Yearly Update

I am proud to let you know that the Hancock County Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC) is approaching the end of its second fiscal year. We appreciate the support which has allowed us to continue to serve you and Hancock County. You’ll be glad to know that we have implemented a strategic plan which will better enable us to maximize our resources in Hancock County.

Our Executive Director, Dustin Berg, has been working hard to forge new and maintain existing relationships in our schools, businesses, and local and state governments. One of the benefits of this is a relationship the Western Illinois Workforce Investment Board that has allowed us to quickly obtain job applications from businesses and distribute them to potential employees. We partnered with the Workforce Investment Board to have a job fair this spring and plan a career fair in the fall for Southeastern High School. We also held a workshop for Hamilton 8th graders to bring them mock interviews and talk with them about thinking strategically when moving forward in life.

Another result of Dustin’s community involvement has been Love LaHarpe, a group of citizens looking to better LaHarpe through community and economic development. Love LaHarpe came together through the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs’ MAPPING program that Dustin introduced to LaHarpe. With this group Dustin has had the privilege of participating in town clean-ups and two ribbon cuttings for new businesses. There were also two ribbon cuttings in Warsaw and one in Augusta that Dustin helped organize this fiscal year.

Last year we told you about an opportunity to bring Midland Institute’s Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) Program to Hancock County. It is our privilege to inform you that HCEDC has put forth the $20,000 for the start-up fee and we will have Hancock CEO in the fall. The response from high school students has been overwhelming. The Midland Institute warned us not to expect more than twelve interested students. We instead got twenty seven from all over Hancock County. The twenty students selected come from all of the four high schools in the county and will begin meeting when school starts back in the fall. They will be meeting five days a week, outside of the classroom and have the opportunity to start their own business.

The next project we are working on is to facilitate the installation of fiber optic lines throughout the Hancock County. Currently Adams Communications has lines in Bowen and Augusta. McDonough Telephone Co-op has lines that run through LaHarpe, Colusa, and Carthage. We are hoping to help McDonough Telephone Co-op in securing funds to get the lines into Nauvoo, Hamilton, Warsaw, and the surrounding communities in the next few years.

While Dustin has been hard at work for the HCEDC, he is not the only one working for the economic prosperity of Hancock County. Both Hamilton and Warsaw school districts have passed tax referendums to help keep giving their students a quality education. The town of Nauvoo has rallied together to raise the funds necessary to establish the Nauvoo Market, ensuring that there will be a local grocery store meeting the needs of its citizens. There are also a couple of our major employers looking to add jobs. With building the new Memory Care Unit, Memorial Hospital looks to add at least twelve full time jobs. Cores for You in Hamilton has recently expanded and is in the process of hiring about twenty new employees. We are assisting them in any way we can.

I hope you are as happy with the progress in Hancock County as we are. This year has seen some great strides, but we must never stop laying the foundation of economic prosperity in Hancock County for generations to come. Dustin will continue to visit and contact you and any other businesses or citizens in search of ways to further relationship building and find opportunities to better Hancock County. I reiterate, we could not be doing these things without our entire county working together.

 

Thank you for your support of time, knowledge, and financial resources.