The Alliance for Industry and Manufacturing (AIM), is an Illinois regional employer-led economic development organization. Working directly with 300-400 companies annually AIM develops and implements business solutions to their issues and challenges. Typical clients are family-owned small business employing between 50 – 100 employees, ranging from start-ups to manufacturing companies many making component parts, with average sales of $10 – 15 million/year. Through a proprietary business assessment process, AIM offers technical business services on everything from access to financing to grants, to government procurement and certifications, to international trade and NAFTA assistance. The organization acts as a translator and navigator for government and private resources. Other services include business retention, expansion and relocation incentives. AIM was also the founding member of the National Manufacturing Energy Cooperative, an aggregate energy program. Companies realize a 10-15% or higher reduction in energy costs by going directly to market. In 2011, AIM services expanded to respond to the largest industry challenge, working with companies on the “Skill Gap” problem. At the request of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), AIM serves as a regional business intermediary to educate and connect federal workforce programs to manufacturers and small businesses. Using federal On-the-job training (OJT) and Incumbent Worker dollars companies can realize a 50% wage reimbursement for up to 6 months or up to 90% training reimbursement for current employees. This employer-driven model has resulted in the placement of over 250 new employees – more than any other organization in Illinois. AIM is a 501c(3).