Building Illinois' Bioeconomy Consortium

The Challenge

Connect Illinois residents with high-wage jobs

The Building Illinois’ Bioeconomy (BIB) consortium provides educational opportunities and hands-on training aimed at preparing Illinois residents for in demand, high-wage jobs in the bioeconomy. Through this TAACCCT funded program, a targeted, multifaceted campaign was needed to connect potential students in the five Southern Illinois markets with the wide array of resources available through BIB. The Hawthorne team was tasked with the challenge of raising awareness and drawing enrollment in flexible programs at five college institutions part of BIB: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Lewis & Clark Community College, Southeastern Illinois College, Lincoln Land Community College and Carl Sandburg College.

The Solution

Spread understanding of Illinois bioeconomy and BIBs resources through a multifaceted campaign

The Hawthorne team, in collaboration with BIB and its consortium partners, focused on developing the necessary tools and identifying key outlets needed to raise awareness of BIB and its various resources for connecting prospective students to training and jobs. Unified branding and messaging was applied to marketing materials, website and social media to clearly explain opportunities and broaden its footprint. This includes messaging developed for informational materials for BIB and its five academic institutions. Case manager training sessions were organized to arm program ambassadors with information and material to provide potential students. In addition, the team executed a regional summit at the Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (SIUE) with the goal of educating and energizing stakeholders and influencers in order to raise the profile of the consortium.

The Results

Engaged key audiences with BIB resources

Hawthorne’s ongoing efforts continue to target BIB audiences through various pathways. Outreach has connected Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) eligible workers, unemployed persons, underserved minorities, and rural workers to the resources they need to play a larger role in the growth of the Illinois bioeconomy. The regional summit at SIUE gathered more than 80 leaders in the bioeconomy, including new advocates in academic programs and industry groups, to work together to spread knowledge of available resources and opportunities. Hawthorne’s work with BIB has led to media placements in key local outlets such as Edwardsville IntelligencerAlton Telegraph and KDNL-TV. Currently, our partnership continues to raise awareness on the Illinois bioeconomy and BIB consortium programs and initiatives.