- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois says it’s receiving a $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to help local communities hit hard by cuts in defense spending.

Joey Mak is the university’s director of innovation and economic development. He discussed the grant on Wednesday during a meeting of the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee. The grant is from the federal agency’s Office of Economic Adjustment.

Other states have received similar grants.

Documents circulated during the meeting say five regions will be initially targeted. They are the Quad Cities, Rockford, Peoria, Metro East and Chicago. The idea is to collect data about Illinois’ defense sector and help communities by putting the data to work. Among other things, the money will be used to map defense assets.

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