From Illinois Business Journal news services
PEORIA – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., announced today that the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded a $25 million grant to the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center help local manufacturers grow and compete.
Through university partners, client services, state funding, and other sources, matching funds will more than double the federal investment.
“Small, emerging and rural firms throughout Illinois and the Midwest must be able to grow their businesses and with the support they’ll receive from this grant they can continue to do just that. These businesses will now have the assistance they need as they continue to adapt, survive and grow,” Durbin said. “I am happy to say that the work of IMEC, its partners, and the hard-working small businesses in our state make will make the words ‘Made in Illinois’ more common.”
“This grant award positions us to build on our manufacturing outreach tradition with three signature initiatives designed to address strategic engagement around people, process and product, to prioritize the adoption of changing technology, and to champion manufacturing,” said IMEC President David Boulay. “These initiatives promise transformational impacts for Illinois manufacturing.”
The funding, which was awarded by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, includes an initiative to help small businesses keep up with technology changes in the industry. It will dramatically increase IMEC’s presence to serve the critical manufacturing sector across Illinois, increasing services for small, emerging and rural firms and providing a stronger focus on services related to product, customer and market growth.
Since IMEC was first established in 1996, it has worked with its partners to improve manufacturing efficiency to create new opportunities for businesses and workers. In 2015, more than 540 companies were assisted, helping create or retain more than 1,000 jobs.
The new award is part of a multiyear effort to update the U.S. Commerce Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides a wide range of services to small and medium-size manufacturers through centers in every state and Puerto Rico.