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Six Illinois, Wisconsin Counties Receive $5.9M from Commerce Department

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration has created one of the largest job creation grants for the Illinois-Wisconsin area. The $5.9 million from the federal government could reach a total value of nearly $11 million if the local 50 percent matching funds are fulfilled.

The grant applies to a six-county area in northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin that encompasses Boone and Winnebago counties in Illinois and Kenosha, Racine, Rock, and Walworth counties in Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will administer the funds, which aim to help create jobs and grow entrepreneurship. The move is part of a series of funding from the Department of Commerce to aid communities that have had plant closures and layoffs.

One business that is benefiting is Belvidere-Boone County's Growth Dimensions, which will take part in an AgTech Initiative. The program is administered in partnership with Northern Illinois University. Growth Dimensions will develop manufacturing job opportunities with biomass production and bio-based composites and plastics.

In Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's geography department will improve GIS map models for business attraction, supply chain identification, and other applications. Those improvements will link to state and national systems.

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