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Governor’s Guidelines for Easing Restrictions on Businesses under Phase 3

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Governor’s Guidelines for Easing Restrictions on Businesses under Phase 3

On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan that will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with marked by distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. The Restore Illinois plan recognizes that the economy will start growing again when consumers feel that it is safe to return to work, shop and dine out, and engage in social and recreational activities. Under the Restore Illinois framework, certain businesses and activities are allowed to resume in Phase 3 with IDPH-approved safety guidance in place.

Read the Plan

To prepare businesses and employers to implement the new safety guidelines and to bring many residents back to work, the State of Illinois has developed this business toolkit complete with signage, training checklists, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest and greatest public health recommendations.

Phase 3 guidelines span 10 different industry categories. Each set of guidelines includes a common set of guidelines that are expected and encouraged among all employers and activity types, as well as workplace and program-specific guidelines.

Common Guidelines for all Phase 3 Businesses and Operations to follow can be found in the Phase 3 Business Toolkit.

For Industry definitions and guidelines, please see below:

Manufactuing image

Manufacturing
Manufacturing facilities such as plants, factories and mills

Heath Fitness image

Health and Fitness Centers
Gyms, fitness centers, yoga, dance, cycling, pilates, barre studios, and other customer-facing fitness centers

Office worker image

Offices
Non-customer-facing offices such as: legal; accounting services; architectural/engineering design; and other professional services

Personal care image

Personal Care Services
Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, waxing centers, tattoo parlors

Retail store image

Retail
Retailers and merchandisers such as: grocery stores; hardware stores; clothing stores; pharmacies; department stores; shopping malls

Outdoor recreation image

Outdoor Recreation
Customer facing services such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, paintball courses, outdoor adventure parks

Service counter image

Service Counters
Stores providing assorted services for dropped off goods, such as: dry cleaners; electronics repair shops; shoe repair shops; car washes

Summer programs image

Day Camps
Recreational youth programs such as sports camps, recreational camps, educational camps

Youth sports image

Youth Sports
Youth sports games or matches, group sports lessons, team or group sports practices (no competitive sports permitted in Phase 3)

Outdoor dining image

Restaurants and Bars (outdoor dining and drinking)
Full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, snacks bars, taverns, and other food and beverage businesses

  • Toolkit

 

Additionally, the State of Illinois is providing new guidelines for indoor/outdoor tennis, as well as revised guidelines for boating and fishing and for golf.

For more on latest guidelines for places of worship and religious services, please view safety guidelines on IDPH’s website.

We also encourage businesses to go above and beyond this guidance in prioritizing the safety and health of their workers and customers.

If you have read the industry safety guidelines above and have other specific questions or comments about how Phase 3 affects your business or employees, please feel free to get in touch with DCEO. For direct support, contact our Business Hotline Monday through Friday at 1-800-252-2923, or email at: ceo.support@illinois.gov.

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Experts discuss ways for businesses to survive Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

Video: Experts discuss ways for businesses to survive Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

The Town of Cicero, the Cicero Chamber of Commerce and Morton College on May 19, 2020 hosted an online workshop to help businesses survive the coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic using Zoom online technology.

Speakers discussed ways to businesses to survive and explore strategies to adapt their businesses to the new environment of social distancing and personal contact restrictions.

Morton College business leader Ashley Swint discusses strategies for businesses to survive in the COVID-19 Pandemic during a Zoom Video Conference held on May 19, 2020 sponsored by Morton College, the Town of Cicero and the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

A special Online, live Video Seminar with speakers who will help businesses navigate through the impact of the coronavirus.

Ashley Swint holds a BA in Fashion Marketing & Management and an MBA in Marketing. She is an Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education for 10 years. Along with my classroom experience I have spent 15 years working in marketing both in Healthcare and Apparel sectors. Along with teaching, I run a marketing consulting firm for small businesses.

Ashley Swint, Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education
Ashley Swint, Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

As a graduate of Health Systems Management from Loyola University, Parrish has worked in healthcare the majority of my career, with the additional experience in business management.

Currently, Parrish is the Director of Corporate Education at Morton College.

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College
Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

Ismael Vargas is the Business License Department Director for the Town of Cicero. Vargas has been a community activist for years and is also the chairman of the Cicero Clergy Committee and a member of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Ray Hanania is a former award winning Chicago City Hall reporter and now spokesman for the Town of Cicero. He is the coordinator for the New Cicero Chamber of Commerce and a veteran strategic communications consultant.

Ismael Vargas, Cicero Director of Business Licenses
Ismael Vargas, Cicero Director of Business Licenses

For information on the Live Webinar, Email Ray Hanania at RHanania@ThetownofCicero.com

Morton College, The Town of Cicero and the Cicero Chamber of Commerce will host more free online workshops to help local businesses. Check back here for more information regularly or subscribe to our free Chamber Newsletter.

Click here to view the video online or use the widget below to watch and listen to the seminar panelists.

Click here to view the PowerPoint Presentation: 05-19-20 Ashley Swint PowerPoint Presentation


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Updates from Cook County Board President Preckwinkle

Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board President Logo

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Cook County Government - Toni Preckwinkle - Cook County Board President

Bureau of Economic Development | May 8, 2020

Community Recover Initiative

loan pic

There’s Still Time and Paycheck Protection Program Funding!

Don’t Miss Your Chance – There’s still time to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program. Don’t miss your chance – money is still available! If you are a small business, nonprofit, gig worker, or church interested in applying for this program, there is still time.

Complete this form today

Developing Story 

The Bureau of Economic Development Invests $154K to Help Suburban Shelter Efforts for those Experiencing Homelessness

The Bureau of Economic Development (BED) released $154,000 in grant funding to support the increased needs of the suburban Cook County areas’ homeless system. Due to COVID-19, most suburban shelter agencies are moving to a hotel-based model for sheltering individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Working with the Alliance to End Homelessness and its member agencies, BED aims to provide a safe shelter solution for people in the suburban region. BED is coordinating with the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security and the Cook County Department of Public Health to access emergency financial support through FEMA. Additional funding is forthcoming through the Community Development Block Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant provided through the federal CARES Act.  Read the press release here.

Find out about the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County here.

Learn about the CARES Act here.

Census 2020 – What You Can do this Week

  • Encourage completing the Census using this image and sample post:“You can still fill out the Census even during the ‘stay home order.’ From the comfort of your own home, you can fill out the Census by phone, mail, and online! Be counted and flatten the curve. #CookCountyCensus #MakeILCount #BeCounted #Census2020”
  • Share our community’s health matters using this image and sample post:“DYK decisions about healthcare resources are impacted by the Census? Fill out the Census today and help share the future for your family and your community. #CookCountyCensus #MakeILCount #BeCounted #Census2020”
  • Use the Census graphics located here to change your background on your next video call, draft a newsletter blurb, or share kids activity sheets with your family. Need help? Let us know!

Upcoming Virtual Events

Business Perspectives and Best Practices During COVID-19 – Join the Conversation:

  • Monday, May 11, at 11:30 am – Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation‘s Reggie Greenwood is hosting a Google Hangout for people to share ideas and strategies for responding to COVID-19. Join with Google Meet or by phone +1 413-276-7842 (PIN: 470909883).
  • Tuesday, May 12, at 1:00 pm, CST – Manufacturing Partnership Peer Sharing is hosting a virtual discussion for manufacturers and public partners involved in the Next-Gen Manufacturing Partnership to discuss how people are mobilizing in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Join via – Zoom link here or Dial-in: (646) 876-9923  ID: 955 9791 6506.
  • Wednesday, May 13, at 10:00 am – The Bureau of Economic Development and Daley College are co-hosting a webinar for Manufacturers to share how to use apprenticeships to attract and retain talent. Featured speakers include Ed Miniat and the Principal Manufacturing group. Register today! 
  • Thursday, May 14, at 1:00 pm  –  National COVID-19 Response Peer Sharing is hosting an open virtual forum for Next-Gen practitioners and business leaders in all industries to connect and exchange experiences in how your partnerships are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Please come prepared to share best practices and ask questions. Join via Zoom link Dial-in: (646) 876-9923 Meeting ID: 917 5101 9747.

In Case You Missed It

  • Bureau Chief Xochitl Flores with Telemundo talking about the work of our Bureau and business recovery efforts.

COVID-19 Resources

Cook County’s Response and Resources

Cook County Department of Public Health

Illinois COVID-19 Resources

Chicago COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control

Cook County Community Recovery Initiative

City Bureau COVID Resource Finder

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Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Click here for more information.

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US Government Resources for Illinois

President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of the White House

US Government Resources for Illinois

Illinois State and Local Partners,

Thank you for your continued efforts in the whole-of-America approach to respond to and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) for the benefit of the people of Illinois. As you know, our citizens are best served when response is locally executed, State managed and Federally supported. The Federal government scales best practices, coordinates key priorities, provides regulatory flexibilities, guidance, and key resources to supplement, but not replace, private sector, local, and state resources. On January 31, the Trump Administration declared the coronavirus a public health emergency. The declaration set in motion the Trump Administration’s whole-of-government approach to protecting the health of Americans in response to the coronavirus. Working in partnership with State, Local, and Tribal leaders, the President and Administration have and continue to leverage all resources to respond to the coronavirus, bringing together government and private industry in a collaborative response.

President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of the White House
President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of the White House

Attached, please find a Fact Sheet (The Trump Administration Is Supporting the People of Illinois) overviewing Federal coordination and assistance provided to the State of Illinois and the people of Illinois to combat the coronavirus. The attached information is bolstered by hundreds of additional actions by the Federal Government to help the people of Illinois in partnership with State and local leaders. The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (WH IGA) will continue to share pertinent information as it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if we can be of assistance. As a reminder, WH IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and the country’s State and Local elected officials and Tribal Governments.

Sincerely,

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

William F. Crozer

Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director

White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Download the COVID-19 App

COVID-19: Important Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Officials

  • Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: On Thursday, April 17, President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force unveiled new guidelines (download here) for the reopening of America. Developed by the top medical experts from across the Government and based on verifiable metrics regarding the situation on the ground, the guidelines outline a phased return to reopening and include specific steps for State, Local, and Tribal officials to follow in tailoring their response. The guidelines also set clear benchmarks on new cases, testing, and hospital resources for States to meet to proceed toward a phased reopening. In the days and weeks ahead, the Administration plans to continue robust coordination and outreach with State, Local, and Tribal leaders as we collectively work to reopen the country.
  • Coronavirus Guidelines for America: On Tuesday, March 31, the White House announced updated Coronavirus Guidelines for America (Español), extending social distancing efforts through April 30. On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance recommending individuals wear cloth face coveringsin public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies, particularly in areas of significant community-based transmission. On April 8, CDC also provided guidelines regarding when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Additional information on critical infrastructure below.
  • Up-To-Date Information: The most up-to-date, verified information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website – www.coronavirus.gov. The Coronavirus Task Force holds frequent briefings, which can be viewed live here.
  • COVID-19 Response and Recovery Primer: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels as soon as possible. Learn more about the response and recovery process via this important resource – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership. FEMA’s public assistance guidance for COVID-19 response efforts can be found here. Guidance for Tribal Governments can be found here.
  • Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidelines: On March 16th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated critical infrastructure guidance in response to the COVID-19 emergency. DHS issued revised guidance on March 28th (seeMemorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response). The guidance, and accompanying list, is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The list is advisory in nature and is not a federal directive or standard.
  • Rural Resource Guide: USDA and Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses, and communities. USDA developed a resource guide for State, Local, and Tribal leaders, and other stakeholders.
  • Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Preventionwebsite. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams.
  • Social Media Resources: Download the Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool. Follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow HHS (Twitter/Facebook) and CDC (Twitter/Facebook) You can also find informational videos from Coronavirus Task Force members on mitigation, social distancing, etc. on the White House’s YouTube page.
  • Mental Health Resources: Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.
  • Administration Actions and Federal Agency Resources: USA.gov is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here. Each Federal Agency has also established a dedicated coronavirus website, where you can find important information and guidance. They include: Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Education (DoED), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Treasury (USDT), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
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Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

Editors of local community newspapers meet with members of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to strengthen their business and their public identity through advertising and public relations strategies. View a video of the event below.

Leaders of The Town of Cicero’s vibrant Spanish/English language news media participated in a panel seminar during a meeting on Feb. 26, 2020 of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Participants on the panel included La Prensa Publisher Martha Gonzales and editor Gabriella Cadrano, El Dia Newspaper Editor Christopher Montes de Oca and co-founder Anna Maria Montes de Oca Rojas, La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo, Lawndale News Managing Editor Ashmar Mandou, and Entretenimiento Magazine Publisher Claudia Montanez.

Each of the editors discussed the many methods that businesses can use to promote their services and attract new customers, or to reinforce public awareness of the business services.

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Monte de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Monte de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.
From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

 

You can view a video of the meeting posted on NewCiceroTV.com by using the widget below or by clicking this link to view the video of the Cicero Chamber conference meeting seminar.


 

All of the newspapers provide Spanish and English news and feature reporting and provide support for advertising needs to the local businesses.

Ashmar Mandou, managing editor of the Lawndale News newspaper, praised the Cicero Chamber for organizing the meeting, and she described the services that the Lawndale News newspaper provides.

“We are a hybrid-local publication with boots-on-the-ground reporting,” Mandou said. “We report on everything from education, entrepreneurship, cultural events and our aim is to change the narrative of the Hispanic community in Cook County and across the region.”

Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo addressed the audience in Spanish and in English, and discussed how her newspaper works with businesses to provide both traditional news coverage and advertising support along with online social media support.

“Our newspaper is a bi-lingual, weekly newspaper covering Cook County, Kane County and including in the Milwaukee region,” Alonzo said.

Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

“We believe in traditional marketing but we also have our whole edition bi-lingual online.”

Christopher Montes de Oca, marketing manager of El Dia newspaper, noted the family-run, free bi-lingual, weekly newspaper was established in 1995 by his parents and publishes about 10,000 issues each week distributed on Fridays.

“Studies show that 39 percent of people recall the ads they see in local newspapers. If you don’t advertise your business in a newspaper is like placing a business without a sign,” Christopher Montes de Oca said.

“Your advertisements in the newspaper will be posted online and on our website free of charge.”

Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Monte de Oca pointed out that supporting local newspapers like El Dia helps to keep revenues and the economic benefits remain in the community for the benefit of the community. He noted that chamber members will get a special discount for advertising in their newspaper.

Gabriella Cadrano and Martha Gonzales addressed the Chamber members next and discussed in Spanish and English the benefits that their newspaper, La Prensa, offers. A bi-weekly newspaper, it covers Cicero, Berwyn and Melrose Park.

“We provide coverage not only in our newspaper but also online, which appeals to growing audience of consumers who are young,” Candrano explained. “We have more than one million visitors online each month. We offer cost and design in providing our advertising. We bring it to life and we want to help your business grow.”

Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

In other business, Maru Ayala discussed a new service of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses that want to organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or a re-grand opening.

“Every business can organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or even a re-grand opening to promote their business and both the Cicero Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Cicero want to help,” Ayalay explained to attendees.

Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Ayala said the chamber charges $175 to help organize two ribbon cuttings/grand opening events each month that receive wide ranging coverage. The events are covered by Cicero Channel 6 TV which is broadcasts 24/7 on Channel 6 Comcast TV, and by the Town of Cicero Newsletter which is distributed to every home. Additionally, local news media, including many of the publications attending the panel discussion, will run press releases to help promote the event. And, businesses will receive an impressive plaque with scissors and data embossed into the plaque memorializing the event that is then presented as a gift to the business to showcase on their wall for their customer.

“It’s a very effective way to announce the grand opening of a new business, or to remind the public that your business is here and about the services that you offer.”

Ayala urged residents to reach out to her through the contact page on the Cicero Chamber of Commerce website.

Ray Hanania, who is serving as the interim organizer for the Chamber, also announced that the chamber will host a Job Fair on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 10 am through 3 pm in which businesses can host a table for free — at no cost — and meet residents and members of the public who are seeking employment.

“This is a good way for businesses to meet individuals who could be future employees or who could fill employment vacancies,” Hanania said.

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Click here to view the video of the Community Media event or use the widget below:


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Pritzker provides 0pportunity for Minority-Owned Businesses to become state vendors

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Pritzker provides 0pportunity for Minority-Owned Businesses to become state vendors

The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) announced today it will be providing an opportunity for traditionally underrepresented minority-owned businesses in the IT/Telecom industry to become vendors for the state. The department will issue a Project/Resource Sheltered Market (PRSM) solicitation in the coming weeks.

The PRSM program offers minority, women and persons with disabilities owned businesses in the IT/Telecom industry the opportunity to bid on State projects, with the goal of increasing supplier diversity in Illinois. Businesses interested in responding to the solicitation must be Business Enterprise Program (BEP) certified in order to participate.

“Under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, we are making reforms to ensure minority, women-owned, and persons with disabilities can compete for and win State contracts,” said Janel L. Forde, Acting Director of Illinois Department of Central Management Services and Chairwoman of the Business Enterprise Council. “This initiative demonstrates our commitment towards inclusion and provides BEP firms an opportunity in the IT/Telecom industry.”

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The upcoming PRSM will be the third solicitation developed in response to the Sheltered Market Report conducted by the Business Enterprise Council in 2013. The report found significant disparities in the State of Illinois’ contracting with minority and women business enterprises in the IT/Telecom industry. Participation in sheltered market solicitations is limited to entities certified by the Illinois Department of Central Management’s (CMS) BEP program.

“PRSM will supplement our current state technology resources by providing short-term and specific skill sets from a diverse group of suppliers,” said Ron Guerrier, Illinois CIO and Acting Secretary for DoIT. “This initiative offers businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities the ability to grow their business and will provide them with opportunities to become prime contractors.”

PRSM is targeted toward BEP-certified vendors when there is a resource needed for a specific and well-defined project. An Invitation for Bid (IFB) will be issued to prequalified PRSM vendors, who are able to bid for projects that fall into the following IT skills categories:

• IT Planning Services
• Information Security Services
• Software/Application Development Services
• Teaching and Learning Services
• Mobile Technology Services
• Web Content and Development Services
• Desktop Services
• Networking Services
• Infrastructure Services
• Customer Support Services

Minority IT/Telecom suppliers wanting to work with the State of Illinois through PRSM, who are not currently BEP certified, should contact CMS’ BEP office at 312-814-4190 or via email at BEP.CMS@illinois.gov to obtain information on certification.

DoIT anticipates PRSM will be published in the coming weeks. DoIT is encouraging vendors who intend to submit offers for the upcoming solicitation to register now in the Illinois Procurement Gateway, and the Illinois Procurement Bulletin (BidBuy). To submit bids, vendors must also have a current Department of Human Rights Employer Eligibility Number. Taking these steps will help to ensure that vendors are ready and have completed some of the required paperwork in advance of the solicitation posting.