Six regional sessions are planned later this month seeking public input on the challenges and opportunities of Southern Illinois to create an agenda for prosperous regional growth, according to the Connect SI Foundation.
The Connect SI Foundation, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is seeking input from informed community members who believe in the vision of a stronger future for the region.
Local leaders already engaged in strengthening communities including educators, elected and appointed officials, health care providers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, economic and community development, and artistic and cultural leaders are all invited to attend any of the meetings in their respective areas.
The schedule for the meetings is:
n Monday, March 18 – Southeastern Illinois College Small Business Development Center, 2 East Locust Street in downtown Harrisburg – 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
n Wednesday, March 20 – Wabash Valley College, Main Hall Room 101, 2200 College Drive in Mount Carmel – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
n Friday, March 22 – Municipal West Building, 200 Potomac Blvd. in Mount Vernon – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
n Monday, March 25 – Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive on the SIU campus in Carbondale – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
n Tuesday, March 26 – Sparta City Hall, 114 W. Jackson Street in Sparta – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
n Wednesday – March 27 – River Room at Shawnee Community College, 8364 Shawnee College Road in Ullin – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
These sessions, characterized as “listening sessions” will be facilitated by retired SIU professor of Workforce Education and Development Dr. John Washburn, who will encourage discussion, dialogue, and a collaborative spirit. The sessions will be attended by other regional, state and federal partners who can bring resources to the identified opportunities and challenges. After the meetings conclude, Washburn will prepare a summary of the solutions, concerns, and opportunities presented, which will serve as the foundation for creative collaborations. Future meetings will be held.
Kathy Lively, the executive director of Connect SI, is enthusiastic about the sessions.
“The Connect SI Foundation is looking forward to working with DCEO’s Bill Stanhouse and other southern Illinoisans on this important endeavor. Our region has so much to offer and can be more prosperous if we continue working toward regional solutions.” Lively said. “This is a chance to celebrate the great talents of our people and the resources of our region, and communicate this richness to the world.”
Participants are encouraged to complete the five question survey prior to the sessions at www.surveymonkey.com/s/TB8SJMF.
Connect SI and DCEO look forward to hearing from you at any of the six meetings. For more information about Connect SI, contact Lively at 618.998.0970, extension 237, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.connectsi.us.