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Building stronger regions through innovation and collaboration to

Reinvigorate Local EconomiesSupport Local GovernmentsPromote Balanced CommunitiesInform Sound Decision MakingReskill the Workforce


CGS provides expertise that helps decision-makers implement efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches to social, economic, and information management issues.


CGS Recent Work

State of Ingenuity Initiative

CGS is a partner in the State of Ingenuity (SOI) project funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and administered by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The SOI is a network of organizations pursuing economic development and job creation in a six-county region that spans northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. In early 2014, CGS coordinated a series of five courses designed for mid-career executives from the public, non-governmental, and private sectors interested in developing their understanding of the basic concepts, tools, and strategies to foster regional economic development. These courses were videotaped and available for viewing at no cost. Case studies were prepared for each course by the instructor. Click here to access these materials.

A report on sustainable funding for early stage small businesses also was developed by CGS as part of the SOI project. Intended to help local development practitioners and public officials gain insight into new and innovative approaches to helping entrepreneurs finance business starts, this report may be accessed here.

Management's Perceptions of Annual Financial Reporting White Paper

CGS Research Associate Dr. Shannon Sohl and NIU Public Administration faculty member Dr. Craig Maher prepared a white paper for the International City/County Management Association on the current state of local government financial reporting.  Click here to view their findings on how GASB financial statements affect management, provide benefits to stakeholders, and offer professional support and outreach. 

Promoting Prosperity in Northwest Illinois Report

Five counties in northwest Illinois - Carroll, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside - engaged CGS to explore how local economic, community, and business leaders can better promote business starts as well as expansion, attraction, and retention in the five-county region. This locally driven project is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and coordinated by county-level community and economic development agencies.  Learn more about industry cluster analyses.

Executive Summary | Full Report (30.55MB)

DeKalb Housing Report

A project that inventoried the housing stock in this community's 23 neighborhoods, analyzed over and under supply, and compared DeKalb's housing to other Illinois university towns. This information will help the City make cost-effective and sustainable development decisions and serve as a baseline to assess change in DeKalb's housing over time.  Learn more about the process of conducting housing studies.

Executive SummaryFull Report (9.08MB)

Rural Health Care White Paper Series

CGS, in partnership with the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, has developed a series on issues facing critical access hospitals in Illinois.  Learn more about research on healthcare policy and practices. 

Issue 1:  
Enhancing Quality of Care in Rural Illinois 
April 2012

Issue 2:  
Collaborating for Effective Rural Health Care
January 2013

Issue 3:
Managing Healthy Communities in Rural Illinois
October 2013

CGS Events

Civic Leadership Academy

CGS announces the 2013 - 2014 Civic Leadership Academy workshop series. CGS is offering new leading edge training programs for elected and appointed leaders and senior managers in government and not-for-profit agencies in the state of Illinois.  Download the 2013 - 2014 brochure
Learn more about the Civic Leadership Academy

CGS Past Events

Midwest Leadership Institute

The Center for Governmental Studies is proud to announce the launch of the Midwest Leadership Institute March 31 - April 4. The goal of the Midwest Leadership Institute is to provide local government professionals a deeper understanding and mastery of core leadership concepts and experiences in order to increase their skills at managing people to achieve intended outcomes. Click here to learn more and register.

CGS and ILCMA Partnered for 6th Annual Illinois Financial Forecast Forum

The Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies Civic Leadership Academy and Illinois City/County Management Association hosted the sixth annual Illinois Financial Forecast Forum:Private Sector Views that will Impact the Public Sector on January 31, 2014.  Industry leaders presented on pertinent economic and financial issues affecting local governments in Illinois.  Click here to view presentations from the conference.

CGS Hosts Local Food Conference

CGS hosted a conference focused on Engaging Institutions in Developing Regional Food Systems on October 15 at the Loyola University of Chicago Ecology and Retreat Center.  Learn more about the conference here. 

CGS In the News

CGS Innovation Recognized

CGS researchers Shannon Sohl and Sherrie Taylor were recognized by NIU's Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships for their innovation in the development of novel technologies and services in their application to address societal problems, meet the needs of society, and expand human opportunities. Shannon was honored for her work in developing digital financial reporting technology that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government and non-profit financial reporting. Sherrie redesigned the Illinoisdata.com website into a data portal that uses a intuitive user interface to help people find information they need quickly, related it to other useful information, and produce quality maps and tables. Click here to read more

NIU receives Award for exemplary work in economic engagement

NIU was among an elite group of institutions to receive the Inaugural Economic Prosperity University Award from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) at the association's 126th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.  Read more about the award.  

Transforming Government Reporting

CGS is leading NIU's digital financial reporting initiative to increase the transparency with which governments report their financial information.  New reporting technology can increase the timeliness, comparability, and ease of producing and consuming fiscal data while reducing borrowing costs for states and local governments.  A recent article in The Bond Buyer, a top trade newspaper for the municipal bond industry, by CGS research associate Shannon Sohl and co-author Marc Joffe discusses the benefits of digital financial reporting to the investor community. 

Breaking into local government: A guide book for career changers

With a record number of professional local government managers retiring, there is a gap in the talent pool the fill these chief administrative officer positions. To help fill this gap, the International City/County Management Association's Local Government Task Force, chaired by CGS Assistant Director Dawn S. Peters, created a guide for those looking to "break into local government" as a mid-career move.  Read this publication here