Good Scoop From DCEO

Information from The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)


Regional Feature

IMEC launches Next Generation Manufacturing Study


A ground breaking research study to assess the progress of state's manufacturers in adopting strategies to win in the global economy was launched today by IMEC. The study is part of a national survey being sponsored by the American Small Manufacturers Coalition as a first step in a long-term effort to help Illinois and all U.S. manufacturers to weather today's recession and improve manufacturing competitiveness over the next decade.  The web-based Next Generation Manufacturing Study questionnaire can be accessed at 

www.NGMStudy-Illinois.com...more

Study to Measure Progress on Adopting World-Class Strategies


Customer-focused innovation, advanced talent management, systematic continuous improvement, extended enterprise management, sustainable product development, global engagement. Strategies that forward-thinking manufacturers will deploy to weather the current downturn and position for success in the future.


The question: How prepared are Illinois companies to meet these challenges?...more

Latest News

Stimulus Package Website Launched by Governor Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn has launched Recovery.Illinois.gov, a website created to help ensure that Illinois takes full advantage of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act."Our recovery team is ready to carry out the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act here in Illinois," said Governor Quinn. The new website, Recovery.Illinois.gov, is the portal to Illinois' implementation of the federal stimulus plan and will:

Keep track of projects, spending and job creation; List state run programs receiving supplemental funding including unemployment benefits, food stamps, vocational rehabilitation and other services; Connect to agency sites where proposed project lists will be posted as they become available; and Allow Illinoisans to suggest a project that is eligible for federal stimulus funds.  "We are moving as quickly as possible to get projects going so that we can get the people of Illinois back to work," said Governor Quinn. "This website will help them learn about important programs and track our progress." 

DCEO Economic Stimulus Website

The DCEO Economic Stimulus Website is now available at
http://www2.ildceo.net/econ

This site will soon display information on DCEO's part in the Economic Stimulus Plan.

The IEN Weekly Connection
February 17, 2009...more
February 23, 2009...more
March 02, 2009...more

The IEN Monthly Connection...more

SBDC Network Connection Newsletter


ASBDC Board Chair Testifies Before House Small Business Committee

The House Small Business Committee chaired by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez held a hearing February 11, 2009 on "The State of SBA's Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery."  ASBDC Board Chair Jerry Cartwright testified at the hearing on behalf of the association.  Also testifying was Carol Greg, a client of the Missouri Small Business Development Center Network...more

Get Connected!
Illinois WorkNet Center


Everybody should use Illinois workNet, Job Seekers, employees and businesses alike.

INDIVIDUALS should use Illinois workNet; Illinois workNet helps individuals connect to potential employers through online resources.


EMPLOYEES
should use Illinois workNet; Employees can connect to job skills, training and continuing education programs to strengthen their skills.

EMPLOYERS should use Illinois workNet; Strengthen your workforce today!  Fill your job openings with individuals from the community and throughout the state.
www.illinoisworknet.com

LWIA Regional Sites

Obtain information on your LWIA Regional Sites at http://www2.ildceonet/lwiamap/lwiamap.htm

Patriot Express Loans Top $250 Million to Veterans
In just 20 months, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative has approved more than $250 million in loan guarantees to nearly 2,900 veterans and their spouses who are using the SBA-guaranteed funds to establish and expand their small businesses.   Loan amounts have averaged around $88,000 per loan. Some 15 % of the loans have gone to military spouses...more

National Ombudsman Assists Small Businesses with Federal Regulatory Enforcement Actions
When America's small businesses face unfair or excessive federal regulatory enforcement actions, the Office of the National Ombudsman at the U.S. Small Business Administration is available to ensure fairness in the enforcement process...more

SBA Warns of Fraudulent Attempts to Obtain Bank Account Information from Small Businesses
 

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Contact Us:

John Whalen
Regional Manager
3201 CIRCA Dr. Ste. 203
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone; 309-663-7528
Fax: 309-663-8130
Cell: 309-830-8458
John.Whalen@Illinois.gov
 
Anthony Rolando
Business Relationship Manager Canton City Hall
2 North Main Street, First Floor
Canton, Illinois 61520
Pekin Office-Pekin City Hall
111 S. Capitol
Pekin, Illinois 61554
Phone: 309-647-5896
Fax: 309-647-9325
Mobile: 309-338-4191
Anthony.Rolando@illinois.gov
 
Scott Petty
Business Relationship Manager
100 S.W. Water Street
Peoria, IL 61602
Phone: 309-676-5704
Fax 309-676-5703
Mobile 309-264-7553
Scott.Petty@illinois.gov

Links for You:

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Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity:

DCEO Business Development:

Location One

DCEO Energy and Recycling

DCEO LWIA & Workforce DevelopmentIllinois Worknet

Illinois Entrepreneurship
Network


Illinois Clean Energy Foundation

Buy IllinoisSell 2 Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation:
Projects by District

Illinois Depart of Agriculture

Illinois Finance Authority

Il Treasurer - Programs and Services

Illinois Municipal League

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Federal Economic Stimulus Website

EPA website

United States-Environmental Protection Agency Website

Federal Business Opportunities

Federal Regulatory Alerts Webpage

Link to Earthday Site

The SBA issued a scam alert to small businesses warning them not to respond to letters falsely claiming to have been sent by the SBA asking for bank account information in order to qualify them for federal tax rebates...more

Latest Issue of The Small Business Advocate 

The Small Business Advocate is a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter that details economic developments and regulatory trends related to small business as well as the latest initiatives of the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy. Click here to read the latest issue.To learn more about SBA's programs and services to help your business start, grow and succeed, go to www.sba.gov. 

Economic Recovery Package Contains Key Small Business Assistance

The Economic Recovery Package includes the following provisions aimed at assisting small businesses:  Temporary SBA Fee Relief, Temporary Increase in SBA Guarantee Levels, Business Stabilization Program, Microloans, SBA Secondary Market Stimulus, Small Business Venture Capital Stimulus, Surety Bond Stimulus, Oversight and Implementation of Stimulus Measures and Small Business Tax Relief.  To access a press release from the Senate Small Business Committee highlighting small business provisions of the economic stimulus package, click here.

Surviving the Audit--Tax Talk Free Webinar

Although no phrase may strike more fear in a taxpayer than the dreaded "IRS Audit", the prospect of an IRS audit need not paralyze small businesses and the tax professionals who assist them. 
Learn how

 to prepare for what to expect during an audit by tuning into the IRS March Tax Talk Today program"Surviving the IRS Audit" on Tuesday, March 10th at 1:00 p.m.  The program will include what happens before, during and after the audit.   As always, this webinar is FREE.
To access the webcast at no charge, viewers can register online at Tax Talk Today at www.taxtalktoday.com.  To get the latest IRS information and learn about IRS products and services as they become available, start your free subscription to e-News for Small Businesses.  Just go to www.irs.gov to register. 

Illinois SBDC's to Celebrate 25 Years
The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is celebrating 25 years of serving small businesses and entrepreneurs.    It was May 4, 1984 when the U.S. Small Business Administration certified the Illinois SBDC into the national program...more

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) will realize a substantial increase in federal infrastructure funding as a result of the federal economic recovery package recently approved by President Obama. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Act) includes significant funding for two State Revolving Fund loan programs currently administered by the IEPA, and the Agency will administer available funds under those programs: the Water Pollution Control Loan Program (WPCLP), providing assistance for wastewater projects and the Public Water Supply Loan Program (PWSLP), providing assistance for drinking water projects...more
IEPA Stimulus Funding Fact Sheet...more

Legislative Update

State Regulatory News 
Following are proposed rules of possible interest to small businesses.  During the 45-day comment period, individuals have an opportunity to express their support or opposition to the rule.    
The Carnival and Amusement Safety Board proposed an amendment which will impact carnival owners and operators operating within the State of Illinois.  To read more,
click here.
The Department of Central Management Services proposed an amendment which will impact all businesses seeking to do or who are currently doing business with the State of Illinois.  The rulemaking provides supplemental information regarding registration requirements and requirements regarding the submission of bids/proposals and contracts. To learn more,
click here.

The Family and Medical Leave Act Has New Notice
Recent amendments to the FMLA were enacted on January 28, 2008 to provide two new leave entitlements to eligible specified family members: (1) Up to 12 weeks of leave for qualifying exigencies arising out of a covered family member's active military duty, and
(2) Up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member recovering from a serious illness or injury. Eligible employees are entitled to a combined total of up to 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave.  The law was in effect January 28th, 2008 and the new federal poster has been released.  To get your copy of the poster,
click here.
To submit comments or to learn more about the proposed rules, contact Katy Khayyat at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Entrepreneurship Network Information Center via e-mail at Katy.Khayyat@Illinois.gov or call (800) 252-2923 or (217) 785-8020.

Federal Regulatory News
Employers Must Use New I-9 Form by April 3, 2009 
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it has delayed until April 3, 2009, the implementation of an interim final rule entitled "Documents Acceptable for Employment Eligibility Verification".  The rule streamlines the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) process.  USCIS has reopened the public comment period for 30 days, until March 4, 2009.
(Employers must complete a Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States.)  The interim final rule will amend regulations governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents employees may present to their employers for completion of the Form I-9.  Under the interim rule, employers will no longer be able to accept expired documents to verify employment authorization on the Form I-9.
A new I-9 form is being issued which employers must use when the interim rule takes effect on April 3, 2009.  Employers will be required to use the new I-9 form, and accept only those documents listed on the new form. Employers who continue using the old I-9 form after 4/3/09 - for new hires or reverifications - will be subject to civil money penalties.
The interim final rule and an informational copy of the revised Form I-9 are available for public comment at www.regulations.gov.

Grants OpportunitiesEPA Programs

USEPA Programs that Implement the Recovery Act

  • Brownfields program will issue competitive grants to evaluate and clean up former industrial and commercial sites.
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds will issue funds to help communities with water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and drinking water infrastructure needs. A portion of the funding will be targeted toward green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects...more 

USDA is accepting applications for grants through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program to provide access to education, training and healthcare resources in rural areas
In 2008, USDA Rural Development provided grants totaling $28.2 million under the program to 105 recipients in 41 states. 
To be eligible, your organization must:
1. Deliver or propose to deliver distance learning or telemedicine services for the term of the grant.
2. Be an incorporated organization or partnership... with the legal capacity to contract with the United States Government.
3. Operate a rural community facility or deliver distance learning or telemedicine services to entities that operate a rural community facility...
For more information on this grant, visit
http://www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/dlt/dlt.htm
Or contact: 
David Noll --
david.noll@wdc.usda.gov -- (202) 720-0413 Gary Allan -- gary.allan@wdc.usda.gov -- (202) 720-0413
Complete applications must be received by March 24.
2009 DLT Toolkit
2009 DLT Application Guide 

Grants...more

Green Business

Training and Events 

The Illinois Association of Minorities in Government (IAMG) is sponsoring its 21st Annual State of the State Training Conference
Wednesday, April  29 through Friday, May 1, 2009.
The conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel, 700 East Adams Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62701.  The theme for this year's conference is,
"Empowering Our Members: Reclaiming Our Vision."...more

Benchmarking Your Company Against The Industry
March 10, 2009  7:30 am - 12:00 pm
How is my company doing compared to others in my industry? In this seminar, you will learn  where to find financial comparisons for your industry and how to use them to assess your own financial performance. Unlock the hidden information contained in financial statements that will enable you to make better management decisions. What will happen to my profits if costs increase suddenly or sales decline? Find out how to calculate your "break even point" and how to determine the additional sales needed when your costs increase.  This seminar will help you spot changes necessary to avoid future "profit drains" on your business.
Registration info

Eliminating Cash Flow Bottlenecks
March 17, 2009  7:30 am - 12:00 pm
How long can we hold on if sales decline? Can I afford to expand my business, and is now the right time? If I'm making profit, why don't I have any cash? Can I afford to buy this machine, hire that person, or borrow more money?  These and other questions will be answered in this seminar on managing cash flow. Understanding the cost/volume/profit relationship is essential in maintaining profitability. Discover how to develop a simple, effective cash budget for your business and make adjustments needed to avoid running out of cash. Find out where the cash bottlenecks are in your business and how to eliminate them.
Registration info

Secrets of Effective Employee Interviewing
March 24, 2009  7:30 am - 12:00 pm
Your employees are critical to the success of your business, yet hiring quality employees can be difficult. This class session will help you hire the right employees. Discover how to screen job applicants and conduct interviews, including the questions you may and may not ask. Learn and practice a number of interviewing, testing, demonstration and questioning techniques to help you make better hiring decisions. Explore the right way to use resumes and applications in the screening process, and how to properly document the selection decision.
Registration info

Employee Performance Management &
Creating Employee Handbooks
March 31, 2009  7:30 am - 12:00 pm
Effectively monitoring and managing employee performance will protect the human resource investment in your employees and reduce turnover. Learn how to properly conduct and document employee evaluations and disciplinary actions, including what you should and should not place in employee personnel files. Discover tips on reducing your unemployment insurance costs. One of the most overlooked ways a company can protect itself from employment related litigation is to have a well designed employee handbook.  The average cost of a "wrongful termination" lawsuit is over $250,000 today.  In this session, learn what you should and should not include in employee handbooks.  Discover how a good handbook can reduce unemployment, taxes, and other costs, while encouraging worker productivity.
Registration info

Upcoming Small Business Events
The Illinois Small Business Economic Recovery Forum --March 24, 2009 at Navy Pier

The Illinois Small Business Economic Recovery Forum will be held on Tuesday, March 24th at Navy Pier in Chicago.   Plan on attending this event for information and networking.  Learn first-hand, from the experts who know, how to access capital for your business; identify, complete the paperwork and navigate the federal, state and local contract opportunities being made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  For event registration, visit www.IL-Economic-Recovery.us or call (312) 353-4599; (312) 353-4385 or (312) 353-4519.
..more