Declaring Chicago needs to “chart an entirely new” development path if it is to succeed, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is giving a preview of her long-term plan to jolt new life into segments of the Chicago economy that have been lagging and to rebuild the city’s population.
In a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago tonight, the mayor identifies three industry clusters in which the city already is doing well, as well as four others that have strong growth potential. All will receive special planning assistance and financial and other help, though many details are yet to come. You can read the text of the speech below.
What’s interesting is that the seven clusters include a mix of high-education sectors in which advanced degrees almost always are needed and other businesses that are open to those who may lack a college education but are otherwise qualified. All were designed to be resilient in the face of a fast-changing economy, officials said.
In the first category—which the city is calling foundational clusters—are industrials and manufacturing, food processing and manufacturing, and professional and corporate services, areas in which the city traditionally has had a solid presence both downtown and in outlying neighborhoods.
Targeted as growth clusters are transportation and logistics; technology, both pure services such as cloud computing and applications like advanced manufacturing; tourism and hospitality, and health care and life sciences.