Black Historty Month postThis month we celebrate Black History Month, a time to acknowledge the sacrifices of countless African Americans for all they’ve done to make this country a fairer place, as well as the many contributions they’ve made to American society.

Originally, Black History Month started out as Negro History Week, which was established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second African American ever to receive a doctorate from Harvard. He chose the second week of February because it held the birthdays of two figures integral to the abolishment of slavery: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

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Chicago SkylineThe greater Chicago area has once again been named number one metro in the U.S. for site selection according to Site Selection Magazine, which ranks major American metros based on corporate investment.

The city earned the top spot thanks to an influx of projects in Cook County funded by major companies like Facebook and Walgreens. Major corporations have flocked to Chicago to take advantage of its world class workforce, which boasts the second highest concentration of computer science graduates in the nation and the sixth most STEM worker in the country.

The growing number of corporations investing in Chicagoland does not end with the Cook County border. In neighboring Will County, multiple firms have built large distribution centers, including a recent investment from IKEA. Suburbs such as Arlington Heights, Bolingbrook and Naperville are becoming the new homes of manufacturing projects for companies such as IHerb and G&W Electric.

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2018logoIllinois agriculture extends beyond the fields of corn, beans and wheat you see while driving on the highway. Illinois is ranked first in the country for food processing sales and is home to 2,372 food processing companies, which support more than 71,000 jobs in our state. Every day we are impacted by the agriculture in our state.

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piggy3Today, March 1 is National Pig Day, which is cause to celebrate in Illinois because we are one of the nation’s top four pork producers. Pig Day is mostly celebrated in the Midwest since it is the home of the holiday. Pigs are an important part of diets and economies all over the world, our country and more specifically, our state.

Only North Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota outranked Illinois’ 1.9 billion pounds of pork production in 2011.

The pork industry contributes more than $1.8 billion to the state’s economy and generates more than $170 million in state taxes. On top of that, market hogs consume about 155 million bushels of corn each year, the equivalent of more than 911,000 acres. Market hogs also consume about 32 million bushels of soybeans.

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The famous Chicago architect Daniel Burnham is credited with the quote: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood.” As Illinois’ construction industry continues to add jobs and create inspiring places to live, work and enjoy, it is clear that developers are heeding Burnham’s advice.

Nearly 10 years after the start of the Great Recession, real estate development is once again thriving in Chicago. Around the city, there are encouraging signs of investment as cranes continue to rise at worksites, creating jobs and bringing residents into brand-new housing developments.

Reports from the Chicago Department of Buildings suggest that 2017 was a record year for development in the city, with over 40,000 construction permits issued, a five-year high. Over the course of the year, 62 construction cranes towered above the city, up from 12 during the toughest stretch of the recession.

In Chicago, the birthplace of the skyscraper, there are 47 ongoing construction projects that will rise 100 feet or higher once completed. As recently as 10 years ago, such widespread and grand development would have been unthinkable.

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