Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
|Employment and Training
|Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology
|Trade and Investment
|Illinois Film Office
|Energy and Recycling
Totals may not add due to rounding.
Although passage of the fiscal year 2018 budget marked the end of Illinois’ budgetary impasse, it was a transitional year for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in many respects. These transitions stemmed from changes in laws governing our programs, funding uncertainties, and the Department’s ongoing efforts to better estimate program results.
The Market Development program, which administers tax incentives to promote business attraction and expansion, achieved only 748 jobs created during fiscal year 2018. This result, the lowest total in the history of the program, is largely due to the interruption of the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program, which sunset at the close of April 2017. The Governor signed a redesigned EDGE incentive in September 2018, but the interruption undermined activity levels for the fiscal year. The decline in jobs created appears significant following the fiscal year 2017 result of 13,774 jobs created, an outlier result boosted by the Amazon project and a general rush to finalize projects before the initial expiration of the program. The DCEO expects to facilitate a more-typical result of 4,000 jobs created during fiscal year 2019.
The 8,499 persons trained through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program, in contrast, is consistent with results from the last several years. However, data reflecting results for new U.S. Department of Labor metrics intended to capture outcomes for trainees is incomplete. Due to the time required to collect baseline data suitable for the new metrics, only two quarters of data were reported for estimation purposes. Therefore, metrics reflecting trainee employment status four quarters after completion of training will not be available until fiscal year 2019.
The DCEO was concerned that jobs created and related results from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program would be lackluster in fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019. This concern was due to the withdrawal of some long-term local partners from the network and the resulting decrease in counseling activity – a leading indicator for results such as jobs and capital accessed. Fiscal year 2018 results held up well, however, as new partners added during fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018 are beginning to produce. In fact, new jobs created due to SBDC assistance reached 3,140 during fiscal year 2018, nearly doubling the target.
The DCEO introduced a handful of new metrics in fiscal year 2018 intended to better reflect program results. For example, the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program now reports five counts of services provided, reflecting the type of stability the services intend to foster (education, housing, etc.). The Small Business Environmental Assistance program, which helps small businesses comply effectively with environmental regulations, will begin reporting the number of clients who access information on the DCEO’s website. This is intended to collect relevant data as the program partially shifts toward a self-service model. The DCEO will also begin reporting metrics for the Angel Investment program, as legislation has been passed extending the program for five years.
In fiscal year 2019, the DCEO intends to reinitiate several programs that were suspended during the impasse, if budget constraints permit. These programs include Grant Management (which funds local infrastructure programs), the Urban Weatherization Initiative (which promotes energy-efficient weatherization investments in urban communities), and the Employment Opportunity Grant program (which provides opportunities for building trades training to underserved urban populations). If the Department is able to reinitiate these programs during fiscal year 2019, results will likely begin accruing in fiscal year 2020 or fiscal year 2021.
Heading into fiscal year 2019, the DCEO is optimistic that resources are available to successfully operate core programs vital to our mission of bringing jobs and opportunity to Illinois. In addition, we continue to work on strengthening programs and advancing our performance measurement regime to better evaluate effectiveness and overall results.