Governor releases five-year plan

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Revitalization is a key part of the governor’s five-year economic plan for Illinois. It focuses on keeping talent and expanding businesses that are major drivers of the state’s economy.

In the plan, the governor said he wants to put a stop to a population decline by laying the foundation for the next pipeline of workers and entrepreneurs in Illinois.

According to the plan, Governor J.B. Pritzker is “thinking big” to overcome some economic challenges the state is facing. His new five-year plan highlights the importance of revitalizing downstate, investing in communities of color, and making sure young people stick around to be apart of the change.

“When you say you are going to revitalize it, what does that mean? Are you going to bring jobs? Are you going to have entertainment for young people?
Because as we talked about before, we lose a lot of young black people because there is nothing for them to do here after work and then the second thing is, they can’t even get the job when they return home here from college,” said Illinois NAACP State President Teresa Haley.

On top of equity and retention, Pritzker’s plans details his desire for the state to continue winning in six key areas. Those are agribusiness,
energy, information technology, life sciences and health care, transportation and logistics, and manufacturing.

While retention is a bigger issue around the state, leaders in manufacturing say high paying jobs are keeping people in their field. They are, however, facing another obstacle. Mark Denzler, President of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association told WCIA: “A big issue we face is a perception problem. A lot of people think of manufacturing as dark, dirty and dangerous, and it’s not. Today, manufacturers are clean, high-tech, automated. They are cool places to work but we just have to do a better job of telling that story.”

Part of changing that perception could be through a marketing campaign aimed to get new applicants into an aging, manufacturing workforce. The governor also said two manufacturing training academies that accept students from all over the state will established in downstate Illinois.

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