Local Business Headlines
- St. Louis Freightway, Port of New Orleans sign pact aimed at fostering economic growth
- J.C. Penney says it will close up to 140 stores
- Alton resident presented Living Legends Award
- Economic development course series starts March 1
- World’s Largest Garage Sale makes return April 23
- CNB Bank & Trust announces new financial advisor
- SIUE implements reverse transfer credit program with LCCC
- Divine Immanence LLC, Maryville beauty supply business, opens
Immigration key to area growth, supporters say
Southwestern Illinois leaders say immigration reform is necessary to boost the region’s economic well-being, and they are stepping up a campaign to elicit support.
Efforts under way on both sides of the Mississippi River are painting the issue as more than a line in the sand separating the United States and Mexico. Without reform, they say, there is serious risk of not having a skilled workforce to do the jobs that will soon be vacated by baby boomers; falling further behind other communities; and losing out on potentially valuable resources in sciences and other fields.
Jim Pennekamp, special assistant to the chancellor for regional economic development and executive director of University Park at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, was part of a
four-person panel that presented a recent program on immigration in Belleville. He cited a study released in July by the International Economic Development Council, which offers some eye-opening details on the potential economic development impact of immigration.
Key to community advancement, he said, is understanding that:
- Immigrants contribute skills that may not otherwise be easily available.
- Some 65 percent of all foreign students in the United States are studying science, technology and math, so-called STEM curriculum. In advanced degree programs, some 40 to 45 percent are in STEM.
- See IMMIGRATION
Winter aside, house sales looking up in Illinois
The door is finally cracking open to improvements in the housing market, and local realty agents are offering cautious but hopeful projections for 2014, despite the wintry setback of the last several weeks.
Realtors in St. Clair, Monroe and Clinton counties sold more homes in 2013 than they did in the previous five years, according to Tricia Tialdo, president of the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois.
It’s a trend mirrored throughout the state, comparing year to year. Illinois saw an overall 18.9 percent increase in closed sales from 2012 to 2013, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors. Median sales prices jumped from $138,500 to $150,000 in the same span. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
In what the state association calls its Metro-East MSA, which is made up of the above counties and neighboring counties represented by the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors, closings jumped 14.4 percent but median prices dipped slightly, from $115,000 to $111,900.
- See HOME SALES
Metro East American Diabetes Association raises over $110,000 with help of the Simmons Firm
ALTON – Thanks to the support and effort of Chairman John Simmons and Simmons Firm employees, this year’s Metro East Diabetes fund-raiser, STEP OUT: Walk to Stop Diabetes, raised over $110,000, the most ever raised for the event. The result has ranked it as the most successful American Diabetes Association walk in the nation.