Leaders from the seven counties across the region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will), along with the City of Chicago, in partnership with economic development organizations throughout the region, are shepherding a new era of regional economic cooperation.
With consensus around principles for regional cooperation, the Chicagoland Inclusive Regional Economy Initiative aims to boost economic growth and shared prosperity across the region and its diverse communities.
By working together, the goal is to ensure robust, equitable economic growth by building a globally competitive ecosystem and leveraging the region’s assets including a world-class transportation infrastructure, economic sectors, talent, and innovation.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) set this work in motion two years ago at the request of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, the other county board chairs and the deputy mayor of Chicago. Supported by a grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, CMAP partnered with the Brookings Institution — a nonprofit public policy organization known for high-quality, independent research and innovative policy solutions across the nation and world.
Left to right: Dr. Clyne Namuo, President of Joliet Junior College; Jim McConoughey, President of the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation; Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago (behind); Chair Scott Gryder, Kendall County Board; Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage; President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board of Commissioners; Chair Corinne Pierog, Kane County Board; Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Will County Executive; Xochitl Flores, Bureau Chief of Economic Development for Cook County; Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor of Economic and Neighborhood Development for the City of Chicago; Erin Aleman, Executive Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning; Chair Michael Buehler, McHenry County Board; Doug Pryor, President and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development
County and city leaders and other stakeholders discussed the Brookings Institution’s recommended strategies and prioritized activities at a meeting at Joliet Junior College in September, including immediate next steps to finalize and launch joint efforts. Among the set of recommendations are coordinating international economic engagement and creating a global identity for the region; expanding city-centric entrepreneurship support regionwide, with a focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs; and establishing shared capacity for data and research in economic development, among other activities.
Northeastern Illinois is a center for international business with extensive assets, but the region has faced persistent challenges like slow economic progress and stagnant population growth. Brookings experts and local leaders have drawn on best practices to develop a shared regional framework for equitable economic development. The Initiative also builds on progress achieved through local programs like the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium, the Southland Development Authority, and the efforts of municipal and county economic development officials.
Next steps include formalizing agreements among the various agencies to operationalize the Initiative’s principles, objectives and strategies.
The Chicagoland Inclusive Regional Economy Initiative participants include:
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle
DuPage County Board Chair Dan Cronin
Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog
Kendall County Board Chair Scott Gryder
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 at the City of Chicago
Economic development organizations from across the seven counties, including: Choose DuPage, Lake County Partners, the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation, the Will County Center for Economic Development, and World Business Chicago