Decatur Named A Best City for Electricians

A recent study by AdvisorSmith listed Decatur first as a best city in the country for electricians. The study compared electrician salaries, cost of living and job availability. It referenced that Decatur “retains its industrial heritage, as it serves as the home for large agricultural plants operated by Archer Daniels Midland and Tate & Lyle. It also hosts manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar. These plants provide many opportunities for electricians in Decatur, as the city has more than twice as many electrician jobs than the typical American city relative to the population.”

Read more about the ranking here.

Free QuickBooks Accounting Software Workshop

Gain a better understanding of QuickBooks software for your own business or your employer’s company with this free class presented by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which is geared towards those who are new to or just starting out with QuickBooks.*

Date: Wednesday, April 17
Time: 9 AM – 1 PM
Location: EDC of Decatur – Macon County Office
(101 South Main Street, Suite 600 in Decatur)

The session will focus on:

  • Setting Up a Company File
  • Getting Around in QuickBooks
  • Chart of Accounts
  • Working with Items
  • Working with Customers
  • Selling
  • Receiving Payments
  • Working with Vendors
  • Entering Bills
  • Paying Bills
  • Banking
  • Analyzing Financial Statements
  • Setting Up Sales Tax

RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot (limited space available). Register here, email, or call 217-378-8535. Lunch and all materials will be provided.

*This is designed for users who have less than six months of experience working with QuickBooks Desktop Version. Accounting basics will also be covered to serve as a foundation to operate the software correctly.

Illinois workNet Center Offers Job Readiness Skills Workshops

The Illinois workNet Center will be offering several useful workshops to assist the job seeker in bettering their chances of getting an interview and job offer.  In March, April and May, the Illinois workNet Center, located at 757 W. Pershing Road, will offer the following workshops:

The Interview Skills Workshop will focus on learning helpful tips on how to better prepare for an interview, how to answer some of the difficult interview questions, and how to make a positive impression at the interview.  This workshop is offered on March 4, April 3, and May 6, 2019 from 10:00 am-11:00 am.

The Resume Building Workshop will focus on understanding the purpose and features of a resume and learning how to avoid common writing mistakes and errors. This workshop is offered on March 14, April 11, and May 9, 2019 from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.

The Job Search Techniques Workshop will show the job seeker how to prepare and organize their job search, get a better understanding of job networking, and the benefits of networking and exploring online job sites.  This workshop is offered on March 18, April 15, and May 13, 2019 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am.

The Basic Computer Workshop will allow job seekers to brush up on their computer skills.  It will focus on a basic introduction to computers, email, Microsoft Windows, documents, and Internet browsers.  This workshop is offered on April 2, April 16, and April 30 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm,

The Basic Math Workshop will concentrate on how to solve basic math problems that that include fractions.  This workshop is geared to help the job seeker to be better prepared to handle the employer based math assessment tests that are a step in the employers’ employment process.  This workshop is offered on April 8, April 22, May 6, and May 20 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

Turn to the Decatur Illinois workNet Center for assistance to connect to local partners, employers, explore job opportunities, and access to training programs for career pathways to employment.

For further information contact:
Jennie Wernecke, One Stop Coordinator
Workforce Investment Solutions

Illinois workNet Center Hosts Hiring Events

The Illinois workNet Center, partnering with Workforce Investment Solutions, is hosting a Hiring Event for Ring Container on Thursday, March 14, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. Potential applicants can come to Workforce Investment Solutions, located at 757 W. Pershing Road, Decatur, Illinois, and interview directly with Ring Container hiring staff.  Ring Container is looking to fill Warehouse and Machine Operator positions.  Anyone interested should bring a copy of their resume and be dressed appropriately for an interview.

Another hiring event between the Illinois workNet Center and Workforce Investment Solutions is with the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to fill many positions for their upcoming 2020 census and anyone interested should come to Workforce Investment Solutions, located at 757 W. Pershing Road, Decatur, Illinois to speak with the U.S.Census Bureau Representative.  All potential applicants should come with a resume and dress appropriately for an interview.

Turn to the Decatur Illinois workNet Center for assistance to connect to local partners, employers, explore job opportunities, and access to training programs for career pathways to employment.

For further information contact:
Jennie Wernecke, One Stop Coordinator
Workforce Investment Solutions

SBA Physical Damage Application for Illinois Residents Affected by December Storms

Release Date: Jan. 14, 2019
Release Number: 19-252, IL 15847/15848       
Contact: Michael Lampton  (404) 331-0333

SBA Physical Damage Application Deadline is Feb. 19 for Illinois Residents Affected by the December Severe Storms and Tornadoes

ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) encourages businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to apply for a disaster loan before the Feb. 19 deadline.  Anyone in the declared counties in Illinois with damages caused by the severe storms and tornadoes on Dec. 1, 2018 should apply for the SBA disaster loan assistance.

The declaration covers Christian, Macon, Montgomery, Sangamon and Shelby in Illinois.

Businesses and nonprofits can apply up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Loans for working capital, known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, are available even if the business did not suffer any physical damage. Homeowners can apply up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate.  Homeowners and renters can apply up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property including automobiles.

Interest rates are as low as 3.74 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.00 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years.  The SBA determines loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s circumstances.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at

Additional details on the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to  Loan applications can also be downloaded at  Completed applications should be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is Feb. 19, 2019. The deadline for economic injury applications is Sept. 23, 2019.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

SBDC Workshop: International E-commerce

Join the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on January 23rd for a FREE workshop on International E-commerce.

Date: Wednesday, January 23
Time: 9 – 11 AM
Location: EDC of Decatur – Macon County Office
(101 South Main Street, Suite 600 in Decatur)

This workshop is geared towards companies who export, and will cover the following topics:

  • e-commerce challenges and opportunities to exporters
  • selling your products on your website and/or on online international marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba
  • marketing strategies to improve your online sales
  • logistics, customs compliance, and looking up duties and taxes in foreign countries
  • e-commerce payment methods and best practices

RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot (limited space available). Register here, email, or call 217-378-8535. All materials will be provided.

Decatur Celebrates Manufacturing Day Local High School Students Participate in Decatur's Third Annual Manufacturing Day Event

Approximately 225 students from Decatur’s MacArthur and Eisenhower High Schools and Heartland Tech Academy participated in Decatur’s Third Annual Manufacturing Days held on October 18th and 19th at Richland Community College in Decatur, IL.

The two-day event encouraged students to get a closer look at available manufacturing career paths through facility tours and talking with local manufacturers.

“Manufacturing Day provides local students the opportunity to see firsthand the available careers that manufacturing has to offer in Macon County,” said Andrew Taylor, Manufacturing Day event coordinator and economic development officer at Decatur EDC. “It’s great to see students interacting with real potential employers.”

Studies show that the U.S. will need to fill 3.5 million advanced manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years. Events like Decatur’s Manufacturing Days are coordinated in hopes that the next generation of manufacturers will become inspired for careers in manufacturing.

Manufacturing Days would not be a success without the help from the participating manufacturers (see list below), Richland Community College, DPS61, and the Heartland Tech Academy.

Air Caster LLC
Barton Manufacturing
Decatur Industrial Electric
DPS 61
Heartland Tech Academy
Huston Patterson
Mason Manufacturing
Mervis Industries
Midstate Electrical Training Center
Mueller Company
Richland Community College
Ring Container Technologies
SMART Local 218
Stripmasters Services, Inc.
T/CCI Manufacturing
UA Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Local 137
Union Iron
Voestalpine Nortrak
Workforce Investment Solutions

Thanks to our local media for covering the event:
Byers & Co.
Herald & Review

Illinois Small Business Development Center Open Office Hours

Do you have questions about start-up processes, marketing plans, market and customer research, or other small business topics? Join Director Don Elmore of the Illinois Small Business Development Center as he hosts open office hours at the Decatur EDC office:

  • Tuesday, October 23rd: 9 am to 12 pm
  • Thursday, November 15th: 1 pm to 4 pm
  • Tuesday, December 18th: 9 am to 12 pm

To schedule an appointment with Don, please email with your preferred date and time during these sessions.

EPL Bio Analytical Services, LLC joins the Tentamus global network of laboratories


The Tentamus Group today welcomes its newest family member: EPL Bio Analytical Services, (EPL BAS). Specialized in the group’s key competencies of agricultural science, the acquisition of EPL BAS further expands Tentamus’ global reach. Abgar Barseyten, CEO of Tentamus Group, says, “Our labs and offices throughout the world strive to deliver high-quality, regulatory, R&D and advisory services. Together with Symbiotic Research in New Jersey (USA), Renolab (Italy) we are truly a global market leader in agricultural science services with more than 200 highly-trained dedicated specialists.”

Robin King, CEO of EPL BAS, added, “Our long-term cooperation and working relationship binds Tentamus and EPL BAS together. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the Tentamus Group which will give us the chance to further develop and strengthen our ability to provide excellent testing services yet preserve a personalized service to our customers. Together with the existing expertise and knowledge within the Tentamus global network of laboratories, we are sure to meet all of the requirements of our customers and furthermore offer our staff a range of exciting career opportunities.”

“Decatur’s global presence grows with the addition of Tentamus to the community.  Their industry experience, resources and connections will bring great value to the Decatur economy,” said Ryan McCrady, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County.  Home to a $9 billion crop business, bio-seed products market, and a leading producer of corn and soy, Illinois has become a juggernaut in the bioscience and technology industry.  With a rich heritage of agriculture and food sciences, Decatur and Macon County is a major contributor to this industry in the state.

About EPL Bio Analytical Services

Since the company’s inception in 1987, EPL BAS has focused exclusively on agricultural science, building a reputation in the industry for quality, compliance, and customer service. At the core of the company is an outstanding team of more than 30 experienced scientific professionals with a passion for excellence. They provide the exemplary contract analytical laboratory services that local, national, and international clientele have come to expect from this leading laboratory facility.  For further information please visit

About Tentamus Group

Tentamus Group was founded a decade ago. Tentamus is a global product and safety group with a core presence in Europe, UK, Israel, Greater China, Japan and the USA. Accredited and licensed Tentamus Group tests, audits and consults on all products involving the human body. Tentamus Group is represented in over 50 locations worldwide. More than 2,500 highly-trained staff members work in over 1.5 million square feet of laboratory and office spaces.
For further information please visit


Robin King
CEO – EPL Bio Analytical Services
Phone: 1-866-963-2143

Dr. Yvonne Pfeifer
Tentamus Group GmbH
Phone: +49 162/230 26 39



Introduction to HTS/Schedule B Classification Workshop

Classification is one of the hardest parts of importing and exporting, and you may have some questions like: How do you know that the classifications used by your customs broker or freight forwarder are up-to-date? Do you know if you have any binding rulings with CBP? Do you know if there are similar products with binding rulings that you can review?

All of these questions and more will be answered during an upcoming workshop with the Illinois Small Business Development Center and presented by Mike Allocca of Allocca Enterprises.

Topics covered:

  • Understand how, why and when the Harmonized Tariff Schedule was created
  • Learn what the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) are and how they are used on every classification
  • Review the roles of a customs broker, freight forwarder and importer/exporter of record
  • Learn the difference between a Schedule B and HTS number
  • Understand how to use the CROSS Customs Rulings Online Search System
  • Review Chapter 98 for proper U.S. Goods returned/repairs/warranty classifications
  • Go through the abbreviations for commodity classification and units of quantity/measure
  • Determine the difference between duty, user fees, and antidumping/countervailing duties
  • Review instructor & CBP based specific classification examples

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Location: IHotel and Conference Center (Humanities Room) – 1900 S. First Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Cost: $150/person if you register before August 31st; $195/person starting September 1st.
RSVP: Registration and payment required to secure a spot – limited space available. Registration fee includes conference fees, materials, breakfast and lunch. RSVP online here or to Carly at

This workshop is eligible for 6 NASBITE-CGBP Re-Certification CEUs.