Q2 2017 Economic Developments Newsletter

The Lake County Partners Quarterly E-Newsletter: July 2017

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Click here to see the economic indicator charts from the July 2017 newsletter.


The Big Event Lives up to its Name with Another Sell-Out Crowd

More than 500 civic and business leaders came together on Friday, June 23rd at Lake County Partners’ Big Event for networking, breakfast and to discuss growing the region’s talent economy. Lake County Partners President and CEO Kevin Considine said talent was a fitting theme for this year’s event, noting the organization’s three-year effort to align workforce development with economic development through the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem. 

In addition to learning more about Lake County’s efforts to build a robust pipeline of talent, attendees gained insight from keynote speaker, Matt Carmichael, who shared 25 trends that are impacting the workforce. Largely focused on the Millennial generation, Carmichael offered tips for companies and communities to attract Millennials, as they are now the largest generation of home buyers, and make up the greatest share of the workforce. Carmichael’s complete presentation can be found here

Attendees also received an in-depth economic outlook, presented by Sumit L. Desai, CFA, and Vice President, Director of Research for Mesirow Financial Wealth Advisors. Desai’s complete presentation is available online here.

How We’re Working to Grow the Talent Economy

We had the pleasure of discussing the importance of the talent economy and the impact of the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem with a number of local professionals in preparation of our 2016 Annual Report. You can now read their business stories online, or watch our new video overview here.

Economic Development in Full Swing in Lake County

Local economic development has been in full force this quarter, with a number of new businesses choosing to relocate to or expand in Lake County. Caterpillar announced plans to relocate its global headquarters to Deerfield, making the company the 12th Fortune 500 headquarters to call Lake County home.

Medical device manufacturer Flexan, LLC held a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the company’s move to a 70,000 sq. ft. building Lincolnshire, where it will house 100 employees, with plans for continued growth. Rust-Oleum is planning for a 17,266 sq. ft. expansion on its existing facility in Vernon Hills to accommodate an additional 108 workstations and 10 meeting rooms. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science approved the first phase of development of a new Innovation and Research Park in North Chicago to provide state-of-the-art research labs and incubator space. Amazon is on track to open a new 625,848 sq. ft. warehouse in Waukegan this summer, where the company plans to hire at least 400 full-time positions as well as additional part-time jobs. Okabe, a global leader in metal working, invested $13 million and broke ground on a 133,000 sq. ft. site in Grayslake, where they will consolidate two manufacturing and distribution centers and add 60 jobs, with plans to expand and add additional jobs as the company continues to grow. And all of Lake County’s new employees will be able to relax and enjoy the newly renovated Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee after the company spends $100 million to upgrade the facility and enhance the visitor experience.

Lake County Suburbs Well Positioned for Millennial Growth

More than 12,000 Millennials turn 30 each day in the U.S. And while many have delayed key milestones like marriage and home ownership, Millennials are steadily asserting that they want the same amenities as generations before them, as they have quickly become the greatest share of homebuyers in the U.S. Where this generation puts down roots will shape the communities of tomorrow. 

The April Economic Update from Lake County Partners shows that the suburbs of Lake County are well suited to meet their needs with affordable housing options for first-time buyers, great schools, short commutes, and proximity to lifestyle amenities including shops, restaurants, parks and recreational activities.

Lake County Workforce Ecosystem Drives Interest in Manufacturing Careers

With manufacturing sector jobs in Lake County up 15% since 2010 and significant growth anticipated by 2020, it’s critical that we train the workforce of tomorrow. The ground-breaking partnerships forged through the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem have resulted in powerful outreach to Lake County’s youth to ensure that we’re ready to meet the demand. At a recent Manufacturing Career Expo held at the Lake County High Schools Technology campus, more than 350 students had the opportunity to meet with local companies and discuss job opportunities. Students like Nicole Carreon and Jason Granados were able to get a first-hand sense of the types of skills that they will need to position themselves for promising careers after high school.

An additional 120 students also explored career opportunities at a separate Manufacturing Career Expo held at Waukegan High School—an event which also gave design students the chance to hone their graphics capabilities as they worked with local company GFX International to create posters to promote the Expo. Get additional insights on the impact of these events in this video from our partners at Lake County

To learn about future career expo opportunities or request a visit with Lake County Partners staff to get assistance with meeting your business needs, click here.

College of Lake County & Baxter International Inc. Partner to Launch a New Innovation Lab

Baxter International Inc. has funded a new Innovation Lab at the College of Lake County to provide an innovative space where students, teachers and industry professionals can design new products, create and test prototypes and exchange ideas with others worldwide. 

“To help Illinois remain competitive in a global economy, Lake County needs a space where students, teachers, entrepreneurs and business people can develop their ideas for the next life-changing products,” said Rob Twardock, CLC engineering department chair and coordinator of the project. “The Baxter Innovation Lab also will allow innovators to collaborate and share ideas with others in a worldwide network.”

Twardock worked with the CLC Foundation, whose Executive Director Karen L. Schmidt was instrumental in helping secure the $175,000 funding to the CLC Foundation, which, in turn, grants the funds to CLC for the project.

“Baxter and the College of Lake County should be commended for their forward-thinking efforts to partner in the development of this engineering lab. Access to the most state-of-the-art tools and teaching methodologies will further enhance students’ ability to be relevant in the job market,” said CLC Foundation Board Chair Chris Piazzi.

The 1,875-square-foot lab in the Technology Wing at the Grayslake Campus will consist of two adjacent laboratories, one for design and digital fabrication, and one for more traditional shop work and construction. A basic version of the lab opened in fall 2016 to CLC students, using existing equipment.

The lab’s primary users will be CLC students in fields such as such as engineering, engineering technology, computerized numerical control, machine tool trades, computer aided design, the sciences, architecture, or even art, Twardock said.

“Innovation is at the core of Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives,” said Stacey Eisen, senior vice president, communications, Baxter, and president, The Baxter International Foundation. “We are excited to be working with College of Lake County to establish the Baxter Innovation Lab to give future generations of innovators an inspirational new home to bring their ideas to life.”

The Baxter Innovation Lab will contain the latest engineering design software, such as AutoDesk Inventor, SolidWorks, Revit, software for coding, in addition to multiple 3D printers used in creating design prototypes. The lab also will feature an Epilog® and Universal laser cutters, a Roland® tabletop CNC milling machine and a 3D digital scanner and electronics workbenches. Other tools include material testing equipment, a vinyl printer/cutter and a vacuum former, which creates a product by heating a sheet of plastic and forcing it into a mold using vacuum pressure.

The construction portion of the Baxter Innovation Lab is designed to have the look and feel of a woodworking shop. Proposed equipment includes a CNC wood router, project workbenches with hand tools, as well as shop tools such as a drill press, band saw, mill, lathe, grinder, belt sander, drills and a chop saw.

In addition to serving CLC students, the lab will be open on a limited basis to inventors, small businesses or other groups. Middle and high-school students also will have access through CLC Explore classes, field trips and workshops.

Construction and renovation to the existing space will begin this fall, but the lab will continue to be open. It is expected to fully open in 2018. CLC Board Chair Richard Anderson said, “This is an exciting opportunity for individuals, businesses and other organizations to inspire a new generation of Americans and support STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). We are so grateful for the generosity of Baxter for funding this project.”

The Baxter Innovation Lab will be the first public fab lab/makerspace in Lake County. It will be part of a United States Fab Lab Network, which is associated with the Fab Foundation and the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since its beginning in 2001, about 1,000 fab labs have opened around the world, including 85 in the U.S. The network is an open, creative community of artists, scientists, engineers, educators, students, amateurs and professionals, from youth to senior citizens.

For more information on this innovative project, click here.

Lake County Partners’ Latest Economic Update Shows Strength of Lake County Schools

Great schools and educational attainment are key to Lake County’s differentiated talent economy. In this latest economic update, analysis from Lake County Partners shows that the four-year graduation rate for Lake County’s public high schools is 90% compared to 86% statewide, and Lake County’s high school graduates are significantly more likely to enroll in educational programs after high school.

78% of graduates enroll in post-secondary education within 16 months of graduation, compared to only 71% statewide. Moreover, students are receiving a high-quality education. 57% of Lake County’s high school students attend one of its 11 nationally-recognized high schools, including the soon to be expanded Adlai E. Stevenson H.S. in Lincolnshire, which ranks among the top ten schools in Illinois. “As one of the top schools in the nation, our expansion will allow Stevenson to continue our growth, but also to reinvent the classroom with an eye toward the future,” said Sean Carney Assistant Superintendent for Business. Lincolnshire Mayor Liz Brandt noted that the caliber of schools continues to draw new residents to the community and contribute to its appeal as a hub for business. “Businesses locating in Lincolnshire know their employees will have access to a great community and their children will receive a world-class education.”  

Municipal Investors Get Insights from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute & AECOM

Dr. Joseph Schwieterman, a DePaul University professor and Director of the Chaddick Insitute for Metropolitan Development, recently partnered with AECOM Vice President Chris Brewer to present an insightful overview of community metrics for Lake County Partners’ municipal investors.

Lake County Partners continues to ramp up connections with local municipalities by hosting quarterly meetings focused on important local economic development topics. The final two meetings in 2017 will be held at the University Center in Grayslake from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on September 13th and December 6th. Meeting details, agendas and RSVP requests will be sent by email to municipal contacts prior to each meeting. 
Lake County Partners will again host a booth for our municipal partners at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Deal Making Show on September 27th and 28th. If you are interested in learning more or participating, please plan to attend a kick-off meeting at Lake County Partners’ offices on Wednesday, August 2nd at 9:00 a.m.

If you have questions regarding Lake County Partners’ municipal services, please contact Economic Development Director Barbara Prusila at bprusila@lakecountypartners.com or 847-597-1230.

Thank You and Farewell to Dr. Jerry Weber

We would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank outgoing board member and former College of Lake County President Dr. Jerry Weber for his service and dedication. Dr. Weber has generously served on our board for eight years, and we wish him the best as his career takes him to the Pacific Northwest. Lake County Partners benefits from the tremendous leadership of our Board of Governors. Click here to learn more about our members.



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