Cook County, IL [June 17, 22]  – Cook County has announced a significant investment of $925,000 in federal COVID-19 pandemic stimulus funds to support and enhance the metals, machinery, and equipment manufacturing industries in the south suburban areas. This initiative is a strategic step towards revitalizing a critical sector of the local economy, heavily impacted by the pandemic.

This funding, sourced from the American Rescue Plan Act, marks the launch of the Metals Hub, a collaborative project led by Cook County and the Southland Development Authority. The Metals Hub aims to create a resilient network among companies within these industries, fostering growth and stability in the wake of COVID-19 disruptions.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle emphasized the importance of this initiative at a recent news conference. “The pandemic has significantly disrupted the manufacturing industry. Through the Metals Hub, we aim to assist firms in identifying new suppliers and building a stronger, more resilient supply chain,” Preckwinkle stated.

The investment will focus on various key areas, including market research, new business lead identification, and management support to establish the hub. The initiative was formally announced at Machining Systems Corp., a Crestwood company specializing in metals machining and fabrication.

Bo Kemp, the Chief Executive Officer of SDA highlighted the early successes of the Metals Hub. “The Southland region has incredible potential in metals, machinery, and equipment. The Metals Hub has already identified several promising opportunities with original equipment manufacturers, leading to tangible benefits for our members,” Kemp noted. 

This effort is an extension of Cook County’s South Suburban Economic Growth Initiative, launched in spring 2017. The initiative identified the metals, machinery, and equipment manufacturing sector as a key growth opportunity for the area. The initiative aims to tackle social and economic challenges in the region and align the south suburbs with the broader regional economic trajectory. 

The investment in the Metals Hub reflects Cook County’s commitment to supporting industries that are critical to the regional economy’s health, particularly in the face of current economic challenges. It aims to reverse the trend of declining employment in these industries and foster sustainable growth. 

About Southland Development Authority

The Southland Development Authority is a nonprofit business organization launched in 2019 by business, civic, and political leaders from around the Southland who recognize the potential of the region’s people, businesses, and real estate. Our mission is to bring the resources and capacity needed to achieve transformative, inclusive economic growth for the south suburbs with a focus on investments in the Southland’s communities, industry, housing, and workforce.

We work steadfastly to connect Southland business owners, investors, and individuals with key resources to operate and thrive in the region, from equipping mid-size and small businesses in our Business Growth services Program with customized advice and consulting services, to helping local residents access the tools needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With a deep institutional knowledge of the Southland’s people, markets, and history and our multifaceted, experienced team, the Southland Development Authority is a powerful partner for any individual, business, or investor.

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