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The Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University provides expertise that helps decision-makers implement efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches to economic, social, and information management issues.


CGS Recent Work


CGS recently completed a report that used the Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) tool to quantify the direct and indirect economic activity related to the military and defense industry in Illinois. The study looks at the economic impact of the state’s three active military installations: Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, the Rock Island Arsenal in the Quad Cities, and the Naval Station Great Lakes. In addition, Department of Defense (DoD) contracts with private sector companies and Illinois National Guard activities are evaluated. The report detailed the impacts by region, Congressional district and the state. Researchers also conducted a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or SWOT analysis that looked at a variety of factors including quality of life, local military support efforts, state and national policy. The report was funded by a public-private partnership between the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Lt. Governor Sheila Simon


A recent study completed by CGS detailed community college student outcomes and economic impacts for the Illinois Community College system and each of the 39 community college districts in the state. The report examined earnings gains for community college program completers, including the return on investment for specific programs, and provides demographic summaries of community college students. In addition, the economic impacts of college operations were quantified. The report was funded by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant.

NEW Policy Profile 
The Back to the Cities Movement: Will It Help Illinois’ Smaller Cities?

Downtown Chicago is attracting record numbers of new residents, particularly college-educated young adults. Attracted by the convenience and amenities of downtown living, they are generating new revenue for businesses and government. Can smaller cities capitalize on the interest in an urban lifestyle and attract new residents, visitors and businesses? This Policy Profiles suggests several ways that smaller cities can compete for downtown growth. To read more Policy Profiles, visit the CGS Policy Profiles page


CGS Events

Future focus PREPARING FOR WORKFORCE 2020 Conference

A dependable and well-prepared workforce will be key to maintaining economic growth in the next several years. On February 19, 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and CGS are co-sponsoring a conference to help decision-makers and practitioners identify and implement future-focused workforce enhancement strategies. Registration is now open. Click here for more information.  

Civic Leadership Academy

Registration for the 2014-2015 Civic Leadership Academy is now open. Plan to attend one or more of the 40 workshops offered during this upcoming season. The 2014-2015 season offers new locations, workshops, and partnerships! 
Learn more here.

CGS Past Events

CGS and ILCMA Hosted 7th Annual Illinois Financial Forecast Forum

The Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies Civic Leadership Academy and Illinois City/County Management Association hosted the sold out Illinois Financial Forecast Forum: Private Sector Views that will Impact the Public Sector on January 30, 2015. Attendees heard presentations on pertinent economic and financial issues affecting local governments in Illinois. Click here to learn more about the event and download speaker presentations. 

Midwest Leadership Institute

The Center for Governmental Studies is proud to announce the launch of the Midwest Leadership Institute March 31 - April 4. The goal of the Midwest Leadership Institute is to provide local government professionals a deeper understanding and mastery of core leadership concepts and experiences in order to increase their skills at managing people to achieve intended outcomes. Click here to learn more and register.

CGS In the News

Enterprise Zone Assistance

CGS, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), has developed a single centralized location for obtaining much of the data needed to complete an Enterprise Zone application. Users of this site may generate a PDF report of the relevant data for all 10 Enterprise Zone criteria along with a map of the Local Labor Market Area (LLMA). Visit the Enterprise Zone Assistance website for more information.

Alternative Service Delivery

The Great Recession prompted a "new normal" for local government that caused some organizations to refocus their goals, structure, and service delivery methods. CGS Assistant Director Dawn Peters co-authored A Handbook of Alternative Service Delivery for Local Government that offers a guide to alternative service delivery methods. Through research of organizations that have ventured into these various alternative methods, this handbook provides information and insight local governments can use to provide public services more effectively and efficiently. Information about the e-book may be found here.

CGS and the Data Act

The DATA Act is a monumental piece of legislation - probably the most significant legislation for government since the passage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1966.  With the signing of the DATA Act, our nation's leaders are now transititioning to the implementation phase.  It is critical that our leaders think holistically about any new developments for this Act.  The design and development of solutions should involve a variety of consumers as well as producers of financial information; this will ensure their reporting and analytic activities will be made easier and more effective. Most importantly, a standard data dictionary (taxonomy) and core repository is necessary to implement the DATA Act.  Read what Shannon Sohl, CGS research associate, recently wrote on this topic for the Sunlight Foundation blog.