And we’ve awarded micro-loans to hundreds of businesses, primarily to minorityand women-owned small businesses in high-need communities. In the past four years, we’ve increased the participation of minorityand women-owned firms in state contracts. And we’re going to do more.
Our investments are helping businesses like Urban Juncture in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, where owner Bernard Loyd is creating 70 jobs and tackling the food desert. Thanks for putting people back to work, Bernard.
In our Illinois, working people find good jobs not just for today but for tomorrow.
We’ve worked to expand our Clean Energy Economy, creating 10,000 green collar jobs. But we have much more to do.
We’re making buildings more efficient. And we’re expanding our renewable energy capacity.
That’s what our Illinois looks like.
To create 21st century jobs, we’re also investing in innovation.
We worked with Argonne National Laboratory to bring a new research facility to Illinois.
In the next five years, Argonne will lead a public-private team to create the next-generation battery a battery that is five times cheaper and lasts five times longer than today’s batteries.
We also helped create 1871, a digital hub that has become home to more than 200 startups.
But there’s more to be done.
Now is the time to take that same innovative, public-private approach to advanced manufacturing.
In the last 3 years, manufacturing has been one of our state’s leading growth sectors, creating nearly 40,000 new jobs. We’re at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing, and we need to stay there.
That’s why we’re partnering with the University of Illinois and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create an advanced manufacturing hub where companies big and small come to learn and use the world’s most sophisticated tools and software.