Business & Economy
Governor Quinn Announces New Financing to Help More Military Families Afford Homeownership PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Erin Wilson   
Monday, 12 November 2012 15:05

Illinois Jobs Now! Financing to Help Additional 500 Families Buy a Home through “Welcome Home Heroes” Program

WESTCHESTER – November 12, 2012. In honor of Veterans Day, Governor Pat Quinn announced the investment of an additional $5 million to the Welcome Home Heroes homebuyer financing package to make homeownership more affordable for more military families. This new Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding will allow an additional 500 military families to access a $10,000 forgivable grant toward the purchase of a new home, as well as a mortgage tax credit worth up to $20,000 over the life of the loan.

Standing outside the home of newlyweds Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Sereda, 34, and Sharon Sereda, 27, Governor Quinn emphasized his commitment to help Veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members transition to civilian life. Welcome Home Heroes enabled the couple to buy their first home – a three-bedroom ranch home in suburban Westchester.

“As we honor our Illinois heroes on Veterans Day, we are proud to invest in the Welcome Home Heroes program to help those who sacrifice so much buy an affordable home,” Governor Quinn said. “The Welcome Home Heroes program offers a secure financing package that protects those who have committed their lives to protecting us. This program helps military homeowners and improves local real estate markets across Illinois.”

Since Governor Quinn launched the financing package last December, Welcome Home Heroes has helped more than 550 military families achieve their dream of buying a home. Welcome Home Heroes originally was funded through $5 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds and $5 million from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The additional $5 million investment announced today will stimulate statewide economic activity:

·250 full-time jobs

·$8.4 million from real estate-related industries

·More than $6.7 million in economic activity for the state

·Additional $2.7 million in other statewide spending

Administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Welcome Home Heroes is open to all qualified Illinois veterans. Active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members may also participate, but must be first-time buyers. The Welcome Home Heroes homebuyer financing package includes a forgivable $10,000 grant for down payment and closing cost assistance, an affordable interest rate (3.25 percent as of today) for a secure 30-year fixed rate mortgage and a mortgage credit certificate worth up to approximately $20,000 for the life of the loan. Welcome Home Heroes recently won national recognition from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), which lauded the program’s role in empowering buyers such as Sereda.

Previously stationed at a California fort in the Mojave Desert as a combat engineer, Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Sereda now works for the Army Reserves in suburban Arlington Heights as a career counselor after moving back to the area. A suburban native, Sereda returned to the Chicago area after the death of his father to help care for his family. He thought about renting before learning of the statewide program that could help him.

“We appreciate Governor Quinn tailoring a program to meet the needs of families like us. With the $10,000 down payment assistance, we had extra money to plan our wedding and begin our new life together,” Sereda said. “The housing interest rates are so low, and Welcome Home Heroes was just too good to pass up.”

Veterans returning home from their service encounter a special set of obstacles to homeownership. Many are underemployed, and while they qualify for job training programs – conventional home loans feature heightened down payment and credit requirements. Nearly one million veteran homeowners face severe housing cost burdens, paying half or more of their income for housing, according to a 2010 American Community Survey analysis.

“Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, Welcome Home Heroes will continue to eliminate barriers to homeownership that many Illinois military families face by providing a financial package that is one of the most substantial in the nation,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “As the state’s housing finance agency, IHDA has enabled nearly 60,000 low- to moderate-income families buy a home securely and this investment means we can help even more families.”

Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, IHDA also is working to increase rental housing opportunities that provide veterans who are at risk of homelessness with access to supportive services and skills that will help them live independently. Of the 700 new units of affordable rental housing that IHDA recently approved, more than one-third of the total units will help veterans and people with disabilities find stability in communities.

“Governor Quinn is a great supporter of our service members,” said Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Celletti, the acting Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “He has instituted numerous programs to ensure our returning men and women in uniform have the resources they need to adapt to civilian life and to thrive in this great state.”

“I thank Governor Quinn for this new financial commitment to help our military families transition to civilian life and establish roots in our Illinois neighborhoods,” Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Borggren said.

Welcome Home Heroes program builds on IHDA’s existing affordable home loan program, SmartMove, also available through IHDA’s lenders. The financing package applies to 1-2 unit residential properties located in the State of Illinois that are purchased as a primary residence.

Buyers must qualify based on income and purchase price limits, and can apply for the loan package through an IHDA lender. A list of participating lenders throughout the state is available at For more information about programs for Illinois veterans and servicemembers, visit


About IHDA

The Illinois Housing Development Authority ( is an independent, self-supporting bonding authority that finances the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout Illinois. Since 1967, IHDA has allocated more than $11.1 billion to finance more than 221,000 affordable housing units for the residents of Illinois.


Lt. Governor Simon: Market Asian Carp to Consumers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:38

CHAMPAIGN – As Asian carp continue to pose a threat to Illinois waterways, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will convene the Wabash and Ohio Rivers Coordinating Council on Wednesday to discuss new ideas to control the invasive species. Leading the discussion will be James Garvey, director of the Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center at SIU Carbondale.

Simon, who chairs the state’s river coordinating councils, has worked with state agencies, researchers and private organizations to identify possible solutions to controlling the Asian carp population. Garvey’s preliminary research shows that Asian carp are marketable and can be harvested and sold for consumption here and abroad. This alternative would not only protect the fish within the river, but it would also create new jobs in Illinois.

“Asian carp are an invasive species threatening the natural state of Illinois’ waterways,” Simon said. “We can use this invasion as an opportunity, though, to research productive uses of the fish, and create jobs to eradicate it from our ecosystem.”

DATE: Wednesday, Nov. 7

TIME: 1:15 p.m.

PLACE: Champaign Public Library, Robeson Pavilion Rooms A&B, 200 W. Green St., Champaign

NOTE: Simon will hold a brief media availability at 1:15 p.m.; the River Council meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Quad City International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Present a FREE Seminar & Business Meeting on Monday, November 12, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kat Riley   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 10:44

The Quad City International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) will hold a FREE Seminar on Monday, November 12, 2012 at MRA, 3800 Avenue of the Cities, Suite 100 in Moline, IL.   The speaker will be David Drewelow, Head Coach, ActionCOACH Heartland.  David will be presenting “Five Keys for Professional Development”, based on John Maxwell's Book "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth".   Following the presentation, a Chapter meeting will be held.


Networking/Gathering begins at 5:30 PM, Dinner at 6:00 PM (reservation is required – meal cost is $8.00) and the speaker will begin at 6:30 PM.

To register, please contact Stephanie Noyd by 11:00 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012 at  (309) 764-8354 or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

IAAP is the world’s largest international association of administrative professionals. IAAP offers professional development, leadership training and networking opportunities for administrative professionals. IAAP is a non-profit, volunteer association.

Joining a professional organization demonstrates your commitment to your career. Work is most rewarding when we do it with enthusiasm and give it our best. Through IAAP you will gain knowledge, confidence and contacts that will help you advance professionally. IAAP works to build a professional image of administrative professionals in the workplace.

IAAP membership is open to all persons working in the administrative field, along with business educators, students, firms and educational institutions. There is no test of sponsorship required. Through IAAP qualified professionals can test for the certification rating, the benchmark of excellence in the administrative profession.

For more information please contact Kathy Riley at (309) 786-2705

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Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds Launch PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Monday, 05 November 2012 16:31

New statewide online resource for start ups and small businesses

(DES MOINES) – Entrepreneurs in Iowa now have a new online business resource to help them develop their products and ideas.  Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced today that they have contracted with U.S. SourceLink to help small business owners and entrepreneurs find resources via an online “one-stop shop” accessible around the clock and statewide. The website goes live effective today, November 5, 2012.

As part of the Authority’s continuing work with existing small businesses in the state and efforts to support the creation of more small businesses, the IEDA has been working with an ad hoc advisory committee to determine ways to further improve the environment for entrepreneurship.  One of the committee’s recommendations was to improve access to the many resources that are available to small business owners but are sometimes difficult to locate. is a web-based platform which will enable entrepreneurs and small businesses to be connected efficiently and effectively to technical and financial resources meeting their specific business needs. Through IASourceLink, Iowans seeking to start or expand a business will have a simple, streamlined entry to the outstanding small business and entrepreneurial organizations and assets that best meet their needs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy, accounting for 51 percent of private sector jobs,” said Governor Terry Branstad.  “We must create an environment where small businesses can flourish and connect the dots for those who want to start or expand their small business with the vast amount of resources that are already available in our state.  IASourceLink will do just that.”

In addition, the IEDA is collaborating with the University of Northern Iowa’s MyEntre.Net to provide timely, expert webinars, blogs and resource pages dedicated to Iowa small businesses via the website.   A customer desiring additional support may request assistance through the web or a toll free number.

“ will enable Iowa’s small businesses to access assistance information online or be directed to community partners and programs that help entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow their businesses,” said Lt Governor Kim Reynolds.

U.S.SourceLink is America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs. Its mission is to match

aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to the resources they need to grow by uniting existing business development programs into collaborative networks, and providing a highly reliable and visible source of business startup and growth information. There are currently 20 networks in place across the country.  U.S.SourceLink founders include the Kauffman Foundation, University of Missouri-Kansas City and the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Social Media Changes Driving Some Marketers Buggy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 02 November 2012 13:38

Social media is the most rapidly changing aspect of communications to begin with. Throw in an IPO (Facebook) and a major overhaul (LinkedIn) and modifications are barreling ahead so fast, even the techies seem unable to keep up.

“I’m a big believer in social media marketing for my business, so when I started having a lot of problems with LinkedIn, I didn’t wait – I sent an email to the Help Center,” says Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations, (, in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

“Last week, a ‘customer experience advocate’ finally emailed me back. He wrote, ‘I apologize taking so long to get back to you. We are currently experiencing an unusual high volume of requests due to our recent site enhancements.’ "

Many of the changes were implemented Oct. 16 and, as EMSI’s social media specialist, Jeni Hinojosa, observes, “It’s a great overhaul.”

But, she adds, “It must not have gotten much of a test run because the site has been very buggy.”

Over on Facebook, Friedman says she’s noticed advertisements popping up everywhere - even in her news feed.

“Now that the site has gone public, it's trying all sorts of new tricks to make money for shareholders, but it’s creating some problems,” she says.

One of her employees got this error message while trying to post to her wall: "The server found your request confusing and isn't sure how to proceed."

Hinojosa offered a brief overview of some of the changes and a solution people are turning to – at least in the case of Facebook.

LinkedIn: “One of the new features I like is that you can check for comments and other activity without getting notices sent to your email,” Hinojosa says. “Just go to your LinkedIn page and you'll see the notifications at the top, just like on Facebook.”

“The bugs I and others have encountered include being unable to check private messages; sporadically unable to get into groups; and being notified that invitations to join others' networks are waiting - but when I look, I don't see any,” Hinojosa says. “When we report the problems, the responses we’re getting sound like they’re working on them but they’re overwhelmed.

“Hopefully, they'll get them worked out soon. The good news is, they're aware.”

Facebook: “Sadly, I've been down this road before - and it didn't lead to a good place,” Hinojosa says. “Remember MySpace?”

Since its initial public offering in May, Facebook has been making a lot of changes designed to add revenue. The newest of these are a $7 fee for "promoted posts" from your personal page and a $5 to $15 fee to promote posts from your fan page. They’re not yet available to all 166 million U.S. Facebook users, according to tech bloggers, because it's still experimental.

Now, those with the option will see a “promote” button next to the "like," "comment" and "share" buttons. Click "promote," put the appropriate fee on your charge card, and that post will go to the top of your followers’ news feeds a few times in the days ahead. (It will also wear the Scarlet S label of "sponsored post.") The promise is that more of your followers will see it.

“It doesn't make a lot of sense when applied to personal pages,” Hinojosa says. “How many people will pay to show off their vacation photos? But people using Facebook as a marketing tool may be motivated to pay for more reach.

“Soon, everyone will be scrolling through a bunch of ‘sponsored’ posts before they get to the ‘free’ ones. If you want someone to actually see your post, you’ll have to pay.”

That’s why, she says, people are jumping to ...

Google+: “If Facebook and Twitter had a baby, it would be Google+,” Hinojosa says.

This toddler network, which launched in June 2011, combines Facebook's capabilities for sharing news and photos and Twitter's searchability.

“It allows you to designate one or more "circles" for your friends,” Hinojosa says. “One co-worker might be ‘business’ and ‘close friends’ while another could be just ‘business.’ So everyone sees what's appropriate for them based on your relationship.”

“Like Twitter, Google+ uses hashtags to help sort information and allow people to search for posts on particular topics,” she says. “For instance, if you type #cutecats into the search box at the top of your page, you'll see everything with that hashtag - including comments that incorporate the label.

“What makes me happiest is, Google had its IPO way back in 2004,” Hinojosa says. “So we shouldn't have to worry about this company suddenly drumming up ways to make us pay for what we previously got for free.”

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST.

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