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Borek: Business development events on the calendar

Two notable business development events have been scheduled by the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp.

A Broadband and Economic Development Industrial Focus Luncheon will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 30 at the Barsema Alumni Center at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

A follow-up meeting to the Industrial Workforce Development for Today and Tomorrow Business/Education Summit will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. June 18 at the Kishwaukee College Conference Center in Malta.

Broadband and Economic Development

The DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority Broadband project has made DeKalb County a hub of high-speed fiber-optic networks, facilitating affordable broadband access to institutions, consumers and businesses.

By installing 130 miles of fiber-optic telecommunications lines across DeKalb County and northern LaSalle County, the DATA network provides direct connections to public institutions while enabling local internet service providers to interconnect with the fiber network to provide broadband to households and businesses.

The purpose of this discussion is to detail the broadband assets available in DeKalb County and to explore how to best promote increased adoption and utilization of this telecommunications resource to support business development and entrepreneurship.

Participants in this panel discussion include Matt Parks, director of Networks & Communications Services/Information Technology Services at NIU; Scot Eberle, president of Fiberutilties Group of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and a representative of Broadband Illinois/Partnership for a Connected Illinois. The panel discussion will be moderated by John Lewis, senior research scholar, Division of Research and Graduate Studies at NIU.

Industrial Workforce Development for Today and Tomorrow Business/Education Summit

On March 12, DCEDC, the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corp. and Kishwaukee College convened 135 business professionals and educators to identify business occupation and skill needs. The availability of a qualified labor force to accommodate the requirements of current and new industries is critical to the retention and expansion of local business, as well as the attraction of new industries.

Business attendees provided extensive input about their requirements as well as their experience in recruiting and hiring. KC compiled the business input into a Summary Report for participants’ review. An Action Plan is being prepared to address the identified needs and issues and to facilitate increased communication and collaboration between industry and educators. This Action Plan will be presented and discussed at the Industrial Workforce Development Follow-Up Summit.

Summit sponsors are confident that if we address identified workforce development opportunities, we will distinguish ourselves in preparing skilled workers to support our industries, which will enhance our business expansion and attraction efforts.

For information about these events, contact Karen Hoyle at 815-895-2711 or

• Paul Borek is executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp.

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