• Illinois Department of Commerce Update

    Northeast Region Weekly Update
    June 15, 2020
    I hope this update finds you safe and well.  The region is continuing to operate under Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan.  This week, the FAQ document, guidelines, and toolkits for Phase 3 are all on our website.  We’ve added the information in multiple languages as well.  Additionally, the Governor’s new Executive Order (Executive Order 2020-38) is also on there.  The website can be found here: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/Pages/RestoreILP3.aspx .  If you or anyone in your community have questions regarding the Phase 3 Guidelines, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Department.  The Illinois Department of Public Health also has numerous guidance documents and other information on their website at http://dph.illinois.gov/covid19 including guidance for places of worship, funeral homes, and swimming facility guidelines.     Additionally, the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation has information and guidance for industries regulated by that office.  You can access their website here.  If you want to receive updates from the Department as we send out information, you can fill out this form and you’ll be added to our Department contact list.
    The Downstate Small Business Stabilization Grant program is still accepting applications and funding is still available.  DCEO has announced the first round of grant awards for this program totaling $1.3 million that will help 65 businesses in 28 communities across the state.  We are continuing to review applications that have been submitted and will be making additional announcements soon.  Please see below for more information on the program. 
    For additional information or questions, you can contact me by phone at 312-497-1823 or by email at joseph.mckeown@illinois.gov .  I will respond to your message as quickly as I can.  I also encourage you to follow us on our social media channels for real time updates.
    Get Hired Illinois
    DCEO in conjunction with IDES launched the Get Hired Illinois.  This is a new portal designed to connect workers with available job and career training opportunities across the state.  Governor Pritzker also announced that beginning in June, Illinois residents will have free access to online workforce development courses via a partnership with Coursera.  Residents and employers may access Get Hired at www.illinois.gov/gethired .  This portal blends IDES and DCEO resources to provide a one-stop-shop for both job seekers and employers – providing information on job opportunities as well as unemployment resources.  The portal is designed to be user-friendly for job seekers of all levels and backgrounds and allows employers to upload jobs, virtual career fairs and training opportunities.  Please check this out whether you are a job seeker or an employer.
    Coronavirus Response:
    Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs
    The Paycheck Protection Program still has over $130 billion in funding remaining.  The last day the SBA can accept applications from lenders is June 30, 2020.  With the new law that has been enacted, there are updates to the PPP program and new terms for the program.  Information on this program may be found on the SBA Website.    Interested participants should work with their local lending institutions on pursuing this opportunity.  If they need assistance, our Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) can provide assistance.  To find the nearest SBDC, click here.  SBA continue to issue guidance and FAQ’s regarding this program. 
    The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is now open for agricultural enterprises. Agricultural businesses include those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).  Entities may access the application here.  SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance continue to process loan applications that have already been submitted.  Disaster Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 remains the primary point of contact for EIDL inquiries.
    DCEO Programs
    Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program: This program will offer small businesses with at least one employee (not including the owner) and up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 for 60 days of working capital. 
    We continue to accept applications under this program.  Grant applicants should use the most current Guidebook for this program (4/14/20 version) as well as streamlined the GATA budget form for this program.  Both documents can be found on our website hereA recording of the webinar from April 3, 2020 is available on our website.  You can link to the webinar recording here.  We also conducted a webinar focused to local governments.  The recording of that webinar may also be found on the website.  If you have questions about this program, do not hesitate to reach out to me or two the Office of Community Development grant manager for your county.  Their contact information may be found here
    COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits
    Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. For more information please visit the IDES website.  Regarding the federal CARES Act, IDES is actively working to implement the recently enacted federal stimulus package as it relates to unemployment benefits.  IDES has provided updated information as well on their website. IDES has begun accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

     Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other donations
    If businesses have personal protection equipment (PPE) that they would like to donate, they can send an email to the State of Illinois’ Covid-19 Donation Intake Team (ppe.donations@illinois.gov). Please note that all items should be in the manufacturer's original packaging and unopened, as they cannot accept open products or homemade items.  For non-PPE related donations, businesses may reach out to businessdonations@illinois.gov.
    If businesses have PPE that they are interested in selling to the state, they can send an email to the State of Illinois’ Covid-19 PPE Procurement Team (covid.procurement@illinois.gov). In the email, they should indicate the following:

    • What PPE is for sale
    • The quantity of these items
    • The price of these items
    • The location of these items
    If businesses have a facility and are capable of manufacturing PPE or are able to quickly make the switch to manufacture PPE, they should reach out to the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center here.  If businesses are manufacturers of PPE looking for a supplier, they should reach out to the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center here.  For additional information regarding PPE and donations, more information can be found here.
    USDA Urban Agriculture grants
    USDA NRCS Grants Available for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Due July 6th   $3 million in competitive grants is available for urban agriculture and innovative production projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6, 2020. Urban farmers and gardeners work among diverse populations to expand access to nutritious foods, foster community engagement, provide jobs, educate communities about farming, and expand green spaces. USDA is hosting webinars to explain the purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for applying for fiscal year 2020 opportunities from the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
    Types of Grants:
    • Program Planning Projects will initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools, and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Projects may target areas of food access; education; business and start-up costs for new farmers; and development of policies related to zoning and other needs of urban production.
    • Implementation Projects will accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor, and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers. Projects will improve local food access and collaborate with partner organizations and may support infrastructure needs; emerging technologies; educational endeavors; and urban farming policy implementation.
    Funding amounts:
    • Program Planning Projects:
      • Amount: $200,000 - $500,000
      • Duration: 1-3 years
    • Implementation Projects
      • Amount: $100,000 - $300,000
      • Duration: 1-3 years
    Matching Requirement: There is no cost sharing or matching requirement for this opportunity.
    Eligible Entities: Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, local governments, and any school that serves any of the grades kindergarten through grade 12
    Eligible Projects: Activities that encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including community gardens and farms located in urban areas, suburbs, and urban clusters; rooftop farms, outdoor vertical production, and green walls; indoor farms, greenhouses, and high-tech vertical technology farms; hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farm facilities; and other innovations in agricultural production.
    Webinar: A webinar was held on June 3, 2020 to provide an overview of the UAIP program purpose, project types, eligibility, and basic requirements for the submission of an application. Click this link to the recording of the webinar:  https://usdanrcs.adobeconnect.com/pb2ic48nygm5/
    Deadline: Apply at Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. EDT, July 6, 2020  
    Website: https://www.farmers.gov/manage/urban/opportunities
    Economic Development Administration
    Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (EAA):  The EAA program provides a wide range of technical, planning, and public works and infrastructure assistance in regions experiencing adverse economic changes that may occur suddenly or over time.  The EAA can assist state and local entities through strategy grants and implementation grants.  The CARES Act made $225 million available through the EDA Chicago Regional Office, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.   Applications under this program became available on May 7th and will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds run out.  The minimum project amount is $100,000. 
    If you are interested in this opportunity, please feel free to reach out to me.  The Regional Economic Development Team is conducting webinars on these programs and we can connect you with an upcoming event.  EDA also encourages applicants to consult with the EDA representative for Illinois to discuss whether their project is in alignment with the program goals and requirements.   For examples of successful EDA projects, visit http://www.eda.gov/annual-reports/ .  The Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) is available at http://www.eda.gov/funding-opportunities/index.htm
    Rebuild Illinois Opportunities
    We are still accepting applications under the Rebuild Illinois Programs listed below.  Rebuild Illinois Public Infrastructure has a due date of June 30, 2020. 
    Public infrastructure:  Units of local government are eligible to apply for public infrastructure grants of up to $5 million by June 30th.  Funds can be used to support investment in publicly-owned infrastructure such as water and sewer main replacement, improvements to rail, air, or water ports; repair, or extension; gas and utility extensions; improving publicly owned industrial and commercial sites; upgrading water purification and waste disposal systems; water tower maintenance; and dredging waterways, among other public uses.  Applicants will be required to identify the jobs and economic development impacts of their projects and how they align with the Governor’s Five-Year Economic Plan.  As required under state law, local governments that commit funding as part of a match of requested state funds must conduct a public hearing prior to submitting an application. Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30th, 2020. For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here.  This link will take you to DCEO’s website where you will find the guidebook and Q&A documents this program.  Interested parties can send questions to ceo.ocd@illinois.gov.
    Regional Economic Development:  Local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million on a rolling basis.  Funds can be used to support a range of activities including architectural planning and engineering design, land and building acquisition, demolition, costs related to site selection and preparation, utility work, and new construction, among other uses.  Applicants will be asked to frame how their proposed projects align with any regional economic plans as well as the Governor’s Five-Year Economic Plan.  Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate strong regional support for their projects and lay out a clear vision for job creation by the proposed investment. DCEO will accept applications for regional economic development on a rolling basis.  For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here.  This link will take you to DCEO’s website where you will find the guidebook and Q&A documents for this program.  Interested parties can send questions to ceo.ocd@illinois.gov.
    Shovel-Ready Sites:  Local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million for most projects and $1 million for brownfield rehabilitation on a rolling basis.  These funds will support investment in sites with great economic development potential that require additional investment in order to become shovel-ready, which includes costs such as site acquisition, environmental site assessment, architectural planning and engineering design, demolition, utility work, and other construction work related to site preparation and improvement.  DCEO will seek strong grounding of proposed projects in the Governor’s Five-Year Economic Plan along with any regional economic plans or site-specific plans available.  DCEO will accept applications for shovel ready sites on a rolling basis.  For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here.  This link will take you to DCEO’s website where you will find the guidebook and Q&A documents for this program.  Interested parties can send questions to ceo.ocd@illinois.gov.
    Community Development Block Grant Program
    Information regarding the 2020 Community Development Block Grant program is now available on the DCEO website.  The 2020 Guidebook, application information, and workshop presentations can be found here.
    UPDATE: The application deadline for the Public Infrastructure and Housing Rehabilitation programs has been extended to Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
    NEW OPPORTUNITY:  The Illinois Office of Broadband has recently announced Illinois Connected Communities grant program. Per the link below, this is a collaborative effort among our Office of Broadband, the Evanston-based Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, and area philanthropy focused on broadband community planning and capacity building – for infrastructure, digital equity and adoption, etc.  Here is the link to the Notice of Funding Opportunity: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/AboutDCEO/GrantOpportunities/Pages/2424-1617.aspx  Application deadline under this opportunity has been extended and are now due by 5 pm on June 16, 2020.
    The Illinois Office of Broadband has issued the first edition of Illinois Broadband Connections, a bi-weekly newsletter of broadband news and events specific to Illinois.  This is a collaboration between the Illinois Office of Broadband and the Evanston-based Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. Please follow this link to subscribe – and feel free to help us spread the word.
    Training Information:
    Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) training: The first step in applying for grants from DCEO or any other state agency requires the potential grantee to be prequalified through GATA.  If you need information on this process or would like me to conduct a virtual training, please contact me.