Cook County Manufacturing Reinvented
2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner
Cook County, Ill., IL
Best In Category
About the Program
Category: Community and Economic Development (Best in Category)
With the onset of COVID-19, Cook County partnered with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) to conduct a historic outreach and census of suburban Cook County manufacturers to ascertain the impact of the pandemic on their businesses. Over 1,000 manufacturers completed the survey prioritizing their urgent needs into ten assessment categories essential for long-term competitive success. The Manufacturing Reinvented program utilizes technical assistance and $5 million in grant funding provided by Cook County to assist manufacturers in addressing these identified priorities and needs. This program supports manufacturers to improve their competitiveness as they continue to rebound and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible projects under this grant cover the following themes: market growth, productivity/automation adoption, workforce, leadership, and long-term direction, as these align with the survey priority results. Further, this program is designed to be highly customized to address specific company needs regardless of size. This is essential, particularly for the very small manufacturers, defined as less than 20 employees. Finally, this program serves as an ongoing method of gaining market insights from county manufacturers to further help Cook County adapt and plan for the ever-changing needs of the manufacturing sector.