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Boost Your Bottom Line with a Little Help from Uncle Sam

Who hires people?  You do.  The business.  As economic developers our job is to encourage you to do so.  But how do we do that when most, if not all of the State incentives have either been eliminated or their future is tenuous as best?  We have to look beyond the State to the Federal Government.  But before you shake your head and laugh uncontrollably, let me tell you about an underutilized program you may have never heard of.   The Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) “a Federal tax credit available to employers who hire and retain veterans and/or individuals from other target groups with significant barriers to employment”, can help you recover a large percentage of the salary paid to an employee for up to 2 years.  As with anything, the actual amount you can claim depends on a number of different factors but an example on the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) website states:

“For long-term Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants, credit is available to employers who hire members of this group for up to a two-year period.

  • In the first year, the employer may claim a tax credit equal to 40% of the first-year wages, up to the maximum tax credit, if the individual works at least 400 hours.
  • In the second year, the employer may claim a tax credit equal to 50% of the second-year wages, up to the maximum tax credit, if the individual works at least 400 hours.”

Now you may be saying to yourself, this sounds great but the paperwork… NOT SO my friend.  Fill out IRS Form 8850 and ETA Form 9061 and mail them in to IDES you are DONE.  The IDES then forwards all of the information to the IRS and the IRS tracks everything through payroll.  To make it even easier, many employers are automatically including the forms in hiring packets and letting IDES vet whether the employees qualify.  It really doesn’t get much more simple than that.

By now, I hope I have piqued your interest.  Have Questions?  Check out more information on the WOTC Program or reach out to your local IDES office to learn more or join us at our May Lunch and Learn to hear reps from the Lake County Jobs Center and IDES talk about the programs first hand.





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Waukegan Harbor Master Plan

The Waukegan Port District will host the public on Wednesday March 22nd to unveil their preliminary Waukegan Harbor Master Plan currently in development.

The public meeting will provide the community an opportunity to learn more about the proposed direction the Port District is going to pursue with regard to redevelopment at the Harbor.  The project stems from a grant received from Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Sustainable Coastal Planning Program.

The intent of the project is to provide the Port District with a clear set of priorities over the near and long-term to make redevelopment a reality at the Harbor.  The Greater Waukegan Development Coalition (GWDC) secured the $100,000 grant from the IDNR on the Port District’s behalf in 2015 and led the team that ultimately selected the lead planner on the project, Edgewater Resources.

Join the Waukegan Port District and Edgewater Resources on March 22nd from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Waukegan Yacht Club to learn more about the proposed plan and to ask questions you might have.

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ADA Compliant Canoe and Kayak Launch

ADA Complaint Canoe and Kayak Launch

The Waukegan Port District will install an ADA compliant Canoe and Kayak Launch at the Harbor this spring ready for use by summer 2017.  It will be located between the launch ramps and the government pier.  The Waukegan Harbor Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) contributed funding to purchase the ramp.
The launch is part of a larger effort including a viewing and staging area.  The GWDC wrote a grant to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on behalf of the Port District for funding in 2014.  A lack of a State budget has slowed progress.  For now, just the launch will be installed, followed by additional improvements if/when State funding is released.
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Understanding the Downtown Market

Lake Forest College, the GWDC, and Waukegan Main Street (WMS) will be teaming up during the Spring Semester to conduct surveys and look at strategies for how to better market the downtown to potential businesses and visitors around the area. The project is part of a new effort by the College to provide students an opportunity to learn what consulting is really like first hand while working with real businesses.  Check out the full course description for ENT 365: Strategic Small Business Consulting.

With the assistance of the student groups, the GWDC and WMS will look to gain a better understanding of the local market to attract the community and businesses downtown.  Primary data will be developed through surveys and secondary data will be examined as well in an effort to learn what the numbers are telling us in terms of opportunities that are available.  The recent Downtown Retail Snapshot is one example of secondary data the teams will use in their work.

What do you think more people in the community should know about the downtown?  Let us know in the comments.

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Tenant Spotlight – OlayIT™

OlayIT™ ‘s mission is to make healthcare innovation adoption easier and faster at healthcare organizations. Through its global web-based interface, OlayIT™ strategically markets and connects healthcare technologies with manufacturers to healthcare organizations.

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