Quad Cities to Lead Effort to Map States Defense Assets

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The University of Illinois has been awarded a $5.5 million grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to support defense manufacturers and other contractors in five communities coping with cuts in DOD spending.The university will conduct Illinois’ first statewide supply chain analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s defense sector, reported the Quad-City Business Journal. Those results will be used to develop strategic plans for the targeted communities — Quad Cities, Rockford, Peoria, Metro East (St. Louis) and Chicago.Much of the work will focus on the Quad-Cities region, which is responding to the loss of 1,500 workers at the Rock Island Arsenal over the past three years. The Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, which helped secure the grant in partnership with the University of Illinois, will assess the scope of the region’s defense contracts.“We’ll be identifying Arsenal contractors, subcontractors, workforce training and college assets to help us understand the layout of the defense-related assets,” Paul Rumler, chief economic development officer for the chamber, told the Journal.Some Quad-City companies rely solely on defense work, while defense contracts account for only a small portion of other companies’ operations.“This will allow us to see who has remained in that business, what they make, what amount of the personnel is reliant on that and how do we help them … so they are not totally reliant on defense work,” he said. “We need to identify what might be vulnerable so we know who to help.”The Quad-City region — made up of four counties in northwest Illinois and Southeastern Iowa — will serve as a pilot program “for Illinois communities on how to do outreach and as a model community across the country on how to help Department of Defense-impacted areas,” Rumler said.While nearly $4 million of the grant will support work focused on the Quad Cities, he said, the results will benefit the entire state.last_img

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