Will County Part of First-Ever Regional Partnership for Economic Development

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant joins leadership from across northeastern Illinois to announce the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership. This first-of-its-kind collaboration among the seven counties of northeastern Illinois and the City of Chicago aims to drive economic growth and advance equity across the region and its diverse communities.
Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant joins leadership from across northeastern Illinois to announce the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership. This first-of-its-kind collaboration among the seven counties of northeastern Illinois and the City of Chicago aims to drive economic growth and advance equity across the region and its diverse communities.

Regional leaders recently announced the formation of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership, a first-of-its-kind united effort including the City of Chicago, Cook County, and six counties, including Will.

The group aims to drive a regional economic strategy intended to deliver mutual benefits to the partners, and strengthen Chicagoland’s economic force in an increasingly fierce competitive global market.

“I’m pleased to announce the creation of a regional economic development partnership, recommended by our City’s COVID-19 recovery task force,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, who also serves as chair, board of directors at World Business Chicago.

“The Chicagoland region is a driving force of business in the nation. From its central location to industry strengths, this region is positioned for significant growth and continued emerging business driven by tech and innovation. I am grateful to World Business Chicago, the ideal partner to coordinate the varying interests of regional partners and the private sector, who will drive regional economic development into the future.”

With financial commitment from each of the partners totaling $1 million for the first in a three-year pilot, World Business Chicago will manage the new Chicagoland Partnership and expand its services region-wide, complementing existing municipal and county programs.

“I have long championed an equitable, regional approach to economic development, and it has been a top priority at the County ever since I took office,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I am proud to reach this historic milestone which helps advance our commitment to a more inclusive and equitable local economy.”

The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will focus on promoting the region’s many assets, including extensive freight infrastructure, diverse talent, strong exporting industries, and
world-class institutions of innovation, research, and culture to develop a competitive global identity.

Also, international engagement will be coordinated among the partners, and they will share and optimize resources like market research and asset mapping to achieve greater efficiency and scale.

“Today’s announcement of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will not only move the Chicagoland region forward but become its distinctive competitive advantage, helping existing firms expand in the region and attract new corporations. The region’s future is bright,” said Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago.

“As our local economy continues to grow and adapt to a changing environment, the importance of a regional partnership has never been clearer. We will be able to achieve more by working together. I look forward to working with my county colleagues throughout the Chicagoland region to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy,” Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Will County Executive.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) set this work in motion two years ago, supported by a grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, at the request of the region’s county board chairs and the deputy mayor of Chicago.

CMAP partnered with the Brookings Institution — a nonprofit public policy organization. The partners met over a series of convenings to develop the recommendations and achieve consensus on the Partnership’s principles and expectations. Those partners include:

  • Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle
  • DuPage County Board Chair Dan Cronin (Term ended in Dec. 2022)
  • Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog
  • Kendall County Board Chair Scott Gryder (Term ended in Dec. 2022)
  • Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart
  • McHenry County Board Chair Michael Buehler
  • Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant
  • Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood and Economic Development, City of Chicago
  • Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
  • Choose DuPage
  • Lake County Partners
  • McHenry County Economic Development Corporation
  • Will County Center for Economic Development
  • World Business Chicago
  • Private and civic sector partners

“This partnership is the result of diverse public and private stakeholders setting aside historic differences to identify specific activities where a regional approach produces better, measurable outcomes for all. Through these activities, the cities and counties of Chicagoland will match how global peers now collaborate to compete — taking full advantage of their shared talent, industry, and innovation assets to achieve more inclusive economic growth across the region,” said Marek Gootman, Nonresident Senior Fellow Brookings Metro.

“On behalf of the entire region, thank you to our committed leaders and partners for championing this initiative. It reflects our deep collaboration over the past two years — to assess and implement economic development functions that are best undertaken together, at a regional scale. And I am confident that this new partnership will advance our goals of achieving an inclusive and thriving region. CMAP appreciates the opportunity to help shepherd this new era of regional economic cooperation for northeastern Illinois,” said Erin Aleman, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Story and photo courtesy of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

 

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