Cook County and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) Announce New Round of Applications for Manufacturing Reinvented Program
COOK COUNTY, IL — Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) announced a new round of applications for Manufacturing Reinvented, a $5 million grant program that supports local, suburban manufacturers with the implementation of projects to improve a business’s competitiveness and resiliency in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic environment. As part of the program, Cook County will reimburse suburban based companies for up to $25,000 in eligible expenses associated with an approved project. Participating companies also receive IMEC’s expert advising services to refine project design and scope. The application portal will remain open from December 1st – December 31st.
Eligible projects include investments to:
- Adopt automation
- Build supply chain resiliency
- Enhance productivity
- Identify talent solutions
- Improve visibility in the marketplace
- Undertake strategic planning
“Clearly this program provides a much-needed resource to local manufacturers as the economy recovers and firms work to reposition themselves,” said President Preckwinkle. “Manufacturing represents the state’s largest industry when ranked by contribution to GDP, and with 182,000 people, Cook County boasts the largest number of workers in Illinois employed in manufacturing. Cook County is proud to make this investment to support this critical industry.”
Animated Manufacturing Company, a small manufacturer with 13 employees located in South Holland IL, sought to increase its exposure to potential customers through engagement on social media platforms using grant funding made available through the Manufacturing Reinvented program.
“We are one of the few stamping manufacturers and take pride in making things here in the US,” said Dan Schoustra, President of Animated Manufacturing Company. “We chose a social media project to help build interest in our great work and spread awareness of what exactly it means to be a stamper. With everyone using social media today, it was time for us to get our name out there as part of the conversation.”
“Suburban Cook County manufacturers are already starting to experience the benefits of this novel grant program," said David Boulay, President of IMEC. "As manufacturers, we want to start strong in 2023. Taking a few minutes to apply right now can ensure they are prepared and ready for the opportunities and challenges a new year may bring."
Dream to Product, an engineering service, quality improvement and prototype manufacturer with eight staff members located in Evanston, IL, utilized its Manufacturing Reinvented grant to undertake a search engine optimization project to raise their company’s visibility in response to potential client internet searches. As a small manufacturer, Deborah Overbey, Director of Sales and Marketing at Dream to Product, notes that “smaller manufacturers like us don’t always have access to funding and resources to invest in growth.”
With over 70 projects already in motion through Manufacturing Reinvented, this grant continues to be in high demand for suburban manufacturers looking for the support and opportunities needed to remain globally competitive. Since Cook County launched Manufacturing Reinvented in August 2021, over 140 businesses have applied to the program.
Cook County and IMEC designed Manufacturing Reinvented to address the needs identified by a survey of over 1,000 suburban Cook County manufacturers, summarized in the report called the Urgent Needs of Manufacturers report published in March 2021. Cook County provides these grants with funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Interested businesses are invited to learn more about the program or apply by visiting www.imec.org/ccmr.