing changes to the tax code to pay for the $2 trillion package and characterizing the proposal as a one-time capital investment.

That package includes $115 billion for bridges, highways, roads, and streets, with an additional $85 billion for transit over eight years. Highways received an additional $10 billion in coronavirus relief dollars last year, while transit agencies, which saw ridership vanish in the days after the pandemic, received nearly $70 billion cumulatively so far in 2020 and 2021.

In all, Biden estimates $621 billion of the bill would be for transportation infrastructure. That figure also includes $80 billion for Amtrak, $174 billion to boost the fledgling market for electric vehicles, $25 billion for airports and $17 billion for ports. Biden also calls for a $50 billion investment in “resilient infrastructure” that can withstand extreme weather events.

While the administration’s proposal aims to address climate change throughout the transportation portion, it also includes policies aimed at restoring communities that were divided by federal highways and other infrastructure.

It proposes $20 billion for a new program aimed at reconnecting neighborhoods cut off by infrastructure. Such programs have received particular emphasis in the Biden administration, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg repeatedly emphasizing the need for equity, singling out the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans or Interstate-81 in Syracuse as examples of communities divided by highways.

In all, Biden hopes to modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and streets, fix the 10 most economically significant bridges that need reconstruction and repair 10,000 smaller bridges.

President Biden Backs $100 Billion Towards Closing Digital Divide
President Joe Biden on Wednesday proposed investing $100 billion in an effort to make high-speed internet available throughout the country and affordable for every American.

Likening the investment to the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, which brought power to farms and country towns throughout the heartland as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the administration said the investment would provide broadband to roughly 30 million people living in unserved or underserved areas and prioritize affordability for families in rural, urban, and tribal areas alike. The $100 billion for broadband is part of a $2 trillion infrastructure package.

To achieve coverage everywhere, especially rural areas where larger providers often decline to operate because of a lack of profit, the administration is proposing prioritizing subsidies for networks affiliated with nonprofits, local governments, and electric cooperatives — “providers with less pressure to turn profits and with a commitment to serving entire communities,” according to an outline of the plan.

The proposal would also prioritize “future proof” internet speeds to avoid building out networks that will be quickly outdated and deployment of broadband networks on tribal lands, the outline said.

To achieve 100 percent affordability, the administration signaled that Biden would continue to support short-term subsidy programs approved by Congress to connect families during the pandemic but will ultimately seek a long-term solution that would lower the cost of internet service.

Business Groups Clash with President Over Proposed Tax Hike
President Biden is facing his first big test with the business community after industry leaders made clear Wednesday they will not support an infrastructure package financed in part through a corporate tax hike.

The business community has long called for broad infrastructure legislation and previously embraced Biden’s commitment to spend massive sums on roads, bridges and even climate change initiatives. But they’ve also warned that he would lose their support if he insisted on raising taxes for U.S. companies.

Now, trade groups say they plan on making their case to lawmakers. “We’ll be lobbying Congress on both aspects of the plan — infrastructure and tax. We want to find a path forward that does not include an increase to corporate tax rate,” a spokesperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association told The Hill.

Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber is “prepared to lobby to make sure” the final bill does not include higher taxes. Those comments came on the heels of the Business Roundtable saying it strongly opposed a tax increase and wanted Congress to come up with a solution to fund infrastructure another way.

The White House has said it will work with congressional Republicans and Democrats in hopes of finding common ground for financing the infrastructure package. But GOP lawmakers are highly unlikely to support any new taxes or tax increases. Biden’s proposal would increase the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and establish a minimum global tax. The 2017 GOP tax law lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

The National Association of Manufacturers voiced support for Biden’s plan on Wednesday, just not the way he wants to pay for it. “Achieving our shared goals will be the result of debate, discussion and collaboration with the administration and both parties in Congress,” CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement.

Some business groups have suggested a gas or mileage tax as a way to finance the projects proposed by Biden. Bradley told The Hill that the Chamber would support a gas tax or mileage tax increase to pay for infrastructure. But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier this week that neither one will be part of the conversation around the bill.

Business groups largely indicated that they don’t consider this the end of the discussion and that negotiations are just getting started. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has made similar comments, saying earlier on Wednesday that this is “the beginning of a process.”

“It’s clear there’s a potential for the business community to support a broader infrastructure plan, something that they’ve long called for, and it’s important to remember we’re only at the very beginning of this process,” said Stacey Rolland, senior vice president at Forbes-Tate Partners who worked in the Treasury Department during the Obama administration and as a senior policy adviser to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“There will be a lot of work, discussions with members, and negotiations ahead to strike the right balance for passage,” she added.  But the swift response from the business community nonetheless marks a notable shift in its relations with Biden. When Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed Congress without Republican support, the business community largely embraced it.

Newest Unemployment Numbers
Initial Jobless Claims went back up last week, crossing the 700,000 mark many thought we’d left behind and up from the 675,000 analysts were expecting. It’s also up 62,000 from the previous week’s 657,000, though this figure was drastically reduced on this week’s revision, from the 684,000 originally reported. Thus, it makes this week-over-week spike pointier, but averaged out more or less as expected.

Continuing Claims were again lower than the previous week — 3.79 million versus the downwardly revised 3.84 million — and a steady (if plateauing) reduction week over week since the start of 2021. One key note which makes both Initial and Continuing Claims look better: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which had been absorbing more and more unemployed citizens every week, fell 400,000 in this latest read. This is a good development for the labor force overall.

Tomorrow’s nonfarm payroll report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will be the final shoe dropping on the employment situation for the week, which will then have ramifications for economic projections going forward. Several analysts are calling for February’s very good 379,000 new jobs created to have roughly doubled in March, as reopening’s continue and Covid vaccinations meet head-on with a year’s worth of pent-up demand.

State Releases Learning Renewal Resource Guide
Governor Pritzker announced the release of a new 180-page Learning Renewal Resource Guide to help school officials identify and address the most significant challenges they face. Pritzker said Illinois school districts can expect to receive roughly $7 billion in federal funds to help them transition back to in-person learning, mainly through the recently passed American Rescue Plan. About 90 percent of that money will come in the form of direct payments.

In addition, higher education institutions in Illinois will receive about $1.3 billion from the third round of federal relief that was approved in December, for a total of $2.5 billion across all three rounds of federal funding, mainly from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

“With these enormous new resources comes the great challenge that most districts have never had to face – how to avoid having the last 12 months become the lost year for our students,” Pritzker said at a news conference at South Elgin High School in the western Chicago suburbs, the state’s second-largest school district. “To revitalize learning for teachers and students and educators, our response must be intensive, holistic and practical.”

The resource guide is the work of the Illinois P-20 Council, an agency established in 2009 to study and make recommendations for all levels of education, from preschool through post-college education. The guide was developed in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, with support from A Better Chicago and Advance Illinois.

Just as the pandemic exacerbated inequities that already existed within the nation’s health care system, State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said it also had a disproportionate impact on low-income students, who often have limited or no access to home computers or broadband internet service, as well as students of color. But she also said that as schools reopen post-pandemic, they will have a new set of resources to help address those underlying inequities.

“With the influx of federal funding and the learning renewal resource guide, we are now presented with a unique opportunity to transform systems of learning for students, to reshape our new normal, so that our students return to an education system that is more equitable, more individualized and more responsive to their needs,” she said.

Melissa Figueira, senior policy associate with Advance Illinois, said it has also had a dramatic impact on enrollment at all levels of education – an estimated 1.9 percent drop in pre-K through 12 schools, with the biggest declines in kindergarten through third grade, and a 5 percent decline in post-secondary enrollment.

The resource guide details 12 topics that districts and higher education institutions may want to consider to equitably address the pandemic’s short-term and long-term impacts. Among them are ways to support enrollment and retention, redesigning the school calendar by expanding school days and the school year, ways to provide out of classroom learning experiences through tutoring, before and after school programs and summer camps, and enhancing the availability of both academic and behavioral counseling.

In addition to the resource guide, the governor’s office said in a statement that state education agencies will focus on four major goals to support schools: high-impact tutoring; social and emotional learning community partnerships; interim assessments to measure the impact the pandemic has had on student learning; and to encourage enrollment in both early childhood programs and higher education.

Program Notices & Reminders – Expanded Information

American Rescue Plan and Funding Updates for Illinois Small Business Owners
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 4:30pm (CT)
Register for the webinar to learn more »

The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that includes $50 billion for new and existing small business relief programs, has now been signed into law. Join Small Business Majority and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois District Office for their bi-weekly webinar to learn more about what the American Rescue Plan will mean for your small business and to hear updates on federal funding as well as new federal support funds, loan forgiveness and the free federal and non-profit resources to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Hollywood Casino Joliet Partnering with Illinois Dept. of Public Health to Host Covid Mobile Testing Program
Hollywood Casino Joliet announced that it is partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) to host a COVID-19 mobile testing program in the casino’s parking lot.

The IDPH’s mobile testing program in Hollywood Casino’s parking lot will take place from 8:00am to 4:00pm on April 3. Individuals seeking COVID-19 tests will not need a photo ID nor need to be showing signs of symptoms to receive a test. The mobile testing program accepts insurance, however an insurance card is not necessary to be tested. For the uninsured or if insurance does not cover the cost of the test, the state of Illinois will cover the cost.

The COVID-19 mobile testing program will use anterior nares swabs to test patients, with specimens being shipped to a lab to run on a polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) testing machine which makes it possible to detect COVID-19 with a very high degree of accuracy. Individuals tested will receive a phone call between 4-7 days from the date of their test from the number 888-297-7208. Patients who miss the call will be requested to call back in order to receive results as they cannot be left via voicemail.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Joliet Junior College
Here are our upcoming no-cost webinars:
Social Media – Stop Posting! Start Marketing (with Joe Sanders) on April 1 at 11am
Are you taking advantage of the opportunities and changes in Social Media? Learn the five-step process: Find the Right Audience; Create the Right Content; Promote Your Business as a Brand; Use Ample Resources; and Analyze the Results. Digital Marketing expert, podcast host and author Joe Sanders, from Relevant Elephant, will share a powerful overview of how to improve your social media strategy and WHY you need to take action.
Social Media – Stop Posting! Start Marketing! (with Joe Sanders) (

Video Marketing for Small Business (with Mike at Acclaim Media) on April 8 at 11am
Video production once meant bringing in a full production crew to produce a television commercial. Now, a child can produce a quality video on their phone. And that video is a very important component to your website, social media pages, product information, as well as your local advertising. Learn the benefits of video marketing and hear from Mike Poglitsch at Acclaim Media about how easy the process can be.
Video Marketing for Small Business (

Funding Your Business (with Nancy Kuzma) on April 14th at 2pm
Funding your business is critical for start-ups as well as companies who are looking to expand. Establishing business credit is the first step. Get a basic understanding of what banks look for to qualify for a loan from Nancy Kuzma of Old Plank Trail Community Bank/Wintrust Community Bank.
Funding Your Business Webinar (

Government Certification Process (with Rita Haake at COD) on April 27th at 1pm
Certifications: Interpreting the alphabet to pursue profits! Which small business certification is the best one for you?
Your options:
• Federal: 8(a), EDWOSB, HUBZone, SDB, SDVOSB, WOSB, VOSB
• Local: DBE, MBE, WBE, VBE
You will learn the details of the application process, documentation requirements, certification options, and how to market and leverage certifications for the growth of your business.
Webinar: The Certification Process (

Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020.   The SBA has announced that they will begin to accept applications under this program on April 8, 2021.  The application portal will open in a tiered approach.  Please check the SBA website (link below) for more information. 

Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.  Eligible entities include:
o    Live venue operators or promoters
o    Theatrical producers
o    Live performing arts organization operators
o    Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
o    Motion picture theater operators
o    Talent representatives, and
o    Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements

This program is not yet open for applications. SBA has issued more guidance on this program in the past week.  Applicants can apply for PPP prior to applying to the SVOG program.  If they do receive a PPP loan after 12/27/20, they will have the SVOG reduced by the PPP loan amount.  To follow updates on this program, please click here to go to the SBA’s website.  Applicants must also have a valid registration to apply for this program.  Here’s a link to a video on how to apply: Entity Registration Training – YouTube .

Small Business Administration Program: Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
This week SBA announced that for loans approved starting the week of April 6, 2021, the maximum loan amount will be increased to $500,000.  For loans approved prior to the week of April 6, 2021, please click here for information from SBA on loan increases.

The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.  These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The first payment is deferred for one year.  Applicants must be physically located in the U.S. or designated territory and suffered working capital losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons.  Eligible applicants include the following:

  •  Cooperatives with 500 or fewer employees
  •  Agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees

•     Most private nonprofits
•     Faith-based organizations
•     Sole proprietorships and independent contractors

The deadline to apply for this program has been extended to December 31, 2021.  The SBA has also extended deferment periods for all disaster loans including EIDL until 2022.  All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.  All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.  For more information and the application, please click here to go to the SBA’s website.

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
Team RED will be hosting numerous program webinars over the next few weeks.  Please join us and learn about these programs.  While different team members from around the state are hosting the webinars, they are open to anyone to attend.  You can view the full list of upcoming events on our website here.

Overview of WIOA Workforce Business Services
Date and Time:  Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 2pm
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about Illinois Workforce Programs that can benefit both Employers and Employee’s with items like hiring, training, Apprenticeship programs, and other Business Services.
Registration Link:

Overview of DCEO Programs
Date and Time:  Friday, April 9, 2021 at 10:00 am
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar as we give an overview of the agency and talk about the programs available to help businesses.
Registration Link:

Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA)
Date and time: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:00 am
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Pre-Award Process.  The Department uses an accountability program to take a customer-centered approach to grants management and monitoring.  The agency, which administers and oversees nearly 10,000 grants each fiscal year, manages various economic, community and workforce development programs, services, and initiatives.  The Department of Commerce partners with businesses, local governments, nonprofit organizations, workers, and families to enhance the state’s economy.
Register Here:

Advantage Illinois Loan Program for Small Businesses
Date and time: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 6:00 PM
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Advantage Illinois Loan Program.
This program enhances capital for Illinois businesses, which is a top priority. By working with the state’s banking community and venture capitalists, DCEO will help entrepreneurs and small
businesses start-up, expand, and create new jobs at a faster rate.
Register Here:

Advantage Illinois: How local community banks can partner with the State of Illinois to help small business
Date and time: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:00 am
Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority. The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity. Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is here to assist. In this webinar you will learn how the state’s banking community can help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand, and create new jobs at a faster rate by partnering with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity through this participation loan program. Guest speakers include John D. Hill and Mark Schultz, Advantage Illinois Team for the Office of Business Development. Local community banks are encouraged to attend!
Register Here:

Team RED Office hours
DCEO’s Regional Economic Development Team is hosting weekly office hours on the days and times listed below.  These sessions are designed as open times that the Team is available.  The Team will provide you with the latest updates and answer any questions you may have on state or federal programs.  Feel free to drop in for any assistance you need.  If these times do not work for you, please reach out to your regional Team RED representative.  We’re always here to help.

Mondays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link:

Wednesdays from 1pm – 2pm
Meeting link:

Thursdays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link:

Fridays from 10am – 11am
Meeting link:

Finally, for those residing in the City of Joliet, here is the link to view the answers to our city council candidate questionnaire and here is the link to view our recent in person candidate forum. Remember that in person voting takes place on Tuesday, April 6 and view for information pertaining to deadlines for vote by mail ballots and early voting locations.

Also, here is the link to the recording of our State of the City address with Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct