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April 6, 2018



For some of the world's most pressing water questions, the answer is in nature. Clean, plentiful water depends on healthy surrounding natural systems such as forests. Much of the world's water is filtered through forested watersheds, which improve water quality and protect water supply. Large forests like the Amazon even help control the "rivers of the sky," which dictate rainfall patterns hundreds of miles away. While both the world's forests and water supply are under threat, their intertwined relationship also means that these systems can be improved simultaneously. Current water crises are impacted by three specific challenges – climate change, forest fires and extreme weather – all of which can benefit from valuing and restoring forests.




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




New research from Timothy J. Bartik, an economist at the W. E. Upjohn Institute, suggests that while economic incentives provided by cities and states benefit local economic development in the short term, negative effects begin compounding as soon as 22 years into an agreement. Public education suffers most drastically from budgetary reshuffling; and vulnerable low-income populations are afforded the smallest gains. “There’s no free lunch,” said Bartik. “The incentives have to be paid for, and the money comes from somewhere.” Bartik used a model of a typical local economy to find out where, and to put real numbers to some conventional wisdom (and controversial assumptions) regarding economic development agreements. Experts disagree on just how much cities, counties, and states across the U.S. offer companies each year. In 2012, The New York Times estimated $80 billion; in 2017, Bartik calculated a more conservative $45 billion. But most can agree that they’re accelerating.



According to recent studies by The Brookings Institution, automation has created jobs, enhanced the size of the economic pie, and increased total worker earnings, but it has not raised the share of national income allocated to wages as rapidly as it has raised productivity. In short, the part of the economic pie that belongs to worker earnings has shrunk. This finding holds whether automation is measured by productivity gains, by industry-level patenting flows, or by adoption of industrial robotics. In net, the effect of automation on the share of national income allocated to wages is negative because industry-level loses are not fully offset by productivity spillovers accruing to customer and supplier industries.




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