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    A day in the life of a Central Illinois Locavore
  • Local Flavors Blog
    Explore growing, preparing, & preserving local food in rural central Illinois and the community impact of buying local
  • Extension Connections
    Our seasonal magazine highlighting the best of Unit 18 Programs, as well as helpful articles for better living.

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Contact Us

Amanda Cole
County Extension Director
University of Illinois Extension
#1 Industrial Park Dr.
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
FAX: 217-532-3944

Community and Economic Development

Community and Economic Development

Extension provides educational programs in leadership and organizational development, supports existing economic development organizations, assists communities with planning and supports economic development initiatives.

Last year, working with Illinois communities and organizations, we created 36 plans; our community partners adopted or implemented 34 of those plans; we worked with 1500 local government officials; and provided data reports for all 102 Illinois counties. Our programs help individuals and organizations access the tools, training, and planning they need to strengthen and improve their businesses and their communities.

Illinois Extension helps communities through:

Strengthening your leadership skills

Join our local government leadership academy, webinars, and request local, in person training so your local officials have the tools and the information they need to make sound, informed decisions.

Identifying opportunities and gaps

• We have tools and technical assistance to help you conduct needs assessments and community surveys;

• We have access to University of Illinois economic and demographic data to help you see and assess what’s happening in your community; and

• We can partner with University researchers to help address issues that are important in your area.

Partnering to help your community plan for the future

• We facilitate a four step planning process to help your community reach its goals;

• We can help you organize projects you don’t have time to plan out; and

• We work with you to help your community withstand flooding, tornadoes, and other natural hazards.

Providing resources to help local businesses and downtowns succeed

• We help local business leaders, entrepreneurs, developers, and economic development professionals understand the changing marketplace and identify realistic business opportunities;

• We train business owners to compete worldwide to benefit the local economy.

Helping your local workforce prepare for today’s employment opportunities

We conduct trainings for managers and potential employees to better serve clients, to work smarter together, and to anticipate and prepare for changes in markets and demand.

Signature programs include...

Leadership Academy: training to help local government officials.

Local Government Education: webinars on topics of interest to local communities.

Survey tools: sample questions, technical assistance to help you conduct a reliable survey.

County Data Snapshots: a summary of data useful for county and community decision making.

Planning for a Purpose: a streamlined planning process to address your planning challenges and chart a course of action.

Age Matters: improve your ability to work effectively with volunteers, colleagues, employees

and clients from a range of generations.

Community SWAP: learn from other communities in this reciprocal program.

Real Colors: professional development to improve your effectiveness in working with others.

University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs for youth and adults.

Featured Websites

Additional Websites

  • Illinois Agritourism
    This site includes examples of Illinois Agritourism, information on business development, resources, and upcoming events.

Additional Topics

4-H Youth Development Commercial Agriculture Consumer Economics Environment and Energy Stewardship Family Life Horticulture Leadership and Local Government Local Food Systems and Small Farms Nutrition and Wellness Schools Online