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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MAJOR OPPORTUNITY RETURNS SUPPORT TO HELP SARA LEE LOCATE UP TO 400 NEW JOBS AT ITS NEW CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IN DOWNERS GROVE

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced significant Opportunity Returns support to Sara Lee Corporation to help the company add up to 400 new jobs to its new corporate headquarters in Downers Grove.  The new location will serve as home to not only Sara Lee’s corporate staff, but also to employees of the North American businesses. 
    
“We’re thrilled that Sara Lee has decided to locate its new corporate headquarters that will bring up to 400 new jobs to Northeast Illinois.  By being pro-active and ensuring that businesses have all the tools they need to compete and thrive, we’re creating a very attractive business climate that is continuing to attract and to keep globally successful companies like Sara Lee in Illinois.  The string of successes we’ve had in recent months has given our economy a major boost, but we’ll never stop investing in companies like Sara Lee that invest in Illinois,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
 
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering the investment package, which includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years based on job creation numbers; a Large Business Development Program (LBDP) grant; and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce.
 
“Gov. Blagojevich and I understand that as the demands of businesses continue to change and evolve, we need to continue being pro-active to ensure we are providing them with all the tools needed to increase their efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.  Sara Lee’s decision to locate its headquarters in Downers Grove is another indication that we’re getting the job done,” State Representative Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn) said.
 
“There are three resources essential to the success of any business: access to markets, access to capital and access to a world-class workforce.  Downers Grove’s strategic location provides ideal access to important markets, but Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns strategy is proving to be enormously successful because it is making critical investments to ensure that access to capital and a high-caliber workforce are also abundant.  Sara Lee’s decision to bring hundreds of new jobs to Illinois is another welcome sign that this strategy is one that is working for our economy,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
                                                                                                                 
Sara Lee Corporation (www.saralee.com) is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, brand-name products for consumers throughout the world.  The company has operations in 58 countries and markets products in nearly 200 nations. 
 
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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