September 2018 — Innovate Springfield Joins University of Illinois Springfield and Becomes First Hub of Illinois Innovation Network
Innovate Springfield, the intermediary organization for the Sangamon County Continuum of Learning is now a unit of the University of Illinois Springfield and has been named as the first hub of the statewide Illinois Innovation Network.With the transition to a university-led incubator, Innovate Springfield will gain from and contribute to the collective knowledge of all of the University of Illinois campuses in ways that will advance their work incubating new businesses to grow the economy today and high-impact social innovations that build the workforce needed for tomorrow. This will continue to include the work of the Sangamon County Continuum of Learning, a cross-sector collaboration dedicated to increasing educational attainment of less-advantaged youth in Sangamon County from cradle to career through evidence-based programming.
LEAD INTERMEDIARY ORGANIZATION
The Sangamon County Continuum of Learning was founded in 2005, and arose from local leaders’ attempts to answer the following question: what should, and could Sangamon County be doing to assure that its children, teenagers, and young adults are progressing successfully through each stage of their development and are poised to contribute to the region’s economy? In 2015, through the efforts of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, the Continuum of Learning released the Sangamon Success report, a set of 25 recommendations for improving educational outcomes for youth who are less-advantaged in Sangamon County through evidence-based programs. These recommendations were created in collaboration with local non-profits, service providers, medical institutions, and education institutions. With this shift toward using research evidence to inform the Continuum of Learning’s decision-making, in 2016 the Sangamon Success report became the first road map for Innovate Springfield’s Social Innovation Program. Since then, Innovate Springfield has served as the intermediary organization for the Sangamon Success Initiative, working with local non-profits and service providers to increase their understanding of evidence-based service to the community.
PRIORITIZED STEM INDUSTRY CLUSTERS
· Health Sciences
· Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, and Trades
· Information Technology
· Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
KEY GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR
· Conduct interviews and community-based research with various stakeholders in career and technical education (CTE) in the Sangamon County area
· Create a Community CTE Resources Summary: Innovate Springfield will articulate the commonly-identified areas for collaboration, areas for improvement, barriers to establishing effective CTE programs, and CTE programming gaps
· Conduct a comparison to empirical research: Innovate Springfield will work with its partners at the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership to compare Sangamon County’s current CTE initiatives, desired initiatives, and programming gaps with empirical research about CTE programs
· Convene stakeholders for discussion of programs and funding/evaluation opportunities: Innovate Springfield and the Continuum of Learning partners will organize a convening to present the resources summary, share information about the evidence-based initiatives, and determine a community-wide strategy for connecting existing initiatives with evidence-based practice and tools for rigorous evaluation and determining whether new programs need to be introduced to fill gaps in services
· Pursue relevant funding opportunities and implement community strategy