New tool and strategies to strengthen regional economic development

A new innovative tool on job quality and access will help CMAP, economic development organizations across the region, and other partners improve northeastern Illinois’ economic position. 

Communities can use the tool to understand the advantages of their local labor market, identify where support is needed, and develop action plans to strengthen industries that support shared prosperity. The interactive data visualization tool provides analysis on employment trends, industry clusters, the quality of jobs, and the accessibility of jobs (such as the level of education required). Users can narrow results by county and ZIP code.

Watch an overview video from TIP Strategies about how to use the job quality and access tool. 

An accompanying plan, “Inclusive Growth Analysis,” also provides the region with a set of strategies to improve coordination of economic development and COVID-19 recovery efforts.  

CMAP set this work in motion two years ago at the request of the county board chairs and the mayor of Chicago to support a strong economic recovery and build back a more inclusive, prosperous, and resilient region. 

Since then, CMAP has been working with leaders, county and local economic development organizations, and related partners to boost economic growth through regional coordination. This tool and plan, developed with the economic development firm TIP Strategies, is one result of those efforts. 

The plan is guided by three principles: regional coordination; economic equity and opportunity; and economic growth through traded clusters

The plan identifies four traded industry clusters as both long-term and emerging priorities for metropolitan Chicago. They were chosen for their growth potential, applicability to the region, connection to quality jobs, and accessibility to economically disconnected populations: 

  1. Transportation, distribution, and logistics 
  2. Electric vehicles and clean energy 
  3. Advanced manufacturing  
  4. Agriculture, agriculture technology, and food processing 

The plan outlines specific strategies and actions for each of the four industry clusters.

The plan will help to build on the momentum of other regional initiatives that invest in the historic strength and good jobs of our export-oriented industries, such as the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium.

CMAP remains committed to partnering with counties, municipalities, economic development organizations, and other partners on regional and local economic development efforts.