Technology Illinois ranks No. 13 on the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s 2020 State New Economy Index, jumping three spots from the last Index in 2017 and achieving its highest ranking yet.

ITIF has released state rankings about every three years since 1999. The rankings are based on 25 indicators that are divided into five categories: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the digital economy and innovation capacity. The survey ranks states on multiple factors—from “knowledge” jobs and exports to venture capital and broadband access—with an eye toward the structure of the economy related to innovation and technology.

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Kanata Logo Kanata Blanket, one of America’s leading manufacturer of premium blankets and promotional products, has announced they will move their North American and U.S. operations to Vandalia, Ill.

The new facility is planned to create 40-50 new jobs in the area in the coming year.

Vandalia and Central Illinois are hubs of automotive, agricultural and industrial manufacturing. Over 70,000 Central Illinois residents work in the industry, and thousands of others rely on the products local manufacturers make and the economic development they generate.

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laptop 3087585 640Eastern Illinois University has seen 10% uptick in enrollment this year, mainly as a result of jumps in freshman and local student enrollment. This marks the university’s third year of continued growth thanks to increases in continuing, dual-credit, freshman and graduate students.

EIU is also noticing greater enrollment of high-achieving students, who have boosted the school’s incoming average ACT, SAT and GPA scores as well as resulted in considerably greater eligibility among freshmen for EIU’s Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

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discussing-home-task-picture-id1034383664.jpegMany colleges are struggling to adapt to online learning and new safety procedures, but Northern Illinois University continues to see growth despite the challenges they face.

For fall 2020, the number of enrolled students increased by 1% to a total of 16,769 students. This influx was primarily driven by the growing freshman class this year: At 2,047 students, the Class of 2024 is 8% larger than last year’s freshman class.

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When Hillcrest High School began the school year online, woodshop teacher Marty Coyle noticed several of his students sitting on their bed, couches or even the floor during classes. To ensure every student has a dedicated workspace for at-home learning, Coyle began making desks with the leftover woodshop materials from the previous school year. 

Coyle, who has been teaching at Hillcrest High School for the past three years, wanted to give back to his community. He shared a photo of his desks on Facebook, saying, “Turns out lots of students do not have desks to work at during E-Learning.....So I figured I might as well build some."

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