Southern Illinois is home to the nation's 8th oldest regional economic development district.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Friday celebrated the Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission's 50th anniversary during an event at SIU's Transportation Education Center.
EDA regional director Jeannette Tamayo says the TEC is a good example of the work the EDA and Greater Egypt do together to improve southern Illinois.
"This facility alone is addressing workforce training. It's helping national and international companies and it's helping make this a livable community where students who graduate want to stay, businesses want to locate."
One project about to get underway is the relocation of Airport Road at the Southern Illinois Airport. Operations and maintenance supervisor Patrick McDonald says one of the goals is to boost economic development opportunities on the airport grounds.
"Basically square up property on the airfield to make it more commercially attractive to development out here at the airport both on the commercial and aviation side."
McDonald says they hope to complete relocating Airport Road from east to west by the spring of 2018.
Other recent projects include an industrial park in Mt. Vernon and a Robotics and Automation Lab at Rend Lake College.
Greater Egypt serves Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, and Williamson counties.
President Donald Trump's budget plan doesn't include funding for the partnership between the EDA and Greater Egypt.