Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

(Click here to download the full 2015 Greater Egypt CEDS)

District Development Strategy

The district’s development strategy is carried out by the Commission in cooperation with numerous development and promotion groups and by units of local government. The decentralization of these development efforts requires extraordinary encouragement of coordination and cooperation. This decentralization is reflected in the many and varied projects proposed for the District.

Mission Statement

 Foster community and economic development in the Greater Egypt District by conducting an ongoing collaborative process to develop and implement a comprehensive economic development strategy that creates jobs and private sector investment in the region.

Vision Statement

The Greater Egypt Region will become a thriving, economically diverse environment for business and industry with a growing population, labor force, per capita income and expanding tax base, while maintaining a high quality of life and place.

EDA, DRA, and State of Illinois Goals

 The Goals formulated by EDA for river valley rural sub-category remain relevant to the Greater Egypt District. They are listed below:

  1. Modernize and make effective use of major central business districts.
  2. Encourage infrastructure investments in areas with concrete potentials for natural resource processing with emphasis on energy production.
  3. Develop port facilities
  4. Assist firms and communities impacted by foreign trade.
  5. Develop and/or recycle land and industrial facilities.
  6. Develop adequate labor force with relevant skills.
  7. Develop institutional capability in areas of high distress.
  8. Develop infrastructure and facilities for tourist industry.
  9. Assist in the economic development of minority businesses and neighborhoods.
  10. Assist qualified organizations and neighborhoods.

The Goals developed within the Delta Regional Authority Regional Development Plan III are listed below:

  1. Advance the productivity and economic competitiveness of the Delta workforce.
  2. Strengthen the Delta’s physical and digital connections to the global economy.
  3. Facilitate capacity building within Delta communities.

The strategic goals for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity are:

  1. Grow Illinois’ Economy
  2. Restore our Global Reputation
  3. Expand access to opportunities for minorities and low income communities
  4. Develop and retain talent to meet current and future employer needs
  5. Increase Department transparency, accountability, and operational performance
  6. Increase the impact and efficiency of community development and assistance programs

District Goals and Objectives

 Utilizing the data gathered by the Greater Egypt CEDS participants, five core goals emerged as the most important for regional progress.  The core goals are followed by a subset of objectives that best represent the most attainable areas of improvement. Finally, CEDS participants were able to identify a series of specific strategic actions that best lend themselves to completion of each regional goal. The five core goals for Greater Egypt are:

  • “Grow Our Own”: develop and retain a world class workforce, prosperous entrepreneurs, and strong local leadership;
  • “Develop & Maintain”: 21st century infrastructure systems that are required to retain and expand existing and attract new businesses while providing high standards of life and operations for our residents, students, businesses, health care systems, and educational institutions.
  • “Connect”: Greater Egypt’s physical and telecommunications infrastructure to provide seamless access to regional and global markets.
  • “Promote”: this region’s growth industries, including indigenous products, knowledge-based enterprises, and tourism.
  • “Continuous Improvement”: evaluate the region’s progress toward the goals and adjust the strategies as needed to achieve the goals.

GOAL #1: ‘Grow Our Own’develop and retain a world class workforce, prosperous entrepreneurs, and strong local leadership.

Objective 1.1:  Continuously Identify and Address Workforce Development Needs.

Action Item 1.1.A.  Meet with businesses in targeted sectors to identify future staffing trends and current incumbent worker training needs.  Targeted business sectors will be identified via the ongoing relationship with regional workforce development corporations, community colleges, updated cluster analysis, the utilization of regional economic development corporations, and the annual interviewing of the area’s elected officials and municipality staff.

Action Item 1.1.B.  Refine and make accessible to all residents workforce and adult training that promote employment in targeted sectors.  After specific workforce development needs in targeted sectors are identified, applicable training programs will be developed with the community colleges and promoted on a rolling basis, as applicable.

Action Item 1.1.C.  Increase basic employability skills throughout the region’s population.  A ‘soft skills’ program addressing interpersonal interaction and basic computing skills shall be promoted region-wide, focusing on vulnerable populations and geographies most affected by poverty.

Action Item 1.1.D. Increase the use of “work-based” learning throughout the region and across sectors.  Work based learning opportunities may include, but are not limited to, internships, work experience, on-the-job-training (OJT), and apprenticeships. The business-led Southern Illinois Workforce Development Board will lead efforts with employers and trade organizations to develop models for work based learning.

Action Item 1.1.E. Convene employers and community colleges to better understand skill set gaps and identify non-traditional, accelerated training opportunities in order to fill the pipeline gaps existing in the region.

Action Item 1.1.F. Utilize the US Chamber of Commerce “Managing the Talent Pipeline” effort to maximize existing research and models.  Engage the regional chambers of commerce in the effort to educate and engage employers in the effort.

Objective 1.2:  Coordinate the Region’s K-12 School Districts and Higher Education Institutions

Action Item 1.2.A.  Identify opportunities for regional strategies to increase the college readiness scores of our high school students.  Create a coordinative task force between the region’s superintendents and various higher education institutions to address common educational challenges shared throughout the Greater Egypt district.

Action Item 1.2.B.  Explore the feasibility of a regional vocational school.  After the employment and training needs of targeted sectors are identified, the Greater Egypt region will examine the efficiency in which these needs are met.  In particular, workforce development corporations and the area’s community college system will be asked to self-evaluate whether employment training needs are being met.

Objective 1.3:  Further Establish and Promote the Region’s Entrepreneurial Support Framework

Action Item 1.3.A.  Create an awareness and marketing campaign in support of entrepreneurship and innovation.  Focus shall be placed upon the identification of available resources and providing a consistent theme throughout the region.

Action Item 1.3.B.  Establish a variety of comprehensive financial resources for scalable ventures. These resources shall include proof of concept funding such as SBIR federal grants, angel investment sources, venture capital funds targeted for the region, convertible debt instruments, and debt financing options to include both traditional commercial lending and non-traditional leveraged funds such as Champion Community Investments and various revolving loan funds (RLF).

Action Item 1.3.C.  Support a Collegiate Entrepreneurship Program and assist the implementation of a High School Entrepreneurship Program in each of the Greater Egypt counties.  The CEDS Committee identified the initial model from Effingham CEO/Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship. Focus shall also be placed in the formation of a regional Business Plan Competition and in the support of existing programs such as SIUC’s Saluki Ventures, Saluki CEO Corps, and University Innovation Fellows.

Action Item 1.3.D.  Provide the resources to attract and retain management talent for early stage scalable companies. This effort includes establishing an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program and providing other executive level education via businesses and higher education institutions. The region must also address sector-specific training, in particular IT and computer science training.

Objective 1.4:  Address Leadership Gap

Action Item 1.4.A.  Identify successful small businesses in danger of closure due to unclear ownership succession planning. Assist owners in creating an action plan for the promotion and sale of said businesses.

Action Item 1.4.B.  Promote and participate in the Delta Leadership Institute’s Executive Academy and Delta Leadership Network.

Action Item 1.4.C.  Support Pro13 and other local leadership groups.

Action Item 1.4.D.  Coordinate the Illinois Municipal League (IML) training for newly elected officials with Southern Illinois Mayors Association (SIMA).


GOAL #2: ‘Develop & Maintain’ – 21st century infrastructure systems that are required to retain and expand existing businesses along with attracting new business, while providing high standards of life and operations for our residents, students, businesses, health care systems, and educational institutions.

Objective 2.1:  Place an Emphasis on Quality of Life and Place

Action Item 2.1.A.  Despite specific challenges, the region currently experiences a unique and high quality of life and place. The region will actively explore ways to maintain and further develop this quality of life and place including, but not limited to, beautification efforts, historical preservation, natural resource protection, pedestrian friendly destinations, diverse leisure and recreation opportunities, a family-centric and culturally diverse environment, and establish a culture that respects all animals, whether wild, domestic, or commercial. Successful completion of this objective requires a diverse economy that produces high quality jobs.

Action Item 2.1.B.  Develop a long-term options for the development of a Greater Egypt Bike Plan.

Action Item 2.1.C.  Explore opportunities to partner with state and national parks to promote, develop, and maintain the region’s vast protected lands.

Objective 2.2:  Develop & Maintain Commercial and Industrial Infrastructure

Action Item 2.2.A.  Develop and maintain industrial and commercial infrastructure. The region needs to develop suitable land and facilities as needed that are environmentally problem-free to maintain existing, expanding, or locating employers.

Action Item 2.2.B.  Concentrate on business expansion and location. Make land, labor, capital, and assistance available to businesses that need these resources to remain, expand, or locate in the District.

Objective 2.3:  Develop & Maintain Community Infrastructure

Action Item 2.3.A.  Maintain, upgrade, and make readily accessible the public services essential to orderly development, safety, and well-being. In particular, the Greater Egypt region must continually address the insufficient and aging water and sewer infrastructure.

Action Item 2.3.B.  Identify specific community needs to support the retirement industry.

Action Item 2.3.C.  Develop and support a diverse housing stock, public housing, and other physical facilities that are healthful and attractive.

Action Item 2.3.D.  Provide and make accessible health and medical care to all residents. In particular, rural healthcare accessibility via transportation is considered an area ripe for improvement.

Action Item 2.3.E.  Establish, refine, and coordinate specialized human services for the aged, youth, and disabled.

Objective 2.4:  Develop & Maintain the Region’s Economic Resiliency

Action Item 2.4.A.  Expand existing business retention and economic diversification efforts via coordination between the region’s business leaders, elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, and the area’s workforce and economic development corporations.

Action Item 2.4.B.  Participate in and adopt the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Process through FEMA and IEMA.

Action Item 2.4.C.  Maintain working relationship with Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition (SPARC)


GOAL #3: ‘Connect’ – Develop transportation connections, fiber optic and other tele-communication capabilities that will enhance the flow of information and support new technology innovations and high-tech related businesses.

Objective 3.1:  Connect with Communication Infrastructure

Action Item 3.1.A.  Identify and promote ways to utilize telecommunication technology.

Action Item 3.1.B.  Support fiber optic expansion projects region-wide.

Objective 3.2:  Connect with Transportation Infrastructure

Action Item 3.2.A.  Improve model connectivity to address last mile service throughout the Greater Egypt region. This includes the enhancement of Amtrak service connections through a multi-modal approach to ensure last mile connection needs are met.

Action Item 3.2.B.  Complete an in-depth study examining the region’s opportunities within the freight logistics industry, as a follow up to previous study efforts. The in-depth freight study shall concentrate on:

  • Identify infrastructure investments that maintain traffic levels of service and alleviate congestion to maximize the attractiveness of Greater Egypt for trucking and related industries.
  • Investigate opportunities for additional multi-modal connections along rail corridors.
  • Plan for a future of continued coal production and identify strategies for accommodating increased coal tonnage.
  • Evaluate the transportation needs of the oil industry in preparation for an emerging horizontal fracking industry.
  • Investigate/establish a regional freight coordinator to serve as a point person for freight-oriented initiatives, policies, and investments and/or a regional freight commission to meet regularly to discuss freight-related issues.


GOAL #4: ‘Promote’ – Develop, support, coordinate, and promote projects, programs, and initiatives that encourage economic development and improve the quality of life throughout the region.

Objective 4.1:  Target Mature and Emerging Clusters and Sub-Clusters Found in the Region

Action Item 4.1.A.  Identify and promote available opportunities in the transportation distribution and logistics industry. Make local business and government leaders aware of the recently published Greater Egypt Regional Freight Study.

Action Item 4.1.B.  Identify and promote available opportunities in the tourism industry. Encourage and provide for a more stimulating and rewarding use of leisure time through the development of regional attractions and events.

Action Item 4.1.C.  Bring together local and regional tourism agencies, local governments, and business leaders to identify regional partnership opportunities.

Objective 4.2:  Market the Region

Action Item 4.2.A.  Create a Greater Egypt Regional Marketing Plan. This plan may include, but is not limited to, industrial and commercial sites, the tourism industry, logistical advantages, incentive programs, the retirement industry, population attraction and quality of life and place.

Action Item 4.2.B.  Participate in and support SIUC’s In-Shoring projects.


GOAL #5: ‘Continuous Improvement’ – This CEDS is intended to be a living document, presented in a user-friendly format, and shall remain flexible to meet the needs of the Greater Egypt region.

Objective 5.1:  Ensure Strategy Achieves the Region’s Vision

Action Item 5.1.A.  Convene ongoing meetings of the CEDS committee to refine and implement the CEDS.

Action Item 5.1.B.  Annually meet with and interview key local elected officials and business leaders to ensure the strategy, vision, and metrics of the CEDS are current.

Objective 5.2:  Measure Progress

Action Item 5.2.A.  Annually evaluate the progress made on implementing the CEDS.

Action Item 5.2.B.  Annually evaluate the amount of private sector investment and jobs created or retained by implementing the CEDS.