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Governor Pritzker Awards $1.7 Million to 40 Recipients as Part of the Made in Illinois Grant Program

Press Release - Thursday, May 09, 2024

Grant funding empowers small and mid-sized manufacturers to foster innovation and strategic growth

CHICAGO - Today, Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) awarded $1.7 million in grant funding to 40 small and mid-sized manufacturers across the state through the Made in Illinois Grant Program.

The Made in Illinois program provides up to $50,000 in matching grant funding to local Illinois manufacturers to support innovation and strategic advancements in manufacturing. IMEC served as grant administrator for this program.

"Manufacturing is on the rise in Illinois and my administration is providing local manufacturers with the resources they need to compete in the future," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Thanks to this grant, 40 diverse recipients across the state will receive the capital they need to advance innovation in their field."

The program originally allocated $1 million in funding and was increased to $1.7 million due to resounding interest in the program from Illinois' small and mid-sized manufacturers. The Made in Illinois program underscores the State of Illinois' commitment to strengthening its manufacturing base which is a vital component of the state's economy. By providing financial support to local manufacturers, the program encourages innovation and advancement within the industry while contributing to job creation and economic prosperity throughout Illinois communities.

"Illinois is a globally recognized manufacturing leader and small and medium-sized manufacturers are a critical part of our state's manufacturing sector and economy," said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. "Through the Made in Illinois Program, the State is reinforcing its commitment to providing resources and opportunities to Illinois' world-class manufacturers while supporting communities across the state."

The Made in Illinois Grant Program represents a significant step forward in enhancing the competitiveness and resilience of Illinois' manufacturing sector. The selected manufacturers, spread across various sectors and regions of the state, exemplify the diverse capabilities and potential of Illinois' manufacturers.

"The Made in Illinois Grant Program is just one example of the dedication to supporting Illinois manufacturers in their pursuit of excellence," said David Boulay, Ph.D., President of IMEC. "By investing in innovation and strategic initiatives, these businesses are empowered to thrive and drive economic growth across the state."



Grant Amount

555 International, Inc.



AFC Packaging LLC (Policarta Packaging)

Lake in The Hills


Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc.



Axis Designs, Inc.



Boombox Beverage LLC



BTM Industries



Cardinal Plating Solutions



Carl Buddig and Company

South Holland


Carolina Brands (Rutland)



Chicago Metal Supply & Fabrication Inc.



Clifford-Jacobs Forging Company



Curtis Thermal Processing

Machesney Park


Designcraft, Inc.

Lake Zurich


Double S Liquid Feed Services, Inc.



Elkay Plastics Co., Inc.




Carol Stream


Forster Tool & Manufacturing



Gallagher Asphalt Corporation



Gallagher Corporation



Intertape Polymer Group



JT Fennell Co., Inc.



KrisDee & Associates

South Elgin


La Criolla, Inc.



Livingston Pipe and Tube






Midwest Printed Circuit Services, Inc.

Round Lake Beach


Moline Welding Inc.



MTM Recognition



Muenchau Metal Works, LLC



Old Irving Brewing Co (Tripp Brewery, LLC)



RetMap, Inc.



Ro-Pal Grinding Inc.



Scot Forge Co.

Spring Grove


Signarama Grayslake



Square 1 Precision Lighting Inc.

Stone Park


Tri-City Heat Treat Company

Rock Island


Triangle Package Machinery Company



Wagner Machine Company



Watershed Foods, LLC



Whitey's Ice Cream



"Manufacturing is evolving rapidly, and staying current can be costly. Over the past five years, there's been significant investment in new equipment. Automating processes has been a critical strategic move and seeking assistance has proved highly advantageous during this transition period," said Kurt Wagner, CEO of Wagner Machine in Champaign. "Automation has enabled the workforce to focus on higher-value tasks, enhancing efficiency, and quality improvements. This has led to continued job creation and an increase in machinist wages."

"The Made in Illinois Grant is great program to drive local investment," said Dan Foelske, VP Operations & Controller at Axis Designs in Aurora. "Axis Designs is currently on a steep growth trajectory. This award will help us add the automation and create the new jobs we need to support the ramp-up in demand."

Grant recipients are utilizing the funds in a variety of uses to directly advance innovation and growth in their fields. This includes machinery acquisition, including state-of-the-art 3D printers, specialized automation equipment, and collaborative robotics. Late-stage product testing and scaling efforts is also a key focus for grantees, which is essential for successful product deployment.

In addition to the grant opportunity, the Made in Illinois Grant Program also offers manufacturers access to expertise and resources, guiding them toward a future defined by productivity and innovation. Through expertise and resources and through the grant program, manufacturers are set to benefit from:
  • Productivity Boost: Grant funds support production enhancements for sustained growth.
  • Innovation Focus: The program encourages manufacturers to integrate cutting-edge technologies for continuous improvement.
  • Cost-Effective Innovation: Backed by IMEC's expertise, manufacturers innovate while keeping costs in check.
  • Quality Improvement: Grant recipients invest in automation to elevate product quality.
  • Workforce Support: Automation and smart technologies equip manufacturers with an opportunity to up-skill their workforce.
  • Market Leadership: Manufacturers gain a leadership position by adopting cutting-edge technologies.
  • Machinery Acquisition: Emphasis on strategic acquisition for advanced machinery.
  • Flexibility and Resilience: Fosters adaptability through advanced technologies to lower operational risk and pivot to market shifts.

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