Central Illinois has been recognized for outstanding efforts in workforce and economic development! On October 21, 2008, the Central Illinois Workforce Board and the City of Peoria received the Human Capital Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for the Talent Force 21 initiative. The award was presented in Atlanta, Georgia at the IEDC’s annual conference.
“Economic development efforts have long been a keystone in the quest to bolster the economy and improve quality of life in every locality across the country,” said Robin Roberts Krieger, IEDC chair. “As the nation continues to tackle longstanding challenges in the midst of an inhospitable financial climate, these efforts have taken on an even greater significance. With the award, we laud trendsetting organizations and municipalities like the City of Peoria Workforce Development Department for leading the charge.”
The Central Illinois Workforce Board has been instrumental in energizing the community to take a serious look at streamlining education, economic and workforce processes in the five-county Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area. While competing with organizations serving areas with populations exceeding 200,000, Peoria’s Workforce Development Department and the Central Illinois Workforce Board were standouts.
Although the Board has been successful in working to enhance the competitiveness of the regional economy, Board members realized the importance of the development of a long-term investment strategy in order to maintain, grow and accelerate investments to expand talent development in the region. A public-private partnership to develop a long-term investment strategy was essential for the local workforce system to meet the needs of workers and employers in the region, as well as in improving the public workforce development system and its policies.
Central Illinois Workforce Board members welcomed the opportunity to be a catalyst for innovative approaches to workforce development. In order to begin development of a long-term strategy, the Board convened and built a partnership of 80 community organizations, consisting of over 200 business, labor, education, workforce and community and faith-based members. This five-year old partnership works together to make central Illinois a learning community. Through the Talent Force 21 initiative (Talent Drives Prosperity), the partnership addresses the key regional workforce challenges identified in the Board’s 2001 community audit, 21st Century Workforce: Central Illinois. These challenges revolve around the critical educational, workforce and economic priorities of the regional community, including workforce quality and quantity, economic alignment, quality of life and the 21st century workforce. Additional information on these challenges and community activities can be accessed at workforcenetwork.com.
Over 450 submissions for various categories were evaluated by the IEDC. The Workforce Development Department and the Central Illinois Workforce Board edged out competitors from the communities of Oklahoma City and New York City, which received honorable mentions in the Human Capital category. iBi