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March 23, 2018



The economy appears to be booming, as judged by continued job growth, household income gains, and historically high stock prices. But progress remains uneven: economic divides are growing between the coasts and the heartland, technology and other sectors, and the rich and the poor. This uneven progress reflects the accelerating pace of economic change that people and places across the nation now confront. Leaders in our major cities and metropolitan areas, centers of economic disruption and opportunity, are looking for insights and strategies to adapt. The Metro Monitor report’s Inclusive Growth Index charts the performance of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas across economic indicators in three broad categories that define economic success: growth, prosperity, and inclusion. It finds considerable variation in how different metro areas fared in their progress toward inclusive economic growth and prosperity in 2016, the most recent year for which complete data are available.



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



Beekeepers face challenges when they monitor the health of their honey bee colonies, and winter poses increased risk because opening a hive in cooler temperatures to collect data can be fatal to bees. Two University of Illinois electrical and computer engineering students and their advisor, a beekeeper himself, have found a solution to this problem. WaggleNet is a wireless monitoring system which collects data on the temperature and humidity inside beehives. Developed by Jimmy He, a sophomore in computer engineering and his teammate, Xiaolin Wu, a sophomore in electrical engineering, the WaggleNet system is currently in its first phase. ECE senior lecturer and undergraduate advisor Chris Schmitz calls this “an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT) for getting beyond the house.”


Merriam-Webster added the term “cryptocurrency” to the dictionary. Along with  "cryptocurrency" (a digital currency that operates independently of a central bank) and "dumpster fire" (a disastrous event), dictionary editors added hybrid words for dog breeds like "chiweenie" (a cross between a Chihuahua and a dachshund), "schnoodle" (a schnauzer and a poodle) and "Yorkie-poo" (a Yorkshire terrier and a poodle). Frequently used phrases such as "life hack" and "hate-watch" also made the cut, as did more colloquial fare, including, "hmm," "ooh," "mm-hmm," and "welp" (a remark expressing resignation or disappointment).



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