Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
Having grown up just 45 minutes from Peoria, Grace is no stranger to the issues facing Central Illinois. After graduating from Saint Mary’s College in 2021, Grace knew she wanted to work in a job where she could help others, saying, “I was really motivated to find a career that specifically entailed some aspect of service.”
Grace recently returned home to serve as an American Connection Corps fellow with the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC), a role she calls “a perfect fit.” There, she’s tackling one of the greatest challenges facing her local community: internet access.
In Peoria, Grace collaborates with GPEDC staff on various aid program offerings to determine feasibility and eligibility for said programs. She also provides digital navigation and technical literacy support to the community in tandem with local partner organizations. She enjoys hearing people’s stories and understanding their experiences, saying that “one of the greatest things a leader can have is the ability to first listen and understand.”
Additionally, to ensure Peorians can find affordable connections and devices, Grace will perform outreach to local educational institutions to help them take advantage of the Emergency Connectivity Fund. She also hopes to help expand the Illinois Office of Broadband’s “PCs for People” program to Peoria. She’s motivated by her belief in service and giving back to the community that raised her, stating “Not only do I get to serve those around me and try to help make our community stronger, but I also get to serve those who have helped build me into the person I am today.”