DCEO

  • Gillespie, Pritzker announce investment to support 17,000 apprentices in 2020

    Apprenticeships

    CHICAGO – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) joined Gov. Pritzker to announce a $4.7 million expansion of the Illinois Apprenticeship Program. This expansion makes a record $20 million investment in the program and will serve 17,000 participants this year.

    “Apprenticeships are a proven tool for workforce development and provide new workers an opportunity for a long-term career path,” Gillespie said. “Today, Illinois reinforces our commitment to investing in apprenticeships and the options they provide for both employers and youth. These options are even more critical as we work our way through the far-reaching economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

  • Jones encourages local businesses to apply for Business Interruption Grants

    jones 030519CHICAGO – After yesterday’s launch of the Business Interruption Grant program, State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) encourages local businesses to apply for more than $540 million in grants.

    “Businesses in disproportionately impacted areas were already in desperate waters, and it’s satisfying that the majority of these grants will be aimed towards helping restore these communities,” Jones said. “It’s important that opportunities continue to come to these neighborhoods, because they are ones who need it the most.”

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will offer $60 million in grants for the first round of BIG funding to small businesses harmed by the pandemic, many of whom have also seen damage as a result of recent civil unrest. The funds are intended to help small businesses stay viable through the pandemic, offset the cost of closures and restricted operations, and ensure they have the resources to reopen safely.

    Among other specific programs, DCEO plans to disburse $20 million across 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage. To qualify for these grants, businesses must have:

    • Brought in under $2 million in revenue in 2019, or a prorated amount if in business for less than a year;
    • Been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020;
    • Experienced costs or losses of at least $20,000 since the Stay at Home order was put in place on March 21, 2020, due to closure or reduced operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
    • Experienced recent property damage, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

    DCEO and its grant administration partners are scheduled to post applications this week for review and questions. Applications will be accepted June 24 through July 1. Applicants who are selected for the grants should hear from grant administration partners by early July, and grants are scheduled to be disbursed by the end of July.

  • Harris urges local businesses to apply for Business Interruption Grants

    harris 102919CHICAGO – State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) urges local businesses—particularly businesses in disproportionately impacted communities—to apply for more than $540 million in grant funding through the new Business Interruption Grant program. 

    “Disadvantaged communities need help now more than ever. Business owners are showing real determination to get through this pandemic, but it has been a challenge. This grant opportunity could provide the support they deserve,” Harris said. “I urge all local businesses in the area to apply for these grants to reduce some financial hardship.” 

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will offer $60 million in grants for the first round of BIG funding to small businesses harmed by the pandemic, many of whom have also seen damage as a result of recent civil unrest. The funds are intended to help small businesses stay viable through the pandemic, offset the cost of closures and restricted operations, and ensure they have the resources to reopen safely.

    Among other specific programs, DCEO plans to disburse $20 million across 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage. To qualify for these grants, businesses must have:

    • Brought in under $2 million in revenue in 2019, or a prorated amount if in business for less than a year;
    • Been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020;
    • Experienced costs or losses of at least $20,000 since the Stay at Home order was put in place on March 21, 2020, due to closure or reduced operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
    • Experienced recent property damage, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

    DCEO and its grant administration partners are scheduled to post applications this week for review and questions. Applications will be accepted June 24 through July 1. Applicants who are selected for the grants should hear from grant administration partners by early July, and grants are scheduled to be disbursed by the end of July.

  • Van Pelt to hardest hit businesses: Help is available through new grants

    vanpelt 012820CHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) joined Gov. Pritzker and members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucuses to announce new grants that will help businesses that have faced extreme hardship due to COVID-19-related closures.

    “Many business owners fear that they have suffered past the point of recovery because they have done the right thing and closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Van Pelt said. “But I am hopeful that these grants will help alleviate that damage and ensure these local businesses can look forward to a day when this crisis is behind us.”

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is directing the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, which allocates $636 million toward new grant initiatives. The first round of BIG grants is valued at $60 million and aims to offset the costs that businesses acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as recent civil unrest. Grants are broken down by type of business as follows:

    • Businesses in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs) with Recent Significant Property Damage
      • 1,000 grants of $20,000.
    • Bars and Restaurants
      • 1,000 grants of $20,000.
      • 50% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.
    • Barbershops and Salons
      • 1,000 grants of $10,000.
      • 50% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.
    • Fitness Centers
      • 500 grants of $20,000.
      • 30% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.

    Applications for these programs will open Monday, June 22 on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website and will remain open for 7-14 days. One week after the application period closes, grant administration partners will begin reaching out to recipients.

  • Crowe joins lawmakers in Metro East to announce investments in working families

    crowe 061520MARYVILLE — Recognizing the lasting, devastating financial effects the COVID-19 pandemic could have on working families, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) joined lawmakers Monday to announce state funds being made available to help residents directly with their utility bills and to confront the root causes of poverty.

    “This pandemic has been difficult for so many people. The last thing residents need to worry about is keeping the lights on,” Crowe said. “By investing funds in the LIHEAP program, Illinois is committed to supporting working families struggling to make ends meet.”

     

  • Bennett announces grants to help expand broadband, digital access

    broadband 052820SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joins the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Broadband to announce the new Illinois Connected Communities grant program.

    The program is designed to assist local governments, schools and community organizations with building broadband capacity. The $150,000 grant opportunity will help communities close existing gaps and lay the groundwork for improved broadband access, adoption and utilization. The grants will be provided on a competitive basis, and applications will be accepted here through June 12.

    “The pandemic has really magnified the challenges that people who have a lack of internet access have dealt with,” Bennett said. “As we continue to face this crisis, it’s clear that access to broadband is a necessity for people to access education, healthcare, jobs and even state benefits.”

    This latest grant program builds on the capital commitment made through Connect Illinois, which includes a $400 million investment, and is aimed at improving access to broadband for the entire state. The first $50 million of this investment is expected to be awarded in the coming weeks.

    A product of partnership between the Illinois Office of Broadband and the Evanston-based Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, the Illinois Connected Communities program is designed to engage a first-year cohort of communities through best practice curriculum, expert consultation, and up to $15,000 for initial community planning and capacity building. By collaborating with the Benton Institute and area philanthropy, the State of Illinois will leverage additional funds of at least an equal amount to provide expert consultations and best practices curriculum available to the grantees.

    Grantees will participate in a combination of focused in-person and/or online community-specific, cohort-wide, and regional activities throughout a period of up to 12-months. These activities will involve a representative community broadband steering committee, and build toward creation of a community-driven Broadband Strategic Plan. At any point during the program communities may invest their grant funding toward one or more of the following:

    • Connected Community staff time or overhead,
    • Study, planning, or preparation for broadband access, adoption or utilization,
    • Additional broadband-related support, technical assistance or consultative services.

    Communities seeking more information on the grants program are encouraged to tune in to the Developing Broadband Leadershipwebinar series, a collaborative effort among the Illinois Office of Broadband, the Benton Institute and University of Illinois Extension. Live webinars invite national experts, community leaders, and broadband providers from across Illinois to connect. The next webinar is at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The first meeting was held last week, with Governor JB Pritzker providing opening remarks and encouraging communities to take advantage of the state’s broadband grant programs, as well as other Office of Broadband resources. Register for future webinars and gain access to archived materials here.

  • Glowiak Hilton: New money for small business programs available

    Sen. Suzy Glowiak HiltonWESTERN SPRINGS – With small businesses struggling to cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced new funding for Small Business Development Centers.

    “Even though most businesses will soon reopen, many will need additional help to survive,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Small Business Development Centers provide valuable assistance and I encourage our local business community to seek their help during these difficult times.”

  • Morrison supports grants for child care providers

    childrenDEERFIELD — After hearing concerns from child care providers about the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) supported funding to allow them to continue the vital services they provide for families.

    “Child care providers across the state have faced financial challenges after the public health crisis led them to shut their doors,” Morrison said. “Families rely on the care and education these facilities provide, so supplying them with funding was a priority of mine and a priority of the General Assembly.”

  • Harris approves new investment to help small businesses

    Sen. Napoleon Harris IIIDOLTON — As many small businesses across the state worry about the financial hardships created by the COVID-10 pandemic, State Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey) announced new funding for small business development centers to help businesses get through this difficult time. 

    “Small businesses across Illinois are dealing with a financial crisis from coronavirus restrictions,” Harris said. “Many of these owners have built their business from the ground up and have become the backbone of their community. Providing them with additional help will help them continue to stay afloat.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant is pleased with new investment to help small businesses

    smallbizopen 052820PLAINFIELD — As many small businesses across the state worry about the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced new funding for small business development centers to help businesses get through this difficult time.

     “Small businesses make up a majority of our state’s private workforce, so investing in these companies is an investment in Illinoisans,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Additional funds for small business development centers will help guide these important parts of our community through this difficult time.”

  • Crowe highlights new job-training resources for unemployed residents

    get hired 1 051520WOOD RIVER – In an effort to connect job seekers with training and open positions throughout the state, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have partnered to create Get Hired Illinois. State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) is encouraging unemployed residents to check out the available resources.

    “No one could have predicted the economic downfall we’re experiencing now, but everyone unemployed at this time, especially residents out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, should log on to Get Hired Illinois to see what their options are,” Crowe said.

    The portal is designed for job seekers of all levels and backgrounds and allows employers to upload jobs, virtual career fairs, and training opportunities.

    Nearly 60,000 job opportunities across a range of industries are currently available on the Get Hired portal, and more will be made available in the coming weeks. Additionally, more than 70 employers have committed to hosting virtual job fairs through the site.

    The state is also launching a new partnership with Coursera to provide professional development opportunities for individuals looking to navigate new career pathways. After completing these online programs, participants will have the opportunity to continue their studies at a local community college or university, or to connect with employers through their local workforce boards.

    More information is available at https://www2.illinois.gov/gethired.

  • Bertino-Tarrant announces Rebuild Illinois grants for local government projects

    jbt 041118 2SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to modernize infrastructure and boost economic development, economic development groups, not-for-profits and others in Will County and surrounding areas will be able to apply to receive a portion of nearly $80 million in state grants through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    “These grants offer communities the opportunity to repair infrastructure while creating jobs,” Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. “This support allows local governments and organizations to invest in themselves and their residents.”

    Bertino-Tarrant announced Thursday $50 million was allocated by DCEO for public infrastructure investments – which includes repairing roads and bridges. These grants are available to local governments. An additional $16.5 million will go toward regional economic development projects and $13 million to shovel-ready construction projects.

    Funding for the grants is part of the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan approved by the General Assembly last year.

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30. However, the other grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Prospective applicants must submit a grant proposal explaining the projects positive affect on the community. 

    Additional information about how to apply can be found on DCEO’s website. Additional questions can be sent to the agency at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or answered by calling 217-785-6174.

  • Joyce announces opportunities for economic development funding

    joyce 031120SPRINGFIELD – The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity  is now accepting applications from local governments, non-profit groups, and even private companies for a an $80 million economic development grant program, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced.

    DCEO will allow organizations to compete for $50 million in public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million in regional economic development projects and $13 million for shovel-ready construction projects. Only local governments can apply for the public infrastructure grants, but the other programs are also open to local organizations and businesses.

    Projects that may include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

    “The projects funded by these grants could attract businesses and jobs to the South Lands,” Joyce said. “These grants are competitive, so I encourage as many local groups to apply as possible.”

    Through a competitive selection process, DCEO will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

  • Stadelman announces grants aimed at creating jobs

    stadelman 030420SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) announced today that local governments and community groups are now able to apply for a nearly $80 million grant to update critical infrastructure and spur economic development in the Rockford area.

    “The money provided from these grants is a great economic opportunity for our local communities,” Stadelman said. “I applaud DCEO for using this program to not only make much needed improvements to our infrastructure, but also create new jobs in the process.”

    The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will allow communities and stakeholders to apply for these funds. It will distribute the funds to local governments, not-for-profits, economic development groups and even private businesses, which will create new job and economic opportunities.

    DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments (available only to local governments), $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million ready-to-go for construction projects. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

    For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

  • Bennett announces open applications for local economic development grants

    bennett 031020SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging local governments to apply to receive a portion of $80 million in grants to spur economic development and provide much-needed infrastructure in their communities.

    “These grants are a tremendous opportunity to stimulate the economy,” Bennett said. “Not only will they help revitalize distressed communities, they will support local economies and create jobs.”

    The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments through a competitive selection process to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

    DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

    For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

  • Applications open for $80 million in local economic development grants

    murphy 021820SPRINGFIELD – Local governments have a shot at $80 million in grants to foster economic development and revitalize infrastructure in their communities, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Tuesday.

    “A healthy economy starts in our neighborhoods,” said Murphy, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government. “These grants will empower local governments to take on projects that will create jobs, lift up communities and make a difference for Illinois families.”

    Through a competitive selection process, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

    DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction.

    Potential projects include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design. DCEO emphasizes the importance of projects with long-term economic benefits for the region.

    Altogether, DCEO has made more than $150 million available in Rebuild Illinois funding this year. Other grants offer support for broadband and opportunity zone investments.

    “During the last administration, local projects went unsupported for years, and our Main Streets suffered. It’s time for that to change,” said Murphy. “When we invest in our communities, Illinoisans see benefits close to home, but the whole state gets a boost.”

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

    For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

  • Harmon praises Illinois’ $80 million investment in economic development

    harmon 031020Senate President Don Harmon praised the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s announcement that local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be able to compete for $80 million to improve local economies.

    “This is an investment in local communities throughout our great state,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon. “These projects will build a better Illinois. The bipartisan success we’ve seen with Gov. Pritzker shows what we can do when Illinois works together.”

  • Lawmakers, advocates stress importance of accurate 2020 Census count

    Sens. Elgie R. Sims Jr., Emil Jones III, Iris Y. Martinez and Kimberly A. Lightford

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate lawmakers and advocates gathered Thursday to stress the importance of getting a full and accurate count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke to the potential consequences of an undercount.

    “The census is used to determine federal funding and representation for our state,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said. “That means, if we are undercounted, we stand to lose billions in federal funding, along with two congressional seats and two Electoral College votes.”

    Martinez is the sponsor of legislation, contained in Senate Bill 1408, that would appropriate $25 million to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments for the purposes of encouraging full participation in the 2020 federal census.

  • Villivalam calls for clean water jobs program

    Sen. Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Efforts to modernize the state’s water infrastructure present an opportunity for job growth under a plan State Senator Ram Villivalam introduced this morning alongside environmental, faith and labor advocates.

    “The ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan is a prime example of what can happen to communities when their water infrastructure is neglected by their government for long periods of time,” VIllivalam (D-Chicago) said. “By creating this program, we will provide the training necessary to help Illinois communities avoid a similar fate.”

    SB 2146 would require the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create a Clean Water Workforce Pipeline Program that would provide grants and other financial assistance to prepare people for careers in water infrastructure.

  • Castro champions bipartisan economic tool to attract new jobs

    castro 092017ELGIN- The 22nd Senate District now has a new bipartisan economic development program, thanks to a measure championed by Democratic Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin.

    House Bill 162 reinstates the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program, allowing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to offer tax credits to businesses that invest in Illinois.

    “This new bipartisan law will help energize our economy and create good-paying jobs for our residents,” Castro said. “I look forward to continuing my work to increase economic development opportunities and investments in our communities.”

    EDGE tax credits are a competitive economic development program that helps Illinois attract and retain jobs. This incentive helps encourage business growth.

    ‘It’s important that we utilize every tool at our disposal to attract and retain good paying jobs for Illinois residents,” Castro said. 

    House Bill 162 requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to repossess economic development funds if a business granted the tax credit does not fulfill their part of the contract.

    That money would then be distributed to the local workforce investment area.

    EDGE credit recipients are also required to submit an annual report to DCEO containing supplier diversity information to help promote diversity in state economic incentives and programs. 

    The Illinois Manufacturer Association (IMA) supported passage of this key economic incentive.

    “The IMA is pleased that legislators passed a short-term extension of the EDGE tax credit,” Mark Denzler, Vice President & COO of IMA said. “It's an important tool to help attract and retain jobs.”

    House Bill 162 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and was signed into law this week.