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Building stronger regions through innovation and collaboration to

Reinvigorate Local EconomiesSupport Local GovernmentsPromote Balanced CommunitiesInform Sound Decision MakingReskill the Workforce

Mission

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 PRACTICE AREAS

CGS Recent Work

Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force Final Report

Illinois has the largest number of local governments of any state plus a large number of unfunded mandates which add to the costs of local services and may contribute to the relatively slow economic recovery. In response, Governor Bruce Rauner, building on previous attempts to evaluate the local government structure in Illinois, created a Governmental Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, chaired by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. The purpose of the Task Force is to review options for helping taxpayers modernize or streamline the local government structure and make the delivery of public services more efficient.

The Center for Governmental Studies was asked to assist in collecting and analyzing data from local governments about unfunded mandates and to examine practices in other states in addressing these issues. An electronic survey generated a total of 500 responses from local public officials. The Task Force report incorporates the materials generated by CGS in this project as well as 27 recommendations for action by the General Assembly to assist in the modernizing efforts. Read the complete report here

Northern Illinois University and Our Region’s Prosperity

The Center for Governmental Studies completed an economic impact of Northern Illinois University (NIU) in December 2015. NIU was a significant contributor to the region’s economy in 2015. Almost $900 million in economic activity was related to the direct employment of faculty, staff and student workers, major construction projects, and student spending. These impacts are focused in DeKalb County, home to the main campus. In total, nearly 12,900 jobs with a total payroll of $423 million depend on NIU’s operations, construction and student spending. Read the complete report here. 

A Revitalization Plan for DeKalb, IL

DeKalb’s evolving relationship between the city, the university and other local entities has resulted in an exciting new climate for collaborative growth.  As a diverse 21st century city, DeKalb is looking for dynamic opportunities to grow its economy.  CGS assisted DeKalb  in completing a revitalization plan for the community as part of its entry in the America’s Best Communities Competition.  The plan proposes seven projects or programs, which when taken together, will not only grow the city’s economy but also its capacity to develop additional projects in the future.  The seven plan components include a food hub, virtual incubator, arts district, cowork space, STEAM center, branding and marketing program, and a leadership development institute.  A nonprofit led team of leaders drawn from all sectors of the community worked together to develop the plan and will continue to work together to implement each of the components. Read the plan here.

New Policy Profile
Workplace Turnover and Replacement in Downstate Illinois

A cautionary note is struck for Illinois’ economy in the most recent Policy Profiles by Northern Illinois University.  Entitled Workforce Turnover and Replacement in Downstate Illinois, it reports that Illinois is lagging other Midwestern states in the recovery of its workforce from the last recession, and that the problems exist in metropolitan counties and counties adjacent to metro areas as well as in rural areas.  The Policy Profiles concludes with a description of strategies used successfully in other states to address declining workforce trends. Read this and more profiles here.

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CGS In the News

Bilingual college grads are in demand, says NIU survey

The Center for Governmental Studies conducted an online survey during June/July 2015 with Northern Illinois employers, both businesses and non-profit organizations, to determine their current and future need for bilingual employees.  The survey findings suggest there is demand among Northern Illinois employers for bilingual college graduates.

You say goodbye, I say Hello

Without growth among Hispanics, Illinois population would have plunged 80,000 from 2010 to 2014 July 21, 2015. Read the full article here.

CGS: Illinois population shifts: Rockford sees substantial decline; Naperville, Elgin, Aurora add residents

New U.S. Census Bureau estimates indicate that Rockford, the third largest city in Illinois, is leading the state in population decline. Read the full article here.

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CGS Events

Creative Enterprises and Downtown Prosperity Workshop

The creative economy is one of the most talked about topics in downtown development.  What it includes and how to incorporate it into economic growth planning will be discussed at this new workshop targeted to economic and downtown development professionals, city staff and officials, arts organizations, nonprofits, and other interested individuals.  Come to DeKalb, IL on February 25 to learn how businesses and activities from fine arts to web design and publishing can be part of your creative economy, what resources are available to support your initiatives, and what we can learn from projects in cities big and small.  Click here for more information and registration form. 

Speaker Biographies

Growing Your Farmers Market Workshop

There are many ways to host and manage farmers markets and many resources available to help start or grow an existing market.  On Friday, January 29, CGS will host a workshop at the NIU Holmes Student Center that will explore these topics in addition to looking at how SNAP and WIC can be implemented in your market, how to better manage your market, what farmers think about markets, and much more.  As a special treat, the workshop will include one of the initial screenings of the new documentary, Think Globally, Eat LocallyClick here for additional information and the registration form.  

Illinois Financial Forecast Forum: Private Sector Views that will Impact the Public Sector

The Illinois City/County Managers Association and the Center for Governmental Studies Civic Leadership Academy invite you to attend the 7th annual Illinois Financial Forecast Forum. Industry experts from the financial, housing, automotive, land use, retail, real estate, and manufacturing sectors will on pertinent economic and financial issues affecting local governments in Illinois. Download presentations

Midwest Leadership Institute

The Center for Governmental Studies is proud to announce the launch of the Midwest Leadership Institute April 11-15, 2016. 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 for the 2016 Institute. 

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

Growing Your Farmers Market Workshop

There are many ways to host and manage farmers markets and many resources available to help start or grow an existing market.  On Friday, January 29, CGS will host a workshop at the NIU Holmes Student Center that will explore these topics in addition to looking at how SNAP and WIC can be implemented in your market, how to better manage your market, what farmers think about markets, and much more.  As a special treat, the workshop will include one of the initial screenings of the new documentary, Think Globally, Eat LocallyClick here for workshop material.  

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 co-sponsored a conference to help decision-makers and practitioners identify and implement future-focused workforce enhancement strategies. Click here for more information. 

CGS and ILCMA Hosted 6th 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.