Chamber Members:

It’s always good to start your weekend with some good news. Today, even with the differing and back and forth news and views on covid #’s and vaccines, we have to be happy with the latest announcement. More than 30 percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated and nearly half of the U.S. adult population has received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The numbers — fully vaccinated: Roughly 78.3 million American adults — or 30.3 percent — have been fully vaccinated and at least one dose: Roughly 124.8 million American adults — or 48.3 percent — have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. What does this mean? If the U.S. continues to administer 3 million vaccine shots a day, Anthony Fauci said we could hit herd immunity by June! Now, a million things can change by then as they have over the last few days & weeks, but the light at the end of the tunnel is definitely on and getting brighter.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

IDOT Announces Start of Numerous Will County Projects
The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that multiple improvement projects in the Will County area are scheduled to get underway beginning this spring. The seven projects represent a total investment of more than $140 million for the region, with $75 million coming from Gov. JB Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program.

“With the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, we are restoring and transforming Illinois’s aging infrastructure,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Rebuild Illinois is not only about investing in infrastructure but about investing in people and communities as well. In the coming months, IDOT will undertake projects that will ultimately create safer roads and bridges and provide jobs in the Will County area and across the entire state.”

Projects include:

• I-55 from Interstate 80 to U.S. 52 (Jefferson Street)
The project will convert the existing interchange into a diverging diamond interchange and add auxiliary lanes along both sides of I-55. Three lanes of I-55 in both directions will be maintained throughout construction, with one lane in each direct on local routes. The project is scheduled to begin in fall 2021 and completed fall 2023.

• I-55 at Illinois 59
A new bridge will be constructed as part of advance work for a new diverging diamond interchange. Three lanes of I-55 in both directions will be maintained throughout construction. Work is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and completed fall 2021.

• I-55 from north of River Road to north of the I&M Canal
Resurfacing project, with rumble strips installed on shoulders. Overnight lane closures will be required, with multiple weekend lane closures anticipated. The project is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and completed fall 2021.

• I-55 from south of I-80 to Weber Road
Rehabilitation of three bridges that carry I-55 over U.S. 30, Canadian National Railroad and Mink Creek. Two lanes of I-55 will be maintained between the bridges throughout construction. Overnight lane closures are anticipated. The project is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and completed fall 2021.

• I-55 at Illinois 53 and I-55 at Joliet Road
Both structures will be re-decked and widened. Three lanes of I-55 in both directions will be maintained throughout construction and overnight lane closures are anticipated. The project is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and completed fall 2021.

• I-80 from Gardner Street to Rowell Avenue (eastbound) and Richard Street (westbound)
Pavement reconstruction, widening, replacing, or rehabilitating the eastbound I-80 bridges over Hickory Creek, Richards Street and Canadian National Railroad/Rowell Avenue and westbound Richards Street. Two lanes of I-80 in both directions will be maintained through construction. The eastbound I-80 ramp to Richard Street will close during the second stage of construction. The overall project is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and completed fall 2022.

• Illinois 1 from Burrville Road to just north of Illinois 394 and Illinois 394 from Illinois 1 to County Line Road
Resurfacing project, with new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps and culvert replacement between Elmscourt Street and New Monee Road. Daily lane closures will be necessary to complete the project, which is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and completed fall 2021.

These projects are in addition to ongoing interchange reconstructions and capacity improvements at U.S. 30 and I-80 and Webber Road and I-55.

“These projects represent a significant investment in the Will County area and are a big step forward in our work to improve safety, mobility and create economic opportunity for years to come,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We’re asking drivers to be patient, slow down and pay extra attention driving in and around any work zone.”

Senate Republicans Prepare Their Own Infrastructure Plan
A group of moderate Senate Republicans signaled they are preparing to offer their own proposal to reform the nation’s infrastructure, as GOP lawmakers seek to significantly pare back the roughly $2 trillion in new spending endorsed by President Biden.

The Republican alternative is expected to be less than half the size of the White House’s plan, according to party lawmakers, who in recent days have suggested its total price tag could ultimately cost between $600 billion and $800 billion.

Moderate GOP members of Congress also have pledged to narrow their focus to include only the elements they consider traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, while jettisoning the corporate tax increases that Biden has endorsed in favor of other ways of financing the overall package.

The discussions appear to be underway among a group of 10 Republicans, including Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Bill Cassidy (La.), who each hinted at early legislative efforts during interviews over the past day. Romney told reporters Wednesday that the process is still in its “early stages,” though he signaled Republicans would potentially discuss it Thursday. He also said GOP leaders could eventually try to engage with 10 centrist-leaning Democrats to broaden their coalition. But the Republicans’ new effort threatened to further widen the political rift with Democrats, who fretted that the moderates’ scaled-back focus and slimmed-down spending simply would not be enough to tackle the challenges they say the country faces.

President Biden has taken a broad view of infrastructure, coupling proposed investments in the country’s inner workings with other programs to combat climate change, help schools and care for seniors. He aims to finance the vast package predominately through an increase in the corporate tax rate, unwinding the tax cuts previously authorized by President Donald Trump. But President Biden also has signaled an openness to compromising on the full thrust of the package, telling lawmakers at a meeting in the Oval Office earlier this week that his appeal to bipartisanship amounts to more than “window dressing.” In doing so, White House officials and Democratic lawmakers have sought to emphasize they are only willing to negotiate for so long, raising the specter that they could try to muscle infrastructure reform through Congress on their own.

President Biden to Address Congress on April 28
President Biden is slated to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, roughly 100 days after he took office. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) invited Biden to make the address in a letter released publicly earlier this week. The president has accepted the invitation, a White House official confirmed.

“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!” Pelosi wrote in the letter. “In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi added.

Newly inaugurated presidents typically make their first address to Congress within weeks of taking office, though Biden had so far not done so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with most lawmakers and a growing number of staff now vaccinated, it’s a sign that congressional leaders feel more confident in gathering large groups in the House chamber.

Still, Biden’s first appearance before Congress as president won’t look like typical joint sessions of the past. Numerous pandemic health precautions will remain in place. According to a Capitol official involved in the planning, there will be a limited number of House members and senators in the chamber. Some lawmakers will also be seated in the galleries overlooking the House floor to allow for additional social distancing.

Lawmakers further won’t be allowed to invite guests to the address, given that the visitors’ galleries are still closed to the public due to the pandemic. The invitation comes after Biden secured his top legislative priority: a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. He’s now in the midst of trying to advance an infrastructure proposal, which is expected to receive action in Congress this summer. Some other priorities Biden may outline to Congress include passage of voting rights legislation and gun law reforms in the wake of several recent mass shootings.

*This is old news from last week that wasn’t covered yet – Pelosi Back Two-Bill Infrastructure Strategy
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has backed the White House’s pitch to split its infrastructure plans into two packages — one emphasizing tangible assets like roads, bridges and broadband and another focused on “human” infrastructure — despite progressives’ push for a bundled approach.

President Joe Biden unveiled his proposal for spending more than $2 trillion on physical infrastructure and workforce development over eight years, as well as a slate of corporate and international tax changes aimed at paying it off over 15 years.

In the coming weeks, Biden is planning to release a second plan for education, health, and child and elder care funding that is expected to cost more than $1 trillion. Releasing the proposals in two parts suggests the White House believes breaking them up might make them easier to swallow politically. But the administration has ultimately deferred to congressional leaders to make decisions about legislative strategy.

During her weekly news conference, Pelosi offered her first indication that she plans to keep the proposals separate when it comes time to bring them to the House floor. “I think we will have two bills,” the California Democrat said.

Pelosi said the goal is to get bipartisan support for both bills, but “especially the infrastructure bill” that invests in highways, mass transit, water, schools, broadband, housing and more. “If we have to go to reconciliation, that’s a lever, but I hope it’s not something that we need to do,” she said.

The speaker did not identify at what point Democrats would decide whether they have the Republican support needed to proceed without reconciliation and whether that would occur before or after committees of jurisdiction mark up the legislation. She would only say that Democrats are hoping for bipartisan support “every step of the way.”

Using the budget reconciliation process would allow Democrats to avoid the Senate filibuster and pass the bill with a simple-majority vote. But that would require total party unity and potentially force Democrats to drop some provisions that may not be allowed under the reconciliation rules that require every provision to have more than an incidental budget impact.

The reconciliation process also requires Democrats to adhere to a strict topline spending number, which would be provided in a budget resolution containing reconciliation instructions for specific committees.

In the House, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is pushing for the physical and social infrastructure proposals to be combined into one bill. “Our preference is for a single, ambitious package that would include both physical infrastructure and care infrastructure — these investments go hand-in-hand, and we need both to restore our economy and empower families,” Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said in a statement last week.

“People — especially women and people of color who have suffered disproportionate job losses during this recession — can’t get back to work without childcare, or long-term care, or investments in education and job retraining,” the Washington Democrat added. “This human infrastructure cannot be secondary to the physical infrastructure needs we have as a country.”

Pelosi taking a different position from progressives is risky since she’ll need virtually all of them to vote for whatever bills Democrats put together if they can’t get Republican support. Given tight margins in the House, which are expected to fluctuate slightly with special elections in the coming months, Pelosi can lose only two to three Democratic votes on any measure that Republicans are unified against.

Progressives also argue that moving one bill instead of two is more practical from a timing perspective. “We have a limited window to get this done — we must seize our chance to build back better with economy-wide investments that work for working families and communities of color,” Jayapal said.

*This is old news from last week that wasn’t covered yet – Five Takeaways from President Biden’s First Budget Proposal
President Biden’s budget proposal kicked off what’s likely to be a long, drawn-out fight in Congress over how to fund the federal government starting Oct. 1.

Biden’s first budget request as president calls for raising annual discretionary spending to $1.52 trillion. That amount includes a 15.7 percent increase in domestic spending and a 1.7 percent boost in defense. Although the spending plan omitted details on taxes and mandatory spending programs, as well as the usual 10-year projection for spending and revenues, it nonetheless offers valuable insights into Biden’s priorities.

Here are five key takeaways from the Biden budget proposal.

Austerity is out, big government is in
Biden’s budget affirmed his embrace of government spending and comes on the heels of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, a proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure package and subsequent $2 trillion measure focused on issues like childcare and college tuition.

The $1.52 trillion budget request, up $118 billion from current levels, is 25 percent higher than discretionary spending was at the end of the Obama administration. The Biden administration is making the argument that the pendulum has swung too far toward austerity over the years, resulting in a lack of resources that exacerbated inequality, left the country’s infrastructure in an unenviable state of disrepair, created educational stagnation, and allowed social ills to fester.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the administration’s push comes amid a major economic and health crisis, while arguing that the difficulties the nation faces go beyond the current emergencies. “We’re also inheriting a legacy of chronic underinvestment, in our view, in priorities that are vital to our long-term success and our ability to confront the challenges before us, so the president is focused on reversing this trend and reinvesting in the foundations of our strength,” she said.

Rather than keep government spending on its current trajectory, leaving the major increases to his “Build Back Better” agenda, Biden’s proposal supersized the things the federal government does every day, from investing in health research to funding Pell grants. His proposal also coincides with the expiration of a decade’s worth of budget caps from the 2011 Budget Control Act.

The defense budget is still a sacred cow
Budget watchers had expected Biden to keep defense spending flat, and progressives sought a 10 percent cut, but Biden surprised both by increasing the Pentagon’s budget. His proposal would add $12.3 billion to the defense budget, a 1.7 percent increase, which in a typical year would just keep pace with inflation. At a total of $753 billion, it leaves in place significant increases to defense spending that former President Trump set in motion.

As a point of comparison, the defense budget was $590 billion when Biden left office as vice president in 2017. But even the unexpected increase in Friday’s budget proposal highlighted the political sensitivities around defense spending.

A joint statement by top Republicans, including those on defense and budget committees in the Senate, characterized the 1.7 increase as a virtual cut and accused Biden of ceding ground to China and Russia. “President Biden’s budget proposal cuts defense spending, sending a terrible signal not only to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow, but also to our allies and partners,” they said.

“Cutting America’s defense budget completely undermines Washington Democrats’ tough talk on China and calls into question the administration’s willingness to confront the Chinese Communist Party,” they added. The split reactions between progressives and conservatives underscore the delicate balancing act Biden will have to pull off to reach a spending deal, but his proposal serves as a reminder that defense spending remains a sacred cow in Washington.

Pay-fors are an afterthought
In one important way, Biden’s budget proposal matched the one Trump put out during his first months in office: The proposal was more emaciated than skinny due to its limited details. Like Trump, Biden only released a very limited set of specifics and sidestepped questions about the long-term budget effects. The White House said a full proposal is due later this spring.

Only then will it become clear how Biden intends to pay for the new spending in his budget, whether he has a plan to lower the deficit, whether he expects spending to keep rising, stabilize or eventually drop down, and how he intends to deal with mandatory programs.

The mandatory spending, which includes programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and a slew of anti-poverty programs such as nutritional assistance, account for about two-thirds of annual government spending, making them a far more significant driver of spending and deficits than the discretionary side of the ledger covered in Biden’s $1.52 trillion proposal.

“We can’t truly evaluate the president’s agenda until we know how he’ll address the other two-thirds of the budget and what he will do on the other side of the ledger with taxes,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “We hope the full budget plan will include policies to not only offset new spending, but secure the trust funds and improve the country’s long-term fiscal path,” MacGuineas said.  But the focus on spending without discussion of taxes, deficits or the country’s fiscal outlook is a reminder that the issue of debt has lost some of its political sway over both politicians and voters.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a close friend and confidant of Biden, admitted as much when discussing where Democrats and Republicans might find common ground on potential infrastructure pay-fors. “In the choice between raising taxes significantly and simply looking at each other and saying, ‘we need a robust recovery,’ I think it’s more likely we’ll have a package that is not paid for, and that is less robust but still putting hundreds of billions of dollars into infrastructure,” he said earlier this week.

Biden wants to reclaim America’s role on the global stage
Whereas Trump famously promised to put “America First” in his policy agenda, antagonizing allies and retreating from global institutions in the process, Biden’s budget shows the president aims to put America back on the world stage in a much different way.

Biden’s request of $63.5 billion for the State Department and international programs, a 12 percent increase over current levels, stems from his view that some of the biggest problems the country faces require global cooperation.

He seeks to quadruple the funding for international climate programs and is requesting a four-year commitment of $4 billion to stabilize Central America, home to many of the migrants arriving at the southern border.

He also would boost the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget to $8.7 billion, from $7.9 billion, with a focus on international preparedness to help tackle future pandemics. The budget would fully fund U.S. commitments to United Nations peacekeeping, including payments missed under the Trump administration.

International programs at the Treasury Department would get a 73 percent boost, just as Secretary Janet Yellen is calling for a summer agreement on a global minimum tax to clamp down on tax avoidance by multinational corporations.

The filibuster still reigns supreme
While presidential budget requests shape the debate around annual spending, Congress usually has its own ideas, and those views matter most since lawmakers have the power of the purse. In the 50-50 Senate, the filibuster means the minority party still has significant say over annual spending. Without 10 GOP senators joining Democrats, Biden will not be able to pass a single spending bill to fund the government when fiscal 2022 starts in October.

That could add more pressure on Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to push for weakening or nixing the legislative filibuster altogether, a move to which centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reiterated his opposition in a Washington Post op-ed this week.

So long as the filibuster remains in place, stern statements from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will carry significant weight. “We’ve just spent several trillion dollars domestically, and the administration is determined to spend several trillion more,” Shelby said in response to Biden’s proposal, focusing on the disparity between defense and non-defense spending. “Shortchanging America’s defense in the process is unacceptable and dangerous.”

Psaki all but admitted that the proposal was an opening bid in what promises to be an arduous year of negotiations, mostly with Senate Republicans. “I will say we’re at the beginning of our process,” she said Friday. “This is the beginning of what we know is a long journey.”

Pritzker Administration Announces $1.6 Billion in Federal Aid to Increase Access to High Quality Early Childhood Education and Childcare
Further advancing his commitment to making Illinois the best state in the nation for families raising young children, Governor JB Pritzker today announced $1.6 billion in federal aid to expand access to high quality early childhood education and childcare for children and families across the state. This includes $140 million in direct grants to childcare providers over the next three weeks, adding to the $290 million granted to childcare providers earlier in the pandemic. To ensure Illinois can fully capitalize on this influx of federal funds and acting on priorities outlined by the Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding, the governor announced a network of statewide early childhood planning councils to ensure all communities have access to the early childhood services they need.

During his first year in office, Governor Pritzker appointed the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding Commission to determine innovative ways to improve child services in Illinois and remove barriers to access for families, especially families of color. The Commission recently released a report that included a roadmap to establish a simpler, better system in Illinois, particularly as it relates to low-income children, rural children, children of color, and children with disabilities.

“Today I’m pleased to announce that Illinois will receive $1.6 billion in federal funding to advance our mission to provide affordable childcare and early childhood education. Last year, my administration created the nation-leading model for pandemic emergency childcare grants,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In the worst throes of the pandemic, Illinois dedicated $290 million to 5,000 childcare centers and homes in 95 counties, allowing them to stay afloat through this challenging year, and offered additional support far beyond the national standard. And families in need of childcare were able to lower their out-of-pocket cost. The program has been so successful that we will use the first of these new American Rescue Plan dollars to provide another round of funding for it.”

Based on a recommendation from the Commission’s report, over the next 18 months the administration will launch a network of early-childhood planning councils in communities across the state. The councils will work with families, local early childhood providers, schools, civic leaders, and the business community to ensure every community in the state has the unique early childhood services it needs. Through the work of the local councils, families will be given a voice in designing the childhood services they need, especially families who have historically been shut out of the decision-making process.

In the coming months and years, the State of Illinois will work towards establishing a system that is: easier for parents to navigate, simpler and provides more predictable funding for early childhood programs and is responsive to local needs in communities across the state. For more information on childhood services in Illinois, go to the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development website.

Bill Covering Term Limits on Illinois General Assembly Leadership Passes Out of Committee
A bill which would implement term limits on leadership roles in the Illinois General Assembly advanced out of committee Wednesday. House Bill 642, introduced by Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, would bar any individual from serving more than 10 consecutive years in a leadership position in the General Assembly, including speaker of the House, president of the Senate and minority leader positions in each chamber.

The bill, if signed into law, would take effect for all legislators taking office on or after the second Wednesday in January 2023. While the Illinois House and Senate both passed term limits on party leadership in their respective chamber rules in January, DeLuca said his bill would be important to enforce the new rules via state law. “We heard the word historic quite a bit when leadership term limits (were) approved in our House rules,” DeLuca said. “This is really taking it to an entirely new level.”

While the bill received bipartisan support from committee members, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, questioned the constitutionality of the legislation, and whether members of one legislative chamber should have the authority to dictate term limits for the other chamber.

“The (state) constitution restricts the power for determining the House’s rules of its proceeding and choosing the House’s own officers solely to the House,” Gordon-Booth said. “From the looks of it, your bill would potentially bring in the Senate and the governor to decide who can be the speaker and the minority leader.” DeLuca responded he was “not aware of anything that would affect anything of that nature.”

“I’m certainly not going to act like (a) judge here and decide to make a ruling on whether something is constitutional or not,” he said. “I’ll certainly leave that for the court, but adding this provision in statute, I believe is constitutional,” he added.

The bill passed the House Executive Committee Wednesday by a 12-0 vote.

Program Notices & Reminders – Expanded Information
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Joliet Junior College
Here are our upcoming no-cost webinars:

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 have temporarily closed the application portal due to technical difficulties. The hope is to reopen ASAP.  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

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.

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:

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