After a robust process involving business, community, education and workforce stakeholders, LCP finalized a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the county to create jobs, fuel collaboration and strengthen the economy. In 2022, the CEDS received endorsements from Lake County Partners’ Board of Governors, the Lake County Board, the College of Lake County Board of Trustees, and the Lake County Workforce Development Board and was formally submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
While the CEDS reinforces the importance of business retention and attraction, it goes further to explore structural issues that create the foundation for healthy and inclusive economic growth across the vibrant and diverse communities in Lake County. As a result, LCP has spearheaded several major initiatives to support the goals of the CEDS:
IMMEDIATE FOCUS OF THE COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
Lack of access to high-quality, affordable childcare can limit workforce and impact school-readiness and long-term education outcomes. Along with a coalition of stakeholders, LCP worked with a consultant to understand Lake County’s childcare landscape.
The resulting “Start Early” report identified that Lake County only has enough licensed space to accommodate 37% of children aged 0-5 from households where all parents are working. LCP is working with local partners to address this challenge and ensure the health of Lake County’s childcare system.
UNDERSTANDING HOUSING NEEDS
In order for Lake County to attract and retain residents and businesses, it must have a diverse housing stock that provides options for households at different life stages, ages, incomes, and sizes.
In recognition of the important role of housing in community building and economic development, LCP, with support from Lake County Housing & Community Development and Illinois REALTORS®, initiated a housing analysis to better understand local demographics and identify gaps and opportunities. This year, LCP worked with Kretchmer Associates to complete the study, and is in the process of presenting it to stakeholders to ignite conversations on Lake County’s future housing market. You can read the full report from Kretchmer Associates here.
ADVANCING DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Knowing that diversity contributes to a healthy economy and equitable access is an important part of community development, LCP created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, which suggested changes to the organization’s bylaws to create seats on the Board of Governors for three representatives from small business or community-based organizations.
At this year’s Big Event, LCP’s membership accepted the proposed bylaws, and LCP then worked with the Operations Committee to establish a process to accept nominations—seats are expected to be filled in early 2024.
HELP US FUEL EQUITABLE GROWTH IN LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS
Learn more about the CEDS here, and click here to see the results of LCP’s work in 2023. Then, head over here to connect with us and see how you can get involved in our important work to boost Lake County’s economy in a way that benefits all residents and businesses.