A re-imagined and reinvigorated economic development initiative will create a regional hub and serve as a unified voice for the 17 southernmost counties in the region.
SI Now, a southern Illinois success initiative, involves collaboration among leaders in business and industry, health care, higher education, workforce development, transportation, government, nonprofit economic development and community coalitions. SI Now's vision is to create a thriving, economically diverse environment with a growing population, labor force, per capita income and expanding tax base, while elevating an already high quality of life.
"We will have a greater impact on advancing our region's economy by pooling our resources together toward common goals," said SIH President and CEO Rex Budde, a member of SI Now's Steering Committee. "Regional wins create a ripple effect, be it in Harrisburg, Carbondale, Chester, Mount Vernon, Benton or Anna. Now is the time for southern Illinois leaders to come together and capitalize on available opportunities."
SI Now's current efforts are focused on supporting existing businesses, attracting and expanding businesses, developing workforce education through training and employment growth in high wage sectors.
"Developing a regional message and task force designed to be supportive of our local efforts in Saline County is long overdue," said Michael Tison, Senior Financial Adviser with Tison Wealth Management and the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network. "SI Now will stress economic and workforce development and remind us of the wonderful, positive experiences associated with living in Southern Illinois as a great place to work, play and raise a family." Tison is a member of the SI Now Steering Committee.
As part of its effort to elevate perceptions of Southern Illinois, SI Now is launching a website and social media platforms:
• SI Now's website (www.southernillinoisnow.org) serves as a first stop for those interested in locating a business in southern Illinois or moving here as a resident. The website includes key information featuring assets, incentives and resources and will showcase the best of southern Illinois, including geographic benefits, educational and workforce development opportunities, transportation assets, health care services and quality of life.
• SI Now's social media platforms will serve as a place to share the good in southern Illinois with positive news stories and testimonials. The public is encouraged to include the hashtag #SouthernIllinoisNow on their own positive posts highlighting businesses, community events and life in Southern Illinois.
Join the conversation and stay connected with SI Now on our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn: @SouthernIllinoisNow; Twitter: @SouthernILNow.