City of Chicago, Cook County & six Chicagoland counties announce first-ever regional partnership for economic development

“A powerful force for driving growth and creating opportunities throughout the region.”

Today, regional leaders announced the formation of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership, a first-of-its-kind united effort including the City of Chicago, Cook County, and six counties across metropolitan Chicago to drive a regional economic strategy intended to deliver mutual benefits to the partners, and strengthen Chicagoland’s economic force in an increasingly fierce competitive global market.

“I’m pleased to announce the creation of a regional economic development partnership, recommended by our City’s COVID-19 recovery task force,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, who also serves as chair, board of directors at World Business Chicago. “The Chicagoland region is a driving force of business in the nation. From its central location to industry strengths, this region is positioned for significant growth and continued emerging business driven by tech and innovation. I am grateful to World Business Chicago, the ideal partner to coordinate the varying interests of regional partners and the private sector, who will drive regional economic development into the future.”

With financial commitment from each of the partners totaling $1 million for the first in a three-year pilot, World Business Chicago will manage the new Chicagoland Partnership and expand its services region-wide, complementing existing municipal and county programs.

“I have long championed an equitable, regional approach to economic development, and it has been a top priority at the County ever since I took office,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I am proud to reach this historic milestone which helps advance our commitment to a more inclusive and equitable local economy.”

The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will focus on promoting the region’s many assets, including extensive freight infrastructure, diverse talent, strong exporting industries, and
world-class institutions of innovation, research, and culture to develop a competitive global identity. Also, international engagement will be coordinated among the partners, and they will share and optimize resources like market research and asset mapping to achieve greater efficiency and scale.

“We know we will achieve better results working together. The ability to share information and pool our resources makes this partnership truly a win-win for DuPage, Cook, the collar counties and the City of Chicago,” said former DuPage County Chair Dan Cronin (2010-2022) who has long championed this effort “If we want to truly thrive, a strong regional economic development effort is essential. The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will provide a critical component, showcasing the Chicagoland area’s many advantages for businesses considering a new location in our region.”

“Today’s announcement of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will not only move the Chicagoland region forward but become its distinctive competitive advantage, helping existing firms expand in the region and attract new corporations. The region’s future is bright,” said Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) set this work in motion two years ago, supported by a grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, at the request of the region’s county board chairs and the deputy mayor of Chicago. CMAP partnered with the Brookings Institution — a nonprofit public policy organization. The partners met over a series of convenings to develop the recommendations and achieve consensus on the Partnership’s principles and expectations. Those partners include:

  • Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle
  • DuPage County Board Chair Dan Cronin (Term ended in Dec. 2022)
  • Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog
  • Kendall County Board Chair Scott Gryder (Term ended in Dec. 2022)
  • 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, City of Chicago
  • Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
  • Choose DuPage
  • Lake County Partners
  • McHenry County Economic Development Corporation
  • Will County Center for Economic Development
  • World Business Chicago
  • Private and civic sector partners

To learn more about this initiative, visit partnership.

Testimonials from partners of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership

“The Greater Chicagoland Regional Economic Partnership represents an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration. Together, we can target and attract new business investment and educate national and international business leaders about the advantages of investing in the Chicagoland area. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we finally bring this vision to reality, welcoming new businesses and employees, who will quickly discover the many benefits our region has to offer.” – Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Chair

“We look forward to our involvement in this unique partnership among the City of Chicago and its collar counties to create a regional, collaborative approach to economic development. There is strength in numbers and this partnership will help to quicken the pace of post-pandemic recovery for Kane County businesses and its residents.” – Corinne Pierog, Kane County Chair

“The Chicagoland region is the heartbeat of the Midwest. We have the talent, training, and education to attract world class businesses and retain talent when we work in a collaborative nature.” – Scott Gryder, former (2016-2022) Kendall County Chair

“We have formed a historic partnership that positions our region for economic growth and prosperity for years to come. I thank the numerous agencies that are collaboratively working to raise the bar of economic development in northeastern Illinois and throughout the State. By working together, we are providing the support and resources that businesses require to be successful. Their success is our success.” – Sandy Hart, Lake County Chair

“McHenry County takes great pride in its world-class manufacturers and businesses, and the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership offers us a unique opportunity to further elevate their global profile by marketing them alongside the unique assets of our region. It has been a privilege to work alongside CMAP, the Brookings Institute, the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation, and, of course, my fellow county and municipal leaders to cement this partnership, and I look forward to the economic prosperity it will bring to our communities.” – Michael Buehler, McHenry County Chair

“As our local economy continues to grow and adapt to a changing environment, the importance of a regional partnership has never been clearer. We will be able to achieve more by working together. I look forward to working with my county colleagues throughout the Chicagoland region to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy.” – Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Will County Executive

“Chicago’s economy is bouncing back from the pandemic thanks to our comprehensive recovery task force report which includes developing a strategy to drive regional economic development. The investment of time and energy to build this partnership by the six regional partners, and the city of Chicago, has been exceptional. The Chicagoland region is a force to be reckoned — from its robust talent pipeline to its industry strengths, infrastructure, and emerging ecosystems. This united regional effort will be a game-changer.” – Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development, City of Chicago

“The Chicago region’s infamous segregation and fragmentation prevent us from reaching our full potential, both in growing an innovative, competitive economy and in addressing the opportunity gaps that limit the economic success and contribution of too many residents and communities. Our regional economy is indelibly linked to local outcomes. By collaborating at the scale our regional economy needs, the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will improve the availability of quality jobs for our residents to achieve self-sufficiency and economic mobility.” – Michael Davidson, Senior Director of Community Impact, The Chicago Community Trust

“On behalf of the entire region, thank you to our committed leaders and partners for championing this initiative. It reflects our deep collaboration over the past two years — to assess and implement economic development functions that are best undertaken together, at a regional scale. And I am confident that this new partnership will advance our goals of achieving an inclusive and thriving region. CMAP appreciates the opportunity to help shepherd this new era of regional economic cooperation for northeastern Illinois.” – Erin Aleman, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

“This partnership is the result of diverse public and private stakeholders setting aside historic differences to identify specific activities where a regional approach produces better, measurable outcomes for all. Through these activities, the cities and counties of Chicagoland will match how global peers now collaborate to compete — taking full advantage of their shared talent, industry, and innovation assets to achieve more inclusive economic growth across the region.” – Marek Gootman, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Metro

“On behalf of the region’s business community we applaud the work that went into convening and cementing this united, regional effort. This is a distinct competitive advantage for businesses operating and located in the Chicagoland region.” – Ryan Smith, Executive Vice President, Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America


Andrew Hayes,, 312-823-4333
Jennie Vana,, 312-386-8629