Cook County and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) announce new 2023 round of applications for Manufacturing Reinvented

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Cook County Seal

Office of Cook County Board President
Toni Preckwinkle

March 2, 2023

Nick Shields

Cook County and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) announce new 2023 round of applications for Manufacturing Reinvented

$5 million grant program seeks to improve business resiliency and competitiveness for Cook County manufacturers

Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) announced the first round of 2023 applications for Manufacturing Reinvented, a $5 million grant program that supports manufacturers to improve their competitiveness as they continue to rebound and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Cook County will reimburse any qualifying suburban Cook County manufacturer for up to $25,000 in eligible expenses.  Participating companies also receive IMEC’s expert advising services to refine project design and scope. Those interested can register for an upcoming webinar March 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Over 150 manufacturers have already applied for projects that will help them rebound and reinvent themselves. 

“Clearly this program provides much needed resources to support manufacturing, one of our region’s key economic sectors,” President Preckwinkle said. “Manufacturing represents the state’s largest industry when ranked by contribution to GDP, and with 182,000 people, Cook County boasts the largest number of workers in Illinois employed in manufacturing. Cook County is proud to make this investment to support this critical industry.”

Manufacturers have used funds to improve operations, find new customers and address talent needs. The program also supports a company’s investments to: 

  • Adopt automation
  • Build supply chain resiliency
  • Enhance productivity
  • Identify talent solutions
  • Find new customers

McKlein Company LLC, a woman-owned manufacturer of leather goods with six employees in Broadview, recently took advantage of the program with a Search Engine Optimization project.  Parinda Saetia, the company’s CEO, has noted already seeing an increase in the company’s SEO rankings.  She explained that she has gained knowledge to help her company grow, adding, “this is a great program that will impact your business.”

Universal Instrument Company, a small minority-woman owned manufacturer of glassware for biomedical, environmental, pharmaceutical, and many other industries and governmental agencies, also chose a Search Engine Optimization project. Erik Moeller, Vice President of Operations, share that “being easily found online creates so many opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have.”  As a result of this work, Universal has already completed a big sale for a company who found them online.

“Cook County manufacturers are already experiencing the benefits of this novel grant program," said David Boulay, President of IMEC. "With projects available in all areas of the organization, it’s exhilarating to watch these companies receive the support they need and help them lead the way for the future of manufacturing in Illinois.

Cook County and IMEC designed Manufacturing Reinvented to address the needs identified by a survey of over 1,000 suburban Cook County manufacturers, summarized in the report called the Urgent Needs of Manufacturers report published in March 2021. Cook County provides these grants with funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Learn more by joining an upcoming webinar on March 10th from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. The webinar will walk participants through the application process. Register here.

Interested businesses are invited to learn more about the program or apply by visiting