05312021CM0642 rPEORIA – More than 40 small businesses across the district State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) represents were awarded over $1.1 million in million in Back to Business grant funding, thanks to legislative measures supported by Koehler and other members of the General Assembly.

“Our small businesses have faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Koehler said. “They incurred losses and stared down uncertain futures, but never stopped serving our community.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity selects grantees, and the grants are funded through the American Rescue Plan. The DCEO has dispersed $111 million in B2B grants to nearly 3,000 small businesses across Illinois who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 were awarded to 44 small businesses in the 46th district. The funding will help the businesses recoup losses from the past two years and continue to keep their doors open to the community.

“Keeping our small businesses alive and well is critical to our communities and our local economy,” Koehler said. “This funding will help our businesses keep their doors open and become even stronger than before.”

Grants will continue to be awarded statewide on a rolling basis. More information about the B2B program, as well as a full list of grantees, is available on the DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases

skillsusa rPEKIN – Thanks to State Senator Dave Koehler’s support of a multi-year plan to bring thousands of jobs to local communities, SkillsUSA Illinois in Pekin was selected to receive $500,000 to support construction pre-apprenticeship programs that will create a qualified talent pipeline of diverse candidates.

“Honest, good-paying jobs should be available in all fields to anyone willing to put in the work,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “Unfortunately, certain groups may not have the same opportunities as others. This funding will help open doors and break down barriers to welcome people of all demographics and backgrounds into the trades.”

The grant funding for the pre-apprenticeship program comes from the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act as part of Rebuild Illinois, which was supported by Koehler in 2019. The program aims to open doors to career opportunities in the construction and building trades for people who have been historically underrepresented in the industry. Through this model, the grantees will offer structured pathways to help graduates transition from the pre-apprenticeship program to a full apprenticeship program in construction and building trades.

“This grant will create opportunities for students to connect their learning to their future career, which is what SkillsUSA is all about. Our proven model improves college and career readiness, creates employment opportunities, addresses equity in underserved communities, and expands partnerships between the workforce system, education and business,” said SkillsUSA Executive Director Eric Hill. “This program aims to move these students towards the SkillsUSA Illinois Registered Apprenticeship Program.”

The average grant size awarded is $417,000, with all projects focused on supporting workforce priorities, such as equity and inclusion, and creating a qualified talent pipeline in construction and the trades. Recipients include non-profits, community-based organizations, industry associations, community colleges, and more.  

More information on the Illinois Works program can be found on the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s website.

Category: Press Releases

pexels pixabay 159304 rrPEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) wants all Illinoisans to have access to reliable broadband internet, so he’s leading the charge to bring services to rural parts of the state.

“When it comes to internet access and connectivity, rural communities have been left behind,” Koehler said. “This has created an opportunity gap that only widens the longer we wait to implement real, lasting solutions.”

Nearly 1.5 million households across the state do not have high speed broadband, and rural Illinoisans are 10% less likely to have broadband than urban and suburban Illinoisans—an infrastructure gap that has been shown to have serious economic consequences.

Senate Bill 2247 establishes a tax credit equal to 15% of the cost of equipment and materials for businesses that provide broadband internet services in counties with fewer than 40,000 residents, or in townships with a population density of less than 50 households per square mile in counties with less than 300,000 people.

The legislation aims to encourage internet providers to offer high speed broadband in rural parts of the state, creating connections that will lead to more jobs, wealth, and public safety benefits for Illinois as a whole.

“This legislation has the potential to increase broadband access in nearly 70 counties in our state,” Koehler said. “By encouraging this investment in our rural communities, we will bolster local and state-wide economies and create opportunities for all Illinoisans.”

Senate Bill 2247 is assigned to the Senate’s Revenue Committee.

Category: Press Releases

14589622590 ff4254c303 cPEORIA – The City of Peoria is set to receive $1.2 million in grants to to revitalize a commercial corridor on Western Avenue and boost economic development in the community, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced.

“Many of our small businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet after the challenges of the last two years,” Koehler said. “By bringing investment and improvement to our commercial corridors, we are laying a foundation for our businesses as they first recover and then continue to grow.”

The funding comes through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Distressed Communities program. The program is designed to help impacted small businesses repair damages and rebuild or expand, and to deliver long-term improvements along commercial corridors where businesses experienced damages during civil unrest.

These corridor improvements will repair and refresh the surrounding area while increasing economic opportunities for impacted businesses. The projects were evaluated based on project need, capacity, quality, and societal impact.

“When our local businesses thrive, our community thrives,” Koehler said. “This funding will help bring energy and life back to the parts of our city that are hurting most.”

The final round of Rebuild Distressed Communities program provides $976,000 to 26 small businesses and $7.45 million to help revitalize seven commercial corridors located across the state. A full list of grantees is available online.

More information on assistance available for small businesses and ongoing capital programs can be found on DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases

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