Focus Forward CI announces five-year goals; sets Discovery Forums

Posted by Debbie Adlof on 25 October 2012, 4:10 pm

PEORIA – (October 25, 2012) Economic Development efforts underway by regional leaders could lead to a growth spurt, more jobs, better paying jobs, additional education.

The Central Illinois SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Based) Goals Setting Action Team set a population target of 386,475 by 2017, up from the 2010 U.S. Census estimate of 375,218.

Other goals:

• Create 13,190 new jobs across the region(1,319 new jobs at $53,715/ year and 11,841 new jobs at $48,832/ year)

• Improve the pay rate of more than 19,000 existing jobs by $5,000/ year

• Ramp up education attainment of bachelor and graduate degrees by 2,300 from the current 2012 estimate of 68,719

• Increase the 25-44 year-old age bracket from 25 percent of total population (94,706 in 2010) to 30 percent of total population (115,942) by 2017.

“The economic development efforts underway in our region have clearly defined the 2017 goals and add $1.75 Billion to the annual payrolls of our region. Imagine what impact that will have while laying the foundation for a stronger economy for generations to come,” said Mike Hinrichsen, Chairperson of the Goals Setting Action Team.

“This initiative, properly implemented, will support a competitive environment that attracts and retains our vital workforce, provides for an attractive environment and supports the necessary growth on both sides of the river,” Hinrichsen said. “The impact of estimated state and local tax revenue is estimated at $33 to $34 million annually.”

Earlier this month, the “Discovery Milestone” – the second of four major milestones throughout the process –helped identify the region’s assets.

Roughly 125 individuals attended the meeting from varying levels of government, business, not-for-profit and the private and public sectors. Survey results following that meeting showed a 100 percent rating on the understanding of the sense of urgency, description of goals and why goals and benchmarks are important. Roughly 95 percent felt they were given an opportunity to voice their opinion and 97.5 percent of respondents said Focus Forward CI is making some positive or a high positive impact.

Discovery milestone initiatives in the four-county region that includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford and Mason counties are underway. In November, each of the counties will hold individual “Asset Mapping Forums” to discover their unique indigenous assets. These discovery forums launch a regional climate of economic opportunity.

The public is invited and encouraged to any of these events. An overall explanation of this economic development initiative also will be presented.

Tazewell County: 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Nov. 13 – Ashland House, 201 East Ashland St., Morton

Mason County: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Nov. 13 at 1st State Bank of Mason City, 123 Elm St, Mason City

Peoria County: 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. Nov. 14 at the Gateway Building , Peoria

Woodford County: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Cerf Center- Terrill Room at Eureka College

An Asset Mapping Forum in Spanish also is being scheduled. The time, date and location for that meeting will be released soon.