Manufacturers across the state are taking advantage of IMEC’s Illinois Manufacturing Innovation Voucher program! Just last November, IMEC announced a leading-edge economic development program to help small and medium-sized manufacturers accelerate technology adoption in their products and processes. Awarding up to $25,000 in matching funds, Illinois manufacturers can obtain external technical assistance to solve technology adoption challenges.
This article is contributed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Exporting opens a literal world of opportunity for Illinois manufacturers as 95% of global consumers are outside of the United States. Despite this fact, only 1% of America’s small businesses are active exporters.
“The idea of selling products outside of the U.S. can be daunting for many companies that may have negative perceptions about foreign market opportunities, the export process, and funding resources,” said Margo Markopoulos, Director of the Illinois Office of Trade & Investment. “Fortunately, the State of Illinois has a robust international trade network that companies can tap into for confidential, customized, and complimentary services created to help Illinois manufacturers successfully promote and sell their products overseas.”
IMEC is helping to bridge the manufacturing skills gap through an innovative new approach. The recently launched Skills Gap Analysis project is expected to help participating manufacturers plan their future workforce requirements and strengthen their communities. Recognizing the urgent need for a project like this in many Illinois manufacturers, IMEC’s president, Dr. David Boulay explains: “One of the biggest issues for managers in the manufacturing sector today is knowing what knowledge and skills workers will need beyond today’s work. We’ve seen the same series of events occur across many of our client companies: changing customer preferences lead to new products, which then leads to changing the way the work is done.”
It is awe-inspiring to walk into today’s manufacturers and see the efficient and productive way things are made. Yet, even though the United States remains one of the most productive countries, manufacturing productivity has remained flat over the past decade. This should be a major concern. Productivity is a vital foundation for stronger companies, rising standards of living, and vibrant communities.
As the cliché, but true saying goes: “numbers don’t lie.” We can’t help but agree as we review our 2019 client reported impacts! While it is certainly a time of celebration here at IMEC, it’s also a celebration for the 770 manufacturers who have invested in their competitive futures. By partnering with IMEC and reporting the impacts our work has contributed to their business, it allows us to show that we all play an important role in a much bigger story. These numbers speak volumes to the value our clients add to our manufacturing ecosystem. Not only are companies on a path to enterprise excellence, but they are also strengthening Illinois’ economic well-being, their communities, and their organization as whole.