President Preckwinkle and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) Announce Launch of Manufacturing Reinvented Program

Nick Mathiowdis

The $5 million program will provide business advising services and implementation grants to manufacturing companies in suburban Cook County

COOK COUNTY, IL — Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) to announce the launch of Manufacturing Reinvented, a $5 million grant program that will support local, suburban manufacturers with the implementation of projects to improve a business’s competitiveness and resiliency in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic environment. As a part of the program, Cook County will reimburse companies located in suburban Cook County for eligible expenses associated with an approved project after completion and verification. The program will also provide advising services to manufacturers in need of project consultation.

“Manufacturing plays a critical role in Cook County’s economy,” said President Preckwinkle. “It is an economic engine, driven by family-owned firms, not by a powerhouse of a few large multi-nationals. Manufacturing in Cook County is a community of small businesspeople who live and work in the Chicago region and represent diverse business sectors, such as metal fabrication, food manufacturing and processing, and machinery. Cook County is proud to make this investment to support this critical industry.”

President Preckwinkle shared details about Cook County’s $5 million investment in Manufacturing Reinvented, which represents a strategy to foster resiliency within the manufacturing sector. The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center’s expert advisors will work one-on-one with manufacturers to define their project scope, evaluate solution options and chart a path forward. Grants may range from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the nature of the project. Cook County is providing this investment with funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Eligible projects include investments to: 

  • Adopt automation
  • Build supply chain resiliency
  • Enhance productivity
  • Identify talent solutions
  • Improve visibility in the marketplace
  • Undertake strategic planning

“The Manufacturing Reinvented program is a tremendous investment in the future of the manufacturing in suburban Cook County,” said David Boulay, President of IMEC. “As manufacturers rebound and reinvent from the wide-ranging challenges of the past three years, these investments will ensure Cook manufacturers are more globally competitive.”

The Manufacturing Reinvented program will help address key priorities identified by the County via a survey of over 1,000 suburban Cook County manufacturers. An in-depth review of identified priorities are outlined in the Urgent Needs of Manufacturers report published in March 2021.

“As a result of the pandemic, we have had to find new ways to address supply chain issues, workforce gaps, and overall productivity,” said Craig Van Den Avont, President of GAM Enterprises located in Mount Prospect, IL. “Having Cook County reimburse the cost of the solutions to these challenges will help local manufacturers, especially small manufacturers, increase their global competitiveness.”

The Manufacturing Reinvented program represents a highly customizable approach to addressing specific company needs. This approach is especially essential for the very small manufacturers, defined as companies with less than 20 employees whose urgent needs have been shown to fluctuate more drastically than larger firms. Cook County is home to 80% of the total manufacturing output in the state of Illinois and the sector employs over 192,000 people in Cook County alone. Small-sized firms constitute 70% of manufacturers both nationally and in Cook County. These firms are typically family-owned and closely integrated into the local economy.

Qualifications & priorities for this program include:

  • Businesses operating in suburban Cook County
  • Businesses with a manufacturing NAICs code
  • Businesses located in communities hard hit by COVID-19 or businesses impacted by Covid-19

The first application round will end on September 1, 2022. Interested businesses are invited to join the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development on Tuesday Aug 16th at 11:30 am for a webinar to learn details about the program and how to apply.  Registration for the webinar can be found at  Businesses interested in applying immediately or learning more about the projects available are encouraged to visit


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