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March 2, 2018



The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs will host the 29th Annual Rural Community and Economic Development Conference "Designing Our Future to Reach New Heights," March 7-8, 2018, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 701 E Adams Springfield, IL, in conjunction with the Governor's Rural Affairs Council and Rural Partners. This annual statewide conference is focused on improving the quality of life for small rural communities throughout the state, featuring approximately 20 speakers from Illinois and beyond, who will share their experience and expertise.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released an updated and modernized version of its National Broadband Map. The map is designed to support more frequent data updates to provide a reliable source of broadband deployment information for consumers.




International Trade – It’s Easy When You Know How

Presented by: Kathie Cravens, International Trade Specialist, Illinois Small Business Development Center

Noon-1PM, Thursday, April 12, 2018

Join us for a free webinar, where local officials and economic development professionals will learn about what they can do to assist small business expansion into the international market, international trade opportunities in Illinois, and business retention.

Kathie Cravens, CGBP, MIEx, a seasoned international trade specialist with years of exporting experience, has traveled and lived abroad, worked closely with numerous international dealers and distributors, and has attended several international trade shows. She has advised small to medium sized companies on their export practices and has been directly involved with U.S. exporting. She provides research support for new markets and products and referral assistance for export related activities, licensing, certification, legal and financial consultation, logistics and customs issues.

Cravens was owner of BritAm International, an export management company, advising small to medium sized companies on the expertise of exporting. Before accepting her new position as international trade specialist for the September 2013 opening of the new International Trade Center (ITC) in Champaign, she was employed at the GSI Group as an international logistics specialist, exporting product from Taylorville and Assumption to every continent of the world. REGISTER HERE FOR THE WEBINAR!



Attention all Illinois non-profit staff, volunteers, board members, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, churches, social and ​​civic service organizations, non-profit studies majors, and community servants: Please join us for a 25+ year community collaboration! The goal of the Southern Illinois Volunte​​erism Conferenc​e is to provid​​e training and support to those who devote their time and energy to volunteering in their community. We bring quality training to your backyard to ensure you have the tools you need to succeed.  Register and View the Conference Schedule



March 7-8, 2018 - IIRA Rural Community Economic Development Conference

March 7, 2018 - Rural Partners Annual Meeting, 12:30 - 1:00 p.m., Lincoln Room of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, Springfield

April 12, 2018 (Webinar) - International Trade and Small Business Development in Illinois

May 3, 2018 (Webinar) - Open Meetings Act

June 14, 2018 (Webinar) - Age-Friendly Communities and Senior Bullying

June 27, 2018 - Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference