Mar 22, 2012

Economic Performance Scorecard


Peoria, IL (March 22, 2012) — Greater Peoria scores excellent when it comes to economic performance, innovation, people and livability according to the Greater Peoria Regional Economic Scorecard released today by The Heartland Partnership.  The Heartland Partnership, CEO Roundtable volunteers and Bradley University business professors have spent more than a year gathering data on hundreds of categories to see how the region stacks up. 

According to Scorecard project coordinator Ryan Spain, “In order to remain a leader in the Midwest, we need a baseline set of measurements so we can better understand how we perform and how we rate compared to regions we consider our competitors and the regions we aspire to be like.”  Competitor communities were identified as Chattanooga, TN; Quad Cities; Dayton, OH; Fort Wayne, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Lexington, KY; Rockford; and Springfield, MO.  Communities we aspire to be like included Des Moines, IA; Omaha, NE; ad Madison, WI. 

Jim McConoughey, President and CEO of The Heartland Partnership explained the scorecard as a proactive approach to determining the strengths and weaknesses of the region “Up to this point, the majority of our efforts have been focused internally, but it is no longer enough to simply measure our internal progress from year to year.  We must understand how Greater Peoria performs in relation to our competitors as well.” 

Five main categories were analyzed and Greater Peoria demonstrates great results when it comes to productivity, generation of intellectual property and access to healthcare but progress is needed to improve our business climate and provide additional support for small businesses.  Here’s a look at the specific scores for the five categories:
a.       Economic Performance is critical to every community and improving economic performance is the ultimate goal for all community leaders. A strong, vibrant economy leads to improved living standards, job growth, higher wages and more opportunities for all stakeholders. 
Greater Peoria scored 137 which is 5th & above US average of 100
b.      People are the most important resource in an economy.  A highly educated and experienced workforce with the knowledge and ability to perform specialized tasks, respond to opportunities and adapt to a changing economic environment will result in greater productivity for local businesses and attract new businesses to the area. Greater Peoria scored 134 which is 5th & above US average of 100
c.       Innovation is the growth engine of an economy. The ability for a community to establish an innovative environment will attract dynamic new businesses to the area.  Residents can expect higher-wage jobs, lower unemployment and an increased standard of living.
Greater Peoria scored 71 which is 4th & below US average of 100
d.      Business & Entrepreneurship are essential for a thriving community. A favorable environment will be supportive of local entrepreneurs and entice new companies into the region, resulting in job growth, infrastructure investment and increased living standards.
Greater Peoria scored 135 which is 9th & above US average of 100
e.      Livability includes cost of living, safety, healthcare access, cultural opportunities, a sense of community and convenience.  Livability is taken into account when a worker decides where to locate. An area is more likely to attract and retain high-quality talent if it can offer a comfortable lifestyle and a pleasant environment to raise a family.
Greater Peoria scored 115 which is 5th & above US average of 100
A handful of communities across the country have done similar projects however, according to Dr. Larry Weinzimmer, Caterpillar Professor of Strategic Management at Bradley University, the methodology used in the Greater Peoria Regional Economic Scorecard is different than any other because of the statistical analysis provided by Bradley University. 

Scorecard task force member Dan Daly said while this analysis doesn’t provide every solution to the issues identified, it will serve as a platform on which community and business leaders can build future strategic development efforts.  “Having strong data as the foundation for strategic development, will increase the probability for success and will help ensure the long term growth of Greater Peoria.” 

Bill Cirone, task force member, explained the Heartland Partnership is not going to solve all of the issues identified through this project on its own.  “Overcoming the challenges we have identified will require cooperation between state and local governments, as well as partnerships with the business community.  The Heartland Partnership needs you, the residents in this region, to get involved and make a difference.  We have the roadmap now so let’s work together and make sure we’re headed in the right direction.” 

The Greater Peoria Economic Scorecard will become an annual report to track progress and identify regional weaknesses year over year.  There will be community forums and the scorecard group will be presenting their findings throughout the region.  If you would like a presentation for your organization or business, email us at info@greaterpeoriascorecard.com and visit www.greaterpeoriascorecard.com for more information. 

Congratulations, Peoria.  Economic Development Plays in Peoria