Learn about the Economic Development Partnership

Experience Greater Oak Brook Now



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    The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership connects companies to the pulse of business in the Chicago region and serves as an influential and effective advocate and marketer for businesses.
    We always put the needs of businesses first by:
    1. Attracting new companies to our community and building new business opportunities for those companies and existing companies.
    2. Working with key local, state and federal government decision makers to address the financial, operational and other needs of local businesses and businesses seeking to locate here.
    3. Identifying transportation, infrastructure and other community solutions that will attract and retain a talented local workforce.
    4. Developing new area attractions and marketing initiatives that will expand tourism and grow our local economy.
    Welcome and Mission, Please Join

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    The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6 business association governed by a board of directors comprised of Greater Oak Brook companies representing a range of industries: Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, hospitality and retail businesses, technology companies, commercial real estate firms and more. Collectively, these individuals and their companies represent the policy interests of the Greater Oak Brook business community.

    Six paid staff and consultants experienced in business, nonprofit association and economic development program management assist the board in planning the organization’s strategic direction, and manage and execute its operations, programs and activities.
    Meet Our Staff and Board of Directors

    Organizational Culture
    The organization’s leaders and members work together in a geographically small community that is bustling with business. Over 100,000 people work or visit here each day, which keeps our local companies and economy thriving!
    Fortunately, the community’s small geographical size allows us to stay connected and aware of the issues affecting each other. Working together like this has helped create a supportive and respectful organizational culture in which members may build positive professional relationships over time.

    One Voice for Business through Committees!
    The organization has established a collaborative communication structure that allows local businesses to work together through councils and committees to develop a vision and strategy that serve the broader business community’s needs. These joint efforts have helped create one business voice to address critical issues ranging from local signage codes and community marketing and transportation initiatives to broader state business policy concerns. Members may serve on the following councils and committees:
    • Business Roundtable
    • Banking and Financial Services Committee
    • Economic Development Partnership Council
    • Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Attractions and Events Committee
    • Talented Workforce Committee
    • Young Business Leaders
    • Networkers Group
    Serve On Committees

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    Over 350 key area companies employing nearly 10,000 people are members of the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership. Member companies represent commercial real estate (20%), hospitality and retail (25%), technology and other professional services (30%), banking and financial services (15%) and healthcare (10%) sectors. More than 1,600 professionals from these companies regularly participate in the organization’s programs and activities, with 250 of them serving in council and committee leadership roles.
    Member Directory, Join Now

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    See current Action Alerts.

the TEAM


  • Tracy Mulqueen, CAE

    President & CEO

    Tracy Mulqueen, CAE, has served as the Chamber’s President and CEO since July 2004 and is responsible for leading and managing the association, its strategic and operational plans, and member programs and services. She is also charged with building and promoting unified local, state, and congressional policy agendas and initiatives that represent the common interests of Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace companies, and positioning the organization as an influential and effective advocate for business.

  • Ed Tracy, CPA

    Chief Financial Consultant

    Ed Tracy is the Chamber’s Chief Financial Consultant, overseeing the organization’s budget development and financial reporting processes. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society. Please contact Ed at tracy@seldenfox.com.

  • Aimee Schroeder

    Accounting Consultant

    Aimee Schroeder is the Chamber’s Accounting Consultant and handles the organization’s accounts payable and receivable. She has an undergraduate degree in business administration and accounting. Please contact Aimee at schroeder@seldenfox.com.

  • Tamryn Hennessy

    Program Director

    Tamryn Hennessy is the Chamber’s Program Director. She is responsible for leading and managing the organization’s economic development programs, with a current focus on new workforce attraction and retention initiatives, including the new STEM Bridge Partnership.

  • Jenny Stanko

    Communications Manager

    Jenny Stanko is the Chamber’s Communications Manager. Jenny is responsible for managing content for all three Chamber websites, handling email blasts and social media postings, and providing communications support for Chamber meetings, events and grant projects.

  • Bridget Karnick

    Meeting & Events Planner

    Bridget Karnick is the Chamber’s Meeting & Event Planner. Bridget is responsible for organizing membership events and council and committee meetings, and meetings and events for the Economic Development Partnership.

  • Chairman Dan Wagner

    Inland Real Estate Group, Oak Brook

  • Vice Chairman Norm Canfield

    Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook

  • Treasurer Dennis Marx

    JMG Financial, Oak Brook

  • Secretary Maxine Vazquez

    Devon Seafood + Steak, Oakbrook Terrace

  • Suzanne Beres

    Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook

  • Susan Clarke

    Advocate Health Care, Oak Brook

  • Terry Dunne

    Millennium Trust, Oak Brook

  • Simon Fricker

    Le Meridien, Oak Brook

  • Ken Greene

    Comcast Business Class, Oak Brook

  • Stefan Gruvberger

    Hiltons of Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace

  • Kathy Hardy

    Leaders Bank, Oak Brook

  • Ed Harrington

    CenterPoint Properties, Oak Brook

  • Dennis Hiffman

    NAI Hiffman, Oakbrook Terrace

  • Maureen Hoersten

    The LaSalle Network, Oak Brook

  • Chris Johnson

    DoubleTree Hotel, Oak Brook

  • Anna Kamilis

    Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Oak Brook

  • Bob Legan

    Whitnell & Company, Oak Brook

  • Susan Lindquist

    BCS Financial, Oakbrook Terrace

  • Jay Madary II

    JVM Realty Corporation, Oak Brook

  • Adrian Mendoza

    Lillig & Thorsness, Ltd., Oak Brook

  • Tom Midura

    Graycor, Oakbrook Terrace

  • Raul Moreno

    Mon Ami Gabi, Oak Brook

  • Chris Pautsch

    Key Lime Tie, Oak Brook

  • John Pendergast

    Elkay Manufacturing, Oak Brook

  • Finny Rajchel

    State Farm Insurance, Oakbrook Terrace

  • John Ropski

    Printing Arts, Oak Brook

  • Todd Schaefer

    Jones Lang LaSalle Tenant Representation Group, Chicago

  • Don Williams

    McDonald's Corporation, Oak Brook

  • Tracy Mulqueen, CAE

    Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO










Click on each below for specific committee details.

business BLOG


The purpose of the Chamber’s Business Blog is to serve our member companies through the prompt publication of significant local, state, national or global activities affecting any industry, and to provide a forum for the reporting and discussion of news and issues concerning business.

Chamber EDP Council discusses McDonald’s relocation to Chicago

user by Economic Development Partnership
calendarThursday, 28 July


There was vigorous discussion at the Chamber’s recent Economic Development Partnership (EDP) Council meeting regarding the McDonald’s exit from Oak Brook and the need for the Village of Oak Brook to be more responsive to new development trends, including multi-use developments that include apartments for younger families. The Village has responded with some very positive plans to address many of the concerns expressed during this meeting.

Village President Gopal Lalmalani has re-established the formerly named Commercial Revitalization and Streetscapes Committees into a new Community Enhancement Committee. The committee includes key commercial and resident participation. In addition to having input regarding the Village’s ongoing commercial development efforts, the committee will also work with an urban planning consultant, hired by the Village, to help prepare and position the village for its future workforce needs, which includes the possible development of condos.

For more information about this new Committee or the EDP Council, please contact Tracy Mulqueen at 708-560-5271 or tmulqueen@obchamber.com.


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Meet new Chamber affinity partner Power Kiosk!

user by Economic Development Partnership
calendarTuesday, 26 July

Our current retail energy industry is fragmented and scattered. Tens of thousands of energy brokers are pursuing customers, working to save them money. This leaves customers confused and without a benchmark to know if they are receiving a competitive price.

Power Kiosk CEO Hamed Babai

The Chamber’s new affinity partner, Power Kiosk, has solved this challenge by creating a streamlined centric electronic market place, where thousands of energy brokers connect to a large scale of energy suppliers. Launched in March 2013, Power Kiosk now handles approximately 5,000 energy accounts in 17 states through various brokers. With 63 energy suppliers, Power Kiosk provides customers the unique opportunity to discover the best available rates in the marketplace through only a few clicks and a few bids!

Power Kiosk’s new partnership with the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce offers local businesses a unique opportunity to utilize this new technology to lower their energy costs. Through September 15, 2016, Power Kiosk will accept authorization letters from Chamber member companies who wish to aggregate their energy usage with that of other businesses to identify potentially better rates. To participate, businesses should sign PowerKiosk’s Authorization Form to Aggregate Energy Load and return it by email to info@powerkiosk.com. After September 15, Power Kiosk will receive multiple bids and conduct a competitive procurement for the entire pool of inquiring candidates to find the best available contracts at the lowest rates. Companies are under no obligation to purchase anything at any time during this process. Please contact Power Kiosk CEO Hamed Babai at 301-412-5780 for more information. Learn more about Power Kiosk at www.powerkiosk.com.


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The scary things we all learned at the Chamber’s Cybersecurity Forum

user by Banking and Financial Services Committee
calendarMonday, 06 June

Chamber Board Chairman Dan Wagner (far left) and Bob Knott, SWC Technology Partners CEO and Moderator (far right) and speakers left to right: Vince Voci, US Chamber of Commerce, National Security and Emergency Preparedness; Larry Wojcik, Ace Hardware; Bennett Cikoch Ace Hardware; Bob Kuminara, Millennium Trust; and Brad Adams, Graycor

The Chamber’s first Cybersecurity Forum, presented by the Banking and Financial Services Committee on May 16 at the Le Meridien, was intriguing, enlightening, and disturbing. Here are just a few of the things our business audience learned at the forum and that are highlighted in SWC Technology Partners’ article, PHISHING for an Unwitting Accomplice:

  • – Cybersecurity incidents have risen 38% among all businesses since 2014; 64% for mid-size companies
  • – The vast majority of cyber attacks are via “phishing’ emails, in which attackers send emails that look like regular business or social emails to employees to “hook” someone into responding
  • – These phishing attacks may be mass emails appealing to a wide audience, disguised as a communication from a reputable source like PayPal, Facebook or UPS; one employee click is all an attacker needs to access a user’s login credentials
  • – Advanced phishing involves sending emails to employees who have access to sensitive information or systems, using lookalike domains that appear to be legitimate; these attacks can result in very serious financial loss for companies, including wire transfer fraud
  • – 97% of employees can’t spot these phishing emails
  • – 63% of employees have compromised or forgotten a password and exposed their companies to attacks
  • – Mid-size U.S. companies have reported an estimated average annual financial loss of $1.8 million per company, but the loss is much higher, as up to 70% of attacks go undetected
  • – Smaller companies are usually unable to register such incidents as a threat until it is too late to reduce the risk
  • – 60% of small businesses close within six months of a cyberattack

What can a company do?

SWC Technology Partners recommends establishing a systematic, holistic approach that leverages not only technology, but behavioral training for employees. To help companies set up preventive cybersecurity systems, SWC “pressure tests” a company to establish a baseline for how it responds to simulated attacks. They then identify the highest risk areas to learn what type of information would have been compromised in an attack. Next, SWC sets up a user awareness training program for employees on how to reduce risk in these areas.

Here are additional cybersecurity guidance links from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:


Chamber’s May 16, 2016 Cybersecurity Forum Le Meridien Hotel, Oak Brook Chamber’s May 16, 2016 Cybersecurity Forum
Le Meridien Hotel, Oak Brook

The U.S. Chamber and Illinois Chamber of Commerce will host a statewide Cybersecurity Conference in Schaumberg on June 28, 2016. For information, please click here.


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Say hello to Greater Oak Brook’s newest corporate residents and their employees

user by Economic Development Partnership
calendarFriday, 20 May

Be a good neighbor! Reach out and welcome Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace’s newest companies and their employees!


Chairman Tom Midura Economic Development Partnership Council

Archer Daniels Midland (Commerce Plaza, Oak Brook)

Beacon Hill Staffing (Mid America Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)

Brookline (Lincoln Centre, Oakbrook Terrace)

Cadence Health Systems (Regency Towers, Oak Brook)

CIMC Leasing USA (Two TransAm Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)

CMS Communications (Midwest Office Center, Oak Brook)

Datalink Corporation (Mid America Plaza, Oak Brook)

DCT Industrial (Drake Office Plaza, Oak Brook)

DeBlanco, Inc. (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)

Duke Realty (Oak Brook Executive Plaza, Oak Brook)

Farooqui & Husian Law (Two TransAm Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)

Forward Space (1111 West 22nd, Oak Brook)

Verdi Property Management (Regency Towers, Oak Brook)

Geiger Wealth Management (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)

Grane Trucking (Butterfield Office Plaza, Oak Brook)

Hartford Financial Services (One Oakbrook Terrace, Oakbrook Terrace)

Hassett Express (Midwest Office Center, Oak Brook)

Hauser Izzo, LLC (Regency Towers, Oak Brook)

HomeBridge Financial Services, Inc. (Terrace Oaks, Oakbrook Terrace)

Kellen Company (Parkview Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)

KeyLimeTie (Oakbrook Promenade, Oak Brook)

Pacific Life Insurance Company (Mid America Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)

QsrSoft (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)

Rejuvenate MedSpa (Oak Brook Professional Building)

RSB Dental (Oak Brook North, Oak Brook)

Ryd Law Group, P.C. (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)

Select Staffing (Harger Road, Oak Brook)

Sentinus LLC (Oak Brook Pointe, Oak Brook)

Shriver-Capacity Insurance Agency, LLD (One Oakbrook Terrace, Oakbrook Terrace)

Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. (One Oakbrook Terrace, Oakbrook Terrace)

SMART Golf Fitness Instruction (Oakbrook Terrace Tower, Oakbrook Terrace)

Star Micronics America, Inc. (Commerce Plaza, Oak Brook)

Sterns Lending (Oak Brook Executive Plaza, Oak Brook)

True Consulting (Oak Brook Executive Plaza, Oak Brook)

USI Insurance Services (Commerce Plaza, Oak Brook)

Wealth Planning Network (Parkview Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)

New Hassett Express Employees with Welcome Bags from the Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership

New Hassett Express Employees with Welcome Bags from the Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership

“The Chamber’s Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and our local municipalities have worked diligently to ensure that we offer a supportive, business-friendly environment in which businesses can thrive and grow,” said EDP Council Chairman and Graycor Treasurer Tom Midura. “Our promotion of policies that build commerce and reduce business costs and that support timely and efficient building, zoning, permitting and signage processes has resulted in continued economic growth for Greater Oak Brook. We are now beginning additional new efforts to address the community’s emerging transportation, infrastructure and tourism needs to make sure we continue to grow and compete.”

The Chamber’s Economic Development Partnership Council has organized a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee made up of property and business owners who will examine Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace vehicle and pedestrian access, and employee transportation needs to and from area train stations to local employment sites.

For more information about this new Chamber committee and its work, please contact Tracy Mulqueen at tmulqueen@obchamber.com or at 708-560-5271.



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Thank you, Governor Rauner!

user by Economic Development Partnership
calendarFriday, 20 May

Businesses in Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace appreciate the cooperation and support of our municipal staff and elected officials and the productive working relationships we have through the Economic Development Partnership of Greater Oak Brook. This partnership helps ensure the commercial and residential economic viability and success of both communities.


Governor Bruce Rauner

Governor Rauner has been working to create similar cooperation between businesses and government on the State level. He knows what our local businesses know: that government must understand what businesses need to succeed and must be responsive to those needs; and, that businesses in turn must be engaged with their communities to help address community needs.

As such, since his election Governor Rauner’s chief executive performance has been an exemplar for both businesses and government organizations. Almost immediately he instilled a surprising new culture of operational excellence and exceptional customer service throughout the State’s agencies — for both businesses and residents. Today, it’s a real pleasure to call all our State offices.

This new State agency culture is especially evident at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Today, when a company considering Illinois for its corporate location contacts DCEO, that company is respectfully and enthusiastically greeted by staff at every level and carefully supported through each step of the process for licensing, tax questions, business planning, and more.

Going a fantastic step further, Governor Rauner has also worked to build the State’s first private economic development corporation, the same model we have in place and appreciate here in Greater Oak Brook. This new private State entity, the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation, will work more closely with businesses to understand how they need to operate and what State government can do, itself, to work more efficiently on behalf of businesses. As we know on the local level, this type of partnership is the best way to invigorate commerce and grow a strong economy.

Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Partnership Council April 2016 Meeting

Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce
Economic Development Partnership Council
April 2016 Meeting

The Chamber’s Economic Development Partnership Council met DCEO’s Chief of Staff Anthony Esposito at its April meeting and learned more about the planned purpose and structure of this new private economic development corporation. Legislation establishing this new entity is working its way through the General Assembly. Please check the Chamber’s legislative alerts posts for updates at www.obchamber.com.


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Praise for Portillo’s Hot Dogs CEO Keith Kinsey and model training program

user by Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce
calendarFriday, 20 May

Chamber members, partners and friends recently enjoyed one of the most interesting Annual Meeting keynote addresses in years, presented by one of the community’s most engaging speakers, new Portillo’s Hot Dogs CEO Keith Kinsey. The audience was surprised to learn what a critical role the restaurant industry plays in the current economy, and how Portillo’s own workforce training initiatives have helped grow talent in the restaurant industry and many other industries, as well.


CEO Keith Kinsey Portillo’s Hot Dogs

Oak Brook-based Portillo’s corporation employs 4,000 people who work at 50 businesses in four States. The company offers its own nationally recognized employee and manager training and development programs, all focused on the Four Golden Rules:

  1. Quality
  2. Service
  3. Attitude
  4. Cleanliness.

Portillo’s strongly supports its employees’ future success by offering growth opportunities through its own uniquely designed CareerPath program. Many companies refer to Portillo’s training and development programs as models.

Interested in working at Portillo’s? Go to www.jobs.portillos.com.


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They can’t imagine working anywhere else

user by Talented Workforce Committee
calendarThursday, 19 May

Do you love your job? Employees at Oak Brook-based Hub Group and SWC Technology Partners love theirs! Today, companies like Hub and SWC offer innovative and motivating work cultures that enhance the work experience for their employees.

Hub Group’s Team with Talented Workforce Co-Chair Susan Lindquist

Hub Group’s Team with Talented Workforce Co-Chair Susan Lindquist

At its recent Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast, the Chamber presented its Model Workplace Award to Hub Group, one of Oak Brook’s newer corporate residents. Hub Group built its beautiful corporate headquarters in Oak Brook several years ago with a unique open floor plan that encourages communication across all departments. Hub Group believes that if its departments collaborate in an open environment, they will be able to create innovative solutions that benefit the company’s customers. These efforts have also resulted in employee growth, improved communication and team building.

Of note, Hub Group’s employee wellness initiative is especially appreciated, offering in-house bike racks and locker rooms, five walking paths, an in-house deli offering healthy meals, and annual complimentary CPR training. The company also offers top-of-the line technology access for all its employees to help them work more efficiently.

In addition, Hub Group offers entry-level employees the opportunity to win the STAR award for performance with special in-house rewards, and provides employee scholarships for use at four-year accredited universities during the academic year.

Pictured left to right: SWC Human Resources Director Patrick O’Rourke and SWC CEO Bob Knott with Chamber Talented Workforce Committee Co-Chair Susan Lindquist

Pictured left to right: SWC Human Resources Director Patrick O’Rourke and SWC CEO Bob Knott with Chamber Talented Workforce Committee Co-Chair Susan Lindquist

The Chamber also presented its Champion for Young Professionals award to SWC Technology Partners. Since 2002, SWC has quadrupled its customer base and workforce and has become one of the best-known companies of its kind. SWC uses a unique blend of recruiting methods to attract and retain some of the Chicago area’s top young talent, including campus recruiting, traditional online recruiting channels and the use of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. SWC also uses social media to create content and develop relationships with potential candidates.

Among many other things, SWC also offers programs to help young professionals jumpstart their careers: the Career Advocate Program, SWC University, and Lunch and Learn sessions. SWC also covers the cost for new employees to achieve technical certifications.

Tell us about the great things your company does to support and develop employees by emailing info@obchamber.com.


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Search for a new home with new Chamber member and local realtor, Bob Hutchison

user by Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce
calendarThursday, 19 May

When I met new Chamber member Bob Hutchison for the first time, I thought he was an exceptionally nice guy who was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about real estate. As there are a number of super talented realtors in our area, I wasn’t at all surprised to meet another fantastic one.


Realtor Bob ‘Hutch’ Hutchison RE/MAX

As I continued to get to know Bob, I also learned that he is an experienced stocks and bonds trader who has learned how to apply those trading skills to really effectively market his real estate clients. In addition, he’s clearly a great listener and responds quickly to client needs, so he makes a terrific guide for executives and employees who are new to the area and need to find that perfect home in a limited amount of time. His skills are also a good fit for families and individuals who need focused and ongoing marketing support and attention.

Please join us in welcoming Bob Hutchison as a new member. You may contact Bob at 630-747-5915 or rbh517@gmail.com.


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Are recruitment problems keeping you up at night?

user by Talented Workforce Committee
calendarWednesday, 18 May

Are you up at night worrying about how to find skilled candidates for an important technical position at your company? Or are you searching for ways to support those talented young applicants who want to work in Greater Oak Brook, but need assistance with transportation and housing? These are just several of the many issues the Chamber’s Talented Workforce Committee has addressed over the past year.

Nora O’Connor Co-Chair, Talented Workforce Committee

Nora O’Connor
Co-Chair, Talented Workforce Committee

The Committee has learned about the critical skills gaps local employers are struggling to fill, the changes our State’s educational system is going through and emerging K-12 model curriculum, and how our area higher education institutions are addressing skills gaps and providing remedial support for students as they enter college. The Committee has also worked to identify ways to more effectively link employers with supportive programs at area colleges and universities.

“Too often, employers and higher education institutions must teach and train individuals who are academically, vocationally or otherwise unprepared to be in the workforce,” said Talented Workforce Committee Co-Chair Nora O’Connor. “This puts an unnecessary burden on businesses and universities to help them succeed, and results in additional costs and delayed performance for employers and post-secondary institutions. There must be significant improvement in how K-12 schools educate children so that they are better prepared when they enter college and jobs.”

In addition, the Committee has joined the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) Council and Young Business Leaders group to discuss how to expand housing, social and peer support for young professionals. The EDP has also initiated a new initiative, the STEM Bridge Partnership, which is a youth-led curriculum-based service-learning project that focuses on STEM learning and college and career-readiness for at-risk middle and high school students.

For information about the Talented Workforce Committee or the STEM Bridge Partnership, please contact Tracy Mulqueen at tmulqueen@obchamber.com.


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Will students be ready for work?

user by Talented Workforce Committee
calendarWednesday, 18 May

According to local companies, colleges and universities, too many students and employees are entering college and the workforce unprepared to succeed academically and professionally. In addition to lacking basic oral and written communication skills, many students struggle to meet the minimum math and analytical skills requirements.

Our state’s school test scores clearly indicate that many middle and high school students are performing poorly these areas. This means that colleges and employers continue to be challenged with helping students and new hires develop these skills during their freshman year and on the job, a delayed intervention that often doesn’t ensure student or employee success.

So it’s not surprising that businesses across Illinois are concerned about how the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), formerly No Child Left Behind, will affect the State’s current career-readiness standards in school testing. These standards include use of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, which have been critical in moving the state toward a truly reliable testing system that prepares students for college and future jobs.

Ben Boer Advance Illinois Policy Director

Ben Boer
Advance Illinois Policy Director

The Chamber’s Talented Workforce Committee recently welcomed two education experts to tell us what’s ahead for the State’s school accountability system. Ben Boer, Policy Director for Advance Illinois, an advocacy group promoting a strong public education system for Illinois, discussed ESSA implementation in Illinois and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Coordinator Mary Biniewicz from the DuPage Regional Office of Education shared her organization’s initiatives to improve student interest and performance in STEM classes and careers.

Ben described how the new federal law will continue to support and even expand the State’s existing school improvement efforts by allowing the State to have more authority to set its own standards, assessments, and interventions, while expanding its current support for at-risk, preschool, and homeless students.

Of special interest to businesses is the State’s new eligibility to apply for federal grants to address kindergarten readiness, reading and math improvement, and college readiness and completion. However, the new law also gives states more room to revise some of the previous law’s rigorous learning requirements. That means that businesses must advocate for the State’s continued use of the PARCC assessments. According to national education standards and policy experts, the PARCC tests are now one of the most effective tests for measuring critical student academic and career-readiness preparation.

Mary Biniewicz DuPage County STEM Coordinator

Mary Biniewicz
DuPage County STEM Coordinator

DuPage County Schools STEM Coordinator Mary Biniewicz discussed the long-term professional advantages for students pursuing STEM careers, including significantly lower unemployment rates and higher pay. She also described the many unique and inspiring programs her organization presents to excite students about science, technology, engineering and math.

To download the full Illinois State Board of Education’s ESSA presentation, please click here. For more information about DuPage County STEM programs, please contact Mary at mbiniewicz@dupageroe.org.

For more information about the Chamber’s Talented Workforce Committee, please visit our Talented Workforce Committee page


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