Business Leaders Gather to Hear Economic and Business Outlooks at the 14th Annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook Event

DuPage County Regional Business Outlook

More than 600 of the region’s top business and civic leaders gathered Thursday, June 6, 2024, at the 14th Annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook event held at the Drury Lane. Under the theme What Now & What Next?, the event shared actionable insights and valuable perspectives on the evolving business climate and how the community can work together for a better tomorrow.

Deborah Conroy, Chair of the DuPage County Board welcomed the group and provided a local snapshot of the DuPage economy. “The state of our County remains strong. We entered this fiscal year with a healthy budget surplus and kept our property tax rate flat. My financial strategy has focused on being fiscally responsible, making key investments to reduce pressures on future budgets, paying off debt early when we can, and maintaining healthy reserves and our AAA-bond rating. DuPage County is determined to provide outstanding levels of service for our residents and outstanding value for every tax dollar collected.” [View Chair Conroy’s Presentation]

Leo Harmon, CFA, CAIA, Senior Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer, Portfolio Manager Equity Management for Mesirow delivered the Economic Outlook. “The U.S. economy has remained more resilient than both its global peers and broader expectations over the last year driven by fiscal spending, monetary liquidity, and solid employment formation. The Fed has been able to sustain growth while reducing overall inflation. However, this strength has come at a cost as rising debt and deficits along with excess liquidity could potentially hamstring monetary policy by reducing the Fed’s ability to lower rates without triggering another round of inflation or stagnate growth by keeping rates higher for longer.” [View Leo Harmon’s Presentation]

Mark Sander, President & Chief Operating Officer for Old National Bank echoed some of these perspectives in his Business Outlook, where he shared insights into how these economic trends and other factors are impacting the business community. “Old National loves DuPage County and is invested in it. Chicagoland continues driving the economic future of the Midwest. There is a tremendous spirit of determination and collaboration, and a sense of pride in our city by business leaders that leaves us optimistic.” [View Mark Sander’s Presentation].

The annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook event, hosted by Choose DuPage, Ice Miller, and Mesirow, brings together DuPage County’s business owners and executives, government and education leaders and other members of the local business community to gain key insights about the current regional and national economic landscape, as well as to discuss best practices and growing potential in today’s economy.


About Choose DuPage
Choose DuPage is the regional economic development organization for DuPage County, Illinois. A public/private partnership, Choose DuPage is dedicated to advancing DuPage County as a premier global business location. Geographically desirable, with a highly skilled labor force, DuPage County offers a diverse economy, friendly business climate, and substantial transportation network. Choose DuPage leverages these benefits to retain and attract business, support local economic development efforts, and address policy issues critical to the needs of business. www.choosedupage.com

About Ice Miller
Ice Miller LLP is a full-service law firm dedicated to helping our clients stay ahead of a changing world. With over 350 legal professionals across seven offices, we advise clients on all aspects of complex legal issues impacting businesses each day. We serve emerging growth companies, FORTUNE 500 corporations, municipal entities and nonprofits. www.icemiller.com

About Mesirow
Mesirow is an independent, employee-owned financial services firm founded in 1937. Headquartered in Chicago, with offices around the world, we serve clients through a personal, custom approach to reaching financial goals and acting as a force for social good. With capabilities spanning Global Investment Management, Capital Markets & Investment Banking, and Advisory Services, we invest in what matters: our clients, our communities, and our culture.
www.mesirow.com 

How Local Manufacturers are Developing Next-Gen Talent

Let’s talk talent. In this episode, host Greg Bedalov joins three experts to explore how Chicagoland manufacturers are developing and recruiting next-generation workers.

How are manufacturers dealing with labor shortages? What can parents do to broaden their kids’ career horizons? And how is one local marketing agency helping make the next generation of “Mavericks”?

Find out on the Beat.

Special Guests:

Dive Deeper:

  • This episode features Custom Direct’s Manufacturing Mavericks website, where students, parents and professionals can explore true stories about careers in the trades. Check it out.
  • We also discuss Project Hire-Ed, a College of DuPage program that combines on-the-job training and instruction for apprentices. The program’s “earn and learn” model helps students learn new skills while actively building their careers. Watch this video to learn more.
  • When it comes to solving labor challenges, DuPage County has a unique tool: our seamless talent pipeline. This network of educational institutions, businesses and programs like Project Hire-Ed develops new talent and connects good workers with great careers. Learn more about our talent pipeline.

A special thanks to the College of DuPage for supporting today’s episode. To keep up with what’s happening in DuPage County and the Chicagoland region, follow Choose DuPage on social media or visit ChooseDuPage.com/Ready.

Argonne’s Aurora supercomputer breaks exascale barrier

Argonne Aurora Supercomputer

The lab’s new system achieves over a quintillion calculations per second.

Aurora’s speed and artificial intelligence capabilities will transform scientific research and enable breakthroughs in some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate and materials science to energy storage and fusion energy.


The Aurora supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has officially surpassed the exascale threshold, measuring over a quintillion calculations per second on the new Top500 list. The results were announced today at the ISC High Performance 2024 conference in Hamburg, Germany.

In its latest submission to the semi-annual list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, Aurora registered 1.012 exaflops using 87% of the system’s 10,624 nodes. After making its Top500 debut in November 2023, the Argonne system retained its spot as the second fastest supercomputer and joined DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Frontier as the world’s second exascale machine. Aurora also earned the top spot in a measure of artificial intelligence (AI) performance, achieving 10.6 exaflops on the HPL-MxP benchmark.

We’re thrilled to see Aurora join the exascale club,” said Michael Papka, director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science user facility at Argonne. ​I’m extremely proud of the Aurora team’s ongoing efforts to get the system up and running for the research community. We can’t wait to see what the full system will be capable of.”

As one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, Aurora gives scientists a powerful new tool for carrying out research involving simulation, AI and data analysis. The state-of-the-art system will not only enable breakthroughs in science and engineering but also spur new advances in technology and bolster the nation’s innovation infrastructure.

Aurora is fundamentally transforming how we do science for our country,” Argonne Laboratory Director Paul Kearns said. ​It will accelerate scientific discovery by combining high performance computing and AI to fight climate change, develop life-saving medical treatments, create new materials, understand the universe and so much more.”

Aurora excels at tackling both traditional scientific computing problems and AI-powered research,” added Rick Stevens, Argonne’s associate lab director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences. ​As AI continues to reshape the scientific landscape, Aurora gives us a platform to develop new tools and approaches that will significantly accelerate the pace of research.”

Built by Intel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Aurora’s first-of-its-kind architecture includes new technologies being deployed at an unprecedented scale. The supercomputer’s 63,744 graphics processing units (GPUs) make it the world’s largest GPU-powered system yet. It also has more endpoints in its interconnect technology than any other system to date.

The Aurora installation team, which includes staff from Argonne, Intel and HPE, continues to work through system validation, verification and scale-up activities. Their work has included addressing various hardware and software issues that emerge as the massive system nears full-scale operations.

Teams participating in the ALCF’s Aurora Early Science Program and DOE’s Exascale Computing Project have been preparing to run their research projects on Aurora for the past several years. The teams have demonstrated strong early performance gains while scaling and optimizing codes for the system. The initial Aurora projects include efforts to advance research in cosmology, fusion energy science, drug discovery and the design of new materials for clean energy technologies.

Hitting exascale is a huge milestone but enabling groundbreaking science is the ultimate goal,” said Susan Coghlan, ALCF project director for Aurora. ​The new performance numbers, along with some promising runs from our early science teams, give us a glimpse of what will be possible with Aurora.”


The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility provides supercomputing capabilities to the scientific and engineering community to advance fundamental discovery and understanding in a broad range of disciplines. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, the ALCF is one of two DOE Leadership Computing Facilities in the nation dedicated to open science.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology by conducting leading-edge basic and applied research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit their website.

Learn more about opportunities to partner with Argonne National Laboratory.

Breakfast with the Chair: Creating Workplaces that Work for Everyone

DuPage County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, April 10th at The Westwood in Lisle for a roundtable discussion on mental health in the workplace, employee wellness, and generational differences. The discussion is part of an ongoing series hosted by The Hon. Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Board Chair, and Choose DuPage, designed to provide an opportunity for the business community to connect, learn, and discuss important topics affecting DuPage County.

Gina Sharp, President of Linden Oaks Hospital and System Behavioral Health Service Line for Endeavor Health led the discussion along with Dr. Lindsey Harrington, PsyD.  

Key Takeaways From the Discussion:

  • It all goes back to establishing a strong connection between your employees and the purpose and why of your organization. Employees need to feel intrinsically connected to their workplace.
  • We really have to think about mental health and the workplace differently. It’s not something that can be done as an afterthought – it has to be something we are engaging in as a preventative measure, and incorporated into all aspects of things we do. As you are making business decisions, think about mental health – for your staff, yourself, and your customers. And how that can be enhanced or potentially harmed by decisions you make.
  • Your most important resource is staff – you can’t run without them. And you need to “service” them like you would an engine. Review your employees’ workload regularly and make sure they have time to breathe and think about their work. Otherwise, they become a cog in the wheel. Or they burnout.  
  • It all starts with leadership because everyone is going to mirror their behavior. For example, if you are a leader that goes on vacation and checks email and responds every day, think about the message that sends your employees. It says that you don’t prioritize taking a mental break from work, you think others should work on their vacation, and you must not trust your employees to do their work while you are gone.
  • We shouldn’t be [only] trying to make people happy. There is a lot that you can do to make people happy, but it doesn’t necessarily give them a sense of fulfillment or connection to their workplace. It’s about making them feel valued and seen.
  • Everyone communicates differently – you can’t take one single approach to connecting with employees and assume it will work. It’s like Swiss cheese, there are holes. You have to keep layering the cheese on to close those holes. It’s called the Swiss cheese model of communication. A message needs to be communicated 7-10 times before it really gets through. And the ways you need to communicate that message should be different for different people.

Resources:

Pictured above: Joe Dant, Endeavor Health, Gina Sharp, Endeavor Health, The Hon. Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Board Chair, Dr. Lindsey Harrington, Endeavor Health, and Greg Bedalov, Choose DuPage.

ComEd Announces Elmhurst Substation Expansion Project to Power Regional Economic Growth

ComEd

Upgrades support future energy needs and electricity capacity growth for homes and businesses in DuPage County and northern Illinois

ComEd announced the expansion of its 345,000-volt (345 kV) Elmhurst transmission substation, a critical infrastructure investment that will prepare the region for future power needs and increase resiliency of the transmission system. Construction is now underway, with the project expected to be complete by December 2025. Investments to expand the substation will support continued dependability for existing customers and will allow for future capacity upgrades to be made to foster continued economic and business growth for the region.

“ComEd is proud to maintain and grow the most reliable grid in the country, which requires proactive planning to meet the future power needs of our customers,” said Mark Baranek, senior vice president technical services at ComEd. “Investments like the expansion of the Elmhurst substation will ensure the grid is primed to support local business growth for many years to come.”

This substation is one example of how ComEd is taking action to modernize the grid to support increasing demand as a result of the accelerated adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), residential heat pumps and solar deployments in Illinois. Following the upgrades to this substation, ComEd will be able to increase high-voltage transmission capacity in the region as demand continues to grow. 

“Through all areas of its business, ComEd is looking at ways to prepare the grid for the future, and that includes looking at the potential for business growth in our communities,” said Greg Bedalov, president and CEO of Choose DuPage. “The expanded capabilities of this substation will continue to make DuPage County an attractive location for large, commercial and industrial businesses who depend on a reliable and resilient grid to maintain their operations.”

“This investment in critical infrastructure means DuPage County residents can now benefit from the increased resiliency of the transmission system and find their electric power is more reliable, especially during high-use periods and inclement weather. It’s important that these upgrades take place now, while also providing for future enhancements based on the residential and business needs of our community,” said DuPage County Board Chair, Deborah Conroy.

Engineering and design for this $93 million project began in 2023 and construction is currently underway. Construction of this substation is being completed by a diverse, local firm, Ruiz Construction Systems. Customers currently served by this substation will not experience interruptions in power delivery due to construction.

“We are proud to be part of the team advancing technology and connectivity for northern Illinois,” said Gonzalo Ruiz, CEO of Ruiz Construction Systems. “As a long-time partner of ComEd, we are excited to work on another innovative grid project.”

Upgrades from this project will support increased connectivity to neighboring substations in northern Illinois, increasing the overall resiliency of the system. By increasing the number of connective pathways from substation to substation, ComEd is hardening the high-voltage transmission system to perform better during severe weather.

This project builds on ComEd’s commitment to maintaining nation-leading grid reliability. Since beginning its smart grid investments in 2011, ComEd has helped customers avoid more than 22 million outages and save more than $3.8 billion in outage-related costs.

Argonne is Supercharging Manufacturers with Science

Chris Heckle Argonne

DuPage Business Beat Podcast | Ep. 7

Most Chicagoland residents have heard of Argonne National Laboratory, the DuPage County-based U.S. Department of Energy facility. But what many don’t realize is that Argonne is teaming up with manufacturers to develop groundbreaking projects at-scale, from EV batteries to carbon capture tech.

For today’s episode, host Greg Bedalov sits down with Chris Heckle, Director of the Materials Manufacturing Innovation Center, to discuss the transformative work happening at Argonne—and the collaboration behind it.

Dive Deeper:

  • Home to two National Laboratories (Argonne and Fermilab) as well as one of the nation’s top science and engineering talent pools, DuPage County has a science-first ecosystem. Learn more.
  • Argonne researchers recently won three R&D 100 Awards, AKA “the Oscars of Innovation.” Their award-winning work included an AI program designed to accelerate cancer research and a physics simulation for nuclear energy. Read the full story.
  • If your business is interested in partnering with the Material Manufacturing Innovation Center at Argonne, reach out to Chris Heckle on LinkedIn.

A special thanks to the College of DuPage for supporting today’s episode. To keep up with what’s happening in DuPage County and the Chicagoland region, follow Choose DuPage on social media or visit ChooseDuPage.com/Ready.


DuPage Business Beat Podcast

Today’s biggest business issues, told from a Chicagoland perspective. A podcast about emerging industries, shifting borders, economic ecosystems, and you. Featuring experts and entrepreneurs. Hosted by Greg Bedalov, President & CEO of Choose DuPage. DuPage Business Beat is produced by Choose DuPage.

ComEd Announces New EV Rebates for Business and Public Sector Customers; Applications to Open February 15

ComEd launching $87 million in new rebates to incentivize expansion of electric vehicle charging, bring greater access to zero-emissions vehicles for communities throughout the region

CHICAGO (February 8, 2024) – As part of a larger investment to accelerate an equitable adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in northern Illinois, ComEd is launching two new business and public sector EV rebate programs. New programs will provide a total of $87 million this year to help reduce upfront costs of all-electric commercial and public sector fleet vehicle purchases and incentivize the buildout of more business and public charging across the region.

ComEd today joined a diverse mix of environmental, community, industry, and municipal stakeholders in announcing its newest EV rebates from the annual Chicago Auto Show, held at McCormick Place. The two new EV rebate programs will begin accepting applications on February 15, 2024, with funds awarded on a first come, first served basis. New EV rebates for businesses and public sector customers follows the recent launch of the EV Charger and Installation Rebate Program for residential customers, for which customer can apply for by visiting ComEd.com/Clean.

“Working with our partners in northern Illinois, ComEd is committed to helping customers benefit from zero emissions vehicles, which can significantly reduce pollution and enhance air quality for all residents across our communities,” said Erica Borggren, ComEd Vice President of Customer Solutions. “Through new targeted incentives, we are aiming to accelerate the transition toward all-electric fleets, cars, buses, and trucks, while at the same time catalyzing the buildout of a regional network of public EV charging to serve more customers – a key factor to growing EV adoption equitably.”

New programs launching in 2024 include a total of $87 million for business and public sector EV initiatives. This year, $57 million in rebates will be available for business and public sector EV purchases, and $30 million in rebates are available to support electrical infrastructure “make ready” upgrades needed for the installation of publicly available Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations. Level 2 chargers can charge an EV battery 6 to 8 times faster than charging from a wall outlet, often referred to as a Level 1 charger. Level 3 chargers, often referred to as Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) can charge a typical EV battery in less than one hour.

More than half of all rebate funding is reserved to help boost EV investment in equity-eligible communities, and with higher levels of rebates reserved for customers located in, driving, or doing business in low-income and equity-eligible communities. 2

“Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, the state of Illinois is leading an EV revolution, delivering incentives and enabling significant expansion of our EV charging network so more residents can take advantage of environmental and air quality benefits of zero emissions vehicles,” said Megha Lakhchaura, EV Officer for the state of Illinois. “ComEd’s new EV programs complement state and federal incentives designed to boost EV adoption and charging buildout on a larger scale. This means more school districts, transit agencies, local governments and small and large businesses and their surrounding communities can access the benefits of EVs.”

Specifically, funding amounts and eligibility for the two new ComEd rebate programs for business and public sector customers to support large-scale EV adoption are as follows:

  • A total of $57M is available in 2024 for EV Purchase Rebates
    Rebates between $5,000-$180,000 each, with funding not to exceed the cost of the vehicle. This includes funding for light duty, medium duty, and heavy-duty fleet vehicles, transit buses, and K-12 school buses. The rebate can also be applied retroactively in some cases; ComEd will accept applications for vehicles purchased as far back as June 1, 2023.
  • A total of $30M is available in 2024 for Make-Ready Electrical Infrastructure Rebates
    Rebates of up to $8,000 per Level 2 EV charger plug or port (with a 10-port maximum) or up to $1,000 per kW for infrastructure serving Level 3 chargers with a minimum of 50kW (maximum rebate of $500,000). Rebates can cover project make-ready costs including, but not limited to, contractor labor, conduits, cable, fasteners and breakers. Rebates will not cover the cost of the physical charger. This rebate can also be applied retroactively in some cases; ComEd will accept applications for qualifying projects completed as far back as June 1, 2023.

New investments to accelerate EV adoption in the region complement statewide plans to boost EV adoption in Illinois – a key focus as part of the state’s Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which sets a goal of putting 1 million EVs on state roads by 2030. EV ownership has increased in recent years, with 80,000 vehicles driving in northern Illinois today, up from just 17,000 in 2019. ComEd programs build on state and federal programs designed to reduce upfront costs to vehicle purchase, and to reduce range anxiety through the expansion of a network of charging serving more communities.

The new rebate programs announced today are geared toward business and public sector customers, including:

  • Those who are considering electrifying their fleet to improve their environmental footprint while reducing their fuel and operating costs.
  • Those who are looking to offer charging access to their customers and communities.

The programs will accept applications from a broad range of business and public sector customers, including small and large businesses, local government, school districts, and transit authorities.

“ComEd’s investments to expand EV adoption will support our regional efforts to address climate change and enhance air quality by reducing tailpipe emissions,” said Kevin Burns, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Chairman of the Executive Board, Environmental Committee and Energy Subcommittee. “New rebate programs from ComEd will 3

complement the work our local governments are doing to develop infrastructure, policy and to lay the framework for an equitable EV future here in northern Illinois.”

“With dangerous air pollution still a regional challenge and with the burdens of asthma weighing more heavily on lower income communities, this new EV program will help reduce air pollution from the largest source in northern Illinois and make owning a clean, zero-emission vehicle more affordable precisely where they can provide the greatest health benefits,” said Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs at Respiratory Health Association.

EVs provide numerous benefits for customers. Not only do they offer fuel and maintenance cost savings and performance benefits, but communities can experience broad environmental improvements from reduced tailpipe emissions. Additionally, electrifying transportation—including cars, trucks, school buses and public transit fleets—can create tangible health benefits for all communities and families across northern Illinois, especially communities which have traditionally borne the brunt of climate change and air pollution.

“The Environmental Law & Policy Center is especially encouraged that school districts can get ComEd assistance with electric school buses and charging equipment,” said Susan Mudd, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “This is an equity issue as more low-income families rely upon bus transportation to safely get their children to and from school than higher-income families. We know that electric school buses provide a zero-emission ride to and from school, which means children are not exposed to asthma-inducing fumes. The quieter electric buses also mean students arrive at school calmer and more ready to learn.”

“ComEd’s ongoing commitment to advancing electrification is vital for reducing carbon emissions, improving health, and creating financial benefits for all communities in Illinois,” said Nate Baguio, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at Lion Electric. “As a regional partner of ComEd’s, we recognize the importance of clean energy transportation programs, which are further amplified by state and federal investments such as the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois Act (REV), Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) and EPA Clean School Bus Program.”

“The launch of ComEd’s new EV rebates will make a big difference in helping low-income and environmental justice communities play a direct role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Billy Davis, Co-Founder, General Manager, Jitney EV, LLC. “By reserving half of all funding for equity eligible communities, ComEd is enabling a more just and equitable transition toward EVs and will incentivize more sustainable investment and cleaner air for the communities that need it most.”

ComEd’s new rebates take into consideration the large upfront costs associated with commercial grade electric vehicle purchase. ComEd also intends to work with local auto dealers to establish a process in 2024 that seeks to enable pre-approved rebate vouchers that can be applied at the point of purchase.

“ComEd’s new EV rebate programs mark a significant step in advancing sustainable transportation. Through providing substantial rebates for residential, commercial and public 4

sector charging, and fleet electrification with a focus on addressing financial barriers and communities in northern Illinois most impacted by pollution, ComEd demonstrates its dedication to enhancing accessibility to electric vehicles and beneficial electrification,” said Samantha Bingham, Coordinator of the Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation. “The Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation applauds ComEd’s rebate initiative and its broader efforts in advancing energy sustainability in the U.S. by facilitating clean fuel adoption and accessible charging infrastructure.”

New investments to support EV adoption at scale builds on existing ComEd programs to assist customers with electric fleet and charging infrastructure planning. This includes customized fleet assessments, as well as the recent launch of a new ComEd Fleet Toolkit at www.comed.com/EVbiz. The Fleet Toolkit can be used to develop a comprehensive estimate of the cost of converting a fleet, and to determine the optimum rate plan, charging times, and charging equipment for a fleet electrification project of any size. The Toolkit also contains a “EV Load Capacity Map” to help customers plan where to install charging infrastructure, based on estimated available load capacity.

To learn more about how ComEd is helping customers plan their journey to an EV, visit www.comed.com/ev. For more information on eligibility and to apply for new EV rebates on or after February 15th, visit www.comed.com/clean.

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ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and YouTube.

Breakfast with the Chair: Workforce Development

DuPage County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, January 24 at CBRE in Oak Brook for a roundtable discussion on workforce development. The discussion is part of an ongoing series hosted by The Hon. Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Board Chair, and Choose DuPage, designed to provide an opportunity for the business community to connect, learn, and discuss important topics affecting DuPage County.

Pictured above: Greg Bedalov, Choose DuPage | Laticia Holbert, ComEd | DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy | Lisa Shvach, workNet DuPage

Laticia Holbert, Workforce Development Manager for ComEd led the discussion along with Lisa Shvach, Executive Director of workNet DuPage.

Some of the key takeaways include:

  • Workforce development is a compilation of comprehensive, focused actions to build economic and human capital in order to create business and community sustainability, remove barriers to decrease unemployment and underemployment and ensure a highly skilled, diverse workforce. Human resources (HR) is the division of a business responsible for finding, recruiting, screening, and training job applicants and also handle employee compensation, benefits, and terminations.
  • Employers need to be thinking about how young people are selecting work, because it’s so different than past generations. Younger generations need to see a career path laid out, they want to know what you’re doing for the community, for sustainability. It’s not just about money, they need to feel good about their work.
  • Partnering with other stakeholders in workforce development is critical. When you are creating workforce programs, utilize local workforce organizations and educational partners to help support the program. ComEd partners with organizations like Hire360, Chicago Corporate Coalition, Dawson Technical Institute, Big Shoulders Fund, Chicago Builds and Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.
  • On-the-job training (apprenticeship models) is going to be more important than ever for the development of future workforce.
  • When recruiting employees, look for potential, not just skillsets. Managers may be tempted to fill a position quickly with someone who already has a skillset. But long-term workforce development comes from investing the time into someone with the right potential.

Learn more about DuPage County’s workforce ecosystem.

People-nomics, Part 2: Housing, Aging & Inflation

DUPAGE BUSINESS BEAT | PODCAST EP. 6

In this follow-up to “People-nomics: Part 1”, we continue our exploration of all things labor. Host Greg Bedalov and a pair of economic experts break down a wide range of workforce-related issues, including the rising cost of housing, the aging population, and the endgame of recent inflation.

Missed Part 1? Listen here.

Guests:

  • Matt Finn, CFA, Chief Economist of 1834, a division of Old National Bank
  • Glenn Mazade, SVP, Commercial Business Banking of Old National Bank

Host: Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage

Dive Deeper:

  • Want to learn more about Chicagoland’s workforce? Start with the Chicagoland Economic Partnership Asset Report, a free resource that offers insights into the region’s key assets.
  • In 2023, DuPage County and Greater Chicagoland dominated Newsweek’s Greatest Workplaces list. See who made the list – and learn how these employers are reducing turnover rates while boosting employee productivity.
  • Located in the thriving Chicagoland region, DuPage County has access to a world-class talent pool. Visit the Choose DuPage workforce page to learn how our seamless pipeline helps develop next-gen talent and connects businesses with the workers they need.

A special thanks to the College of DuPage for supporting today’s episode. To keep up with what’s happening in DuPage County and the Chicagoland region, follow Choose DuPage on social media or visit ChooseDuPage.com/Ready.


DUPAGE BUSINESS BEAT PODCAST

Today’s biggest business issues, told from a Chicagoland perspective. A podcast about emerging industries, shifting borders, economic ecosystems, and you. Featuring experts and entrepreneurs. Hosted by Greg Bedalov, President & CEO of Choose DuPage. DuPage Business Beat is produced by Choose DuPage.

People-nomics, Part 1: Automation, Immigration & The Supply Chain

DUPAGE BUSINESS BEAT | PODCAST EP. 5

Today’s businesses are struggling for one thing: talent. So how did we get here? What factors are influencing the labor market? And how can businesses adapt?

The answer: It’s complicated.

In today’s episode, host Greg Bedalov sits down with an economist and a banking expert to discuss all things “People-nomics” – the economics of labor.

In the first half of their two-part conversation, Greg & co. discuss how automation and immigration are impacting the labor crisis, and what a shifting global supply chain could mean for our region.

Be sure to listen to “People-nomics, Part 2”, where we’ll dive into the rising cost of housing—and discuss what the heck is happening with interest rates.

Guests:

  • Matt Finn, CFA, Chief Economist of 1834, a division of Old National Bank
  • Glenn Mazade, SVP, Commercial Business Banking of Old National Bank

Host: Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage

Dive Deeper:

  • Want to learn more about Chicagoland’s workforce? Start with the Chicagoland Economic Partnership Asset Report, a free resource that offers in-depth data and insights on the region’s key assets.
  • Want better workers? Build better workplaces. Check out our Smartest Workplaces in DuPage: 2023 list to see how businesses in the Chicagoland suburbs are redefining workplace experiences.
  • Located in the thriving Chicagoland region, DuPage County has access to a world-class talent pool. Visit the Choose DuPage workforce page to learn how our seamless pipeline helps develop next-gen talent and connects businesses with the workers they need.

A special thanks to the College of DuPage for supporting today’s episode. To keep up with what’s happening in DuPage County and the Chicagoland region, follow Choose DuPage on social media or visit ChooseDuPage.com/Ready.


DuPage Business Beat Podcast

Today’s biggest business issues, told from a Chicagoland perspective. A podcast about emerging industries, shifting borders, economic ecosystems, and you. Featuring experts and entrepreneurs. Hosted by Greg Bedalov, President & CEO of Choose DuPage. DuPage Business Beat is produced by Choose DuPage.