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Glenwood hosts winter quarterly forum

Glenwood Mayor Kerry Durkin at Glenwwdie

Glenwood Mayor Kerry Durkin at Glenwoodie Golf Course

The CSEDC Winter Quarterly Forum showcased Glenwood economic goals, training and recruitment for manufacturing careers, the potential economic benefits of trail traffic, employer assisted housing and the products and services that Comcast offers. We thank all the presenters and the Village of Glenwood for hosting the event on Jan. 23 at Glenwoodie Golf Club.

There, Glenwood Mayor Kerry Durkin discussed investing in infrastructure in the Glenwood Industrial Park to spur economic development and create jobs. He doesn’t believe in sitting around and expecting businesses to pay millions in taxes to set-up shop in his village, he said. That’s why he has given radiation science company, Landauer, a long-vacant property along with TIFF money to get started. Now, the facility is open for business and training people for jobs.

“If I had left that property vacant, it would still be vacant,” Mayor Durkin said. He added that that he was seeking partners to invest in the Glenwood Halsted Corridor, connecting Homewood to Chicago Heights through Glenwood.

Bimba Manufacturing is also focused on jobs. The employee-owned company is challenged to find and keep engineers and skilled machinists here in the Southland, said their human resource director, Johanna Ryan.

The company has been engaging local high schools and colleges to address the problem of an aging and shrinking talent pool. Ms. Ryan is also working with CSEDC, OAI, Inc., community colleges, the Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership and the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce to develop the region’s ability to meet the needs of companies like Bimba in the Chicago Southland. Please click here to view the presentation slides.

Housing advocate Yonina Gray, of the Metropolitan Planning Council, pointed out the value of drawing and retaining a talented workforce through the Employer Assisted Housing Program. EAP encourages companies to provide homeownership counseling and financial assistance to employees who purchase or rent homes in or near communities where they are employed. The results include lowered turnover rates, training cost savings, better employee retention, local area revitalization, improved community relations and increased homeownership rates. The University of Chicago and Robinson Engineering are two big participants in the program. Hospitals and manufacturers also make great candidates for EAH. Please click here to view the presentation slides.

Local trial Investment  has the potential to boost the region’s economy and improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and tourists. Over the next three years, most of the Southland will have access to one of America’s most coveted amenities: a non-motorized, regionally connected, multi-use path…the Cal-Sag Trail, said Trails of Illinois Executive Director Steve Buchtel. “Trail users travel with credit cards in their pockets,” he added. “And they spend money.”

But the challenge for us is to get consistent branding, visitor maps, wayfinding signs that let people know that this a trail region and where to go for rest stops, lunch, a beer or even an overnight stay. Trails are not just trails, but paths along hotels, restaurants, museums and other businesses as well as rest stops, many that sell refreshments, he said. Tourists and residents alike need to know that this is a trail region. Please click here to view the presentation slides.

Other forum speakers included Comcast Senior Manager Kevin Burnson who offered a presentation on the company’s products and services available for local businesses and municipalities. Please click here to view the presentation slides.

More photos are here. A related story from the Southland Voice can be found here.

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