As the 2024 Spring Legislative Session in Springfield nears its May 24 adjournment date, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce continues to urge lawmakers to prioritize investments and proposals intended to solidify the Chicagoland region as a global hub for quantum technologies and development.

Earlier in Session, the Chamber introduced HB 4766 and SB 3474 to double the amount of Illinois Research and Development for eligible quantum investments. The bill is intended to spur increased private sector investments in quantum technologies as we continue to explore applications and greater commercialization of the technology. In addition to the Chamber’s quantum initiative, the Chamber is urging lawmakers to support a $500 million capital appropriation proposed by Governor Pritzker that will support the development of a quantum campus. The Chamber is also supporting other incentives proposed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to support the State’s efforts to lure a campus. Last week, the Chamber testified alongside the Chicago Quantum Exchange in the Senate Revenue Committee on the topic of quantum technologies.

As the Chamber successfully makes targeted bets on high growth industries of the future, from data centers and tech to life sciences and electric vehicles, the Chicagoland region and Illinois are well-positioned to be global leaders in the field of quantum technologies.

Led by the Chicago Quantum Exchange, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi Lab, and public-private partnerships between the University of Illinois, University of Chicago, and various corporate partners, Illinois can become a global leader in what will be one of the most consequential technological developments of the 21st century.

In October 2023, the Biden Administration, through the U.S. Department of Commerce, named Chicago as an official U.S. Regional and Innovation Technology Hub for quantum technologies — allowing for potential future federal funding opportunities. The Bloch Tech hub, the official name of the regional initiative put together to secure the federal funds and convene the relevant stakeholders, announced just a few weeks ago that it has moved to Phase II in the US EDA tech hub selection process. The Bloch Tech Hub proposal is expected create over 30,000 new jobs, attract and create 200 new quantum companies in Illinois, and generate $60 billion in economic impact. Earlier in May, Crain’s Chicago reported that the Chicagoland region is being considered for a $20 billion quantum computing campus.

Of the 31 tech hubs designated by the Biden administration, the Chicagoland region and Denver, Colorado were identified as the two quantum specific hubs that are eligible to receive millions in federal funding in coming years. Notably, Colorado Governor Jared Polis introduced his own quantum tax incentive package, which is now working its way through the Colorado legislature.

Lastly, one of the most exciting aspects of this progress is the opportunity to develop a quantum workforce. Nearly half of quantum jobs do not require an advanced degree, and the share of technician positions is projected to double in five years as the industry’s need for skilled trades like welding, pipe fitting, and machining grows. Additionally, nearly half of the interns in last year’s Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems (SQMS) summer internship program were female or individuals from historically underserved communities. Nearly half of the participants in Fermilab’s The Quantum Garage average quantum job pays over $125,000 per year.

From our existing quantum ecosystem and workforce, to having the first start-up accelerator in Duality at the University of Chicago, to the proposals currently pending in Springfield, the Chicagoland region is well-positioned to win in this space. The Chicagoland Chamber is hopeful that legislative action will be taken in the coming weeks to further support this incredible opportunity before us.

Throughout Session, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has led efforts to support a number of pro-economic and workforce development initiatives, in addition to successfully opposing a number of anti-business proposals. As the legislative session comes to a close, in addition to advocating for these quantum proposals, end-of-Session priorities include securing further reforms to the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, establishing a carbon capture framework to support and build upon our clean energy transition, and stopping a number of proposed tax increases and burdensome regulations on employers.