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August 11, 2000

Governor Opens the "New Century Of Progress" at Tech Town

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today opened Tech Town 2000 at the Illinois State Fair, a 21st century exhibit that highlights on-line services from Illinois government.

"Tech Town gives fairgoers a unique opportunity to see how government brings services and programs closer to citizens through the use of technology," Ryan said. "The State of Illinois must be customer oriented and not bureaucratic in how we deliver services over the Internet."

The "neighborhoods" within Tech Town 2000 highlight many government services made available through technology. "Business Boulevard," "Public Safety Place," "Public Service Place," and "Learning Lane" host dozens of examples of online government available to all state residents. Tech Town showcases how technology increases efficiency and improves service delivery.

The "grand entrance" of this year's Tech Town is a variation of a modern pavilion designed for another great exposition that drew worldwide attention to Illinois and Chicago 67 years ago.

In 1933, Chicago welcomed the world to "A Century of Progress Exposition." Organizers of that World's Fair wanted to enrich the knowledge and understanding that visitors had of the world around them, especially the progress that had occurred at a rapid pace in education, science, technology and industry.

Tech Town 2000 will serve the same purpose for Satte Fair visitors -- to enrich their knowledge and understanding of the changing world around them and to show how much progress Illinois has made in maximizing the use of technology to make government more efficient.

Inside the entrance, fairgoers can see the new state homepage or check the progress of Illinois FIRST projects by county. The "visitors center" provides web surfing and give-aways.

From the interactive video wall with divers at Shedd Acquarium and zookeepers at Brookfield Zoo to the high-tech Immersadesk with computer visualization, fairgoers will see the unique uses of technology in Illinois.

Within the "neighborhoods" of Tech Town, fairgoers will be able to explore the brand new job matching system called "Illinois Skills Match" to access available jobs and applicants across Illinois. Beginning today, licensed professionals in virtually all occupations and businesses regulated by the Department of Professional Regulation will have the ability to quickly renew their state licenses using a credit card online.

"Over two dozen state and federal agencies and institutions showcase the real applications of technology," said Ryan.

Highlights of Tech Town 2000 include:
  • Grand Entrance: VentureTECH grand entrance, modeled after the Chrysler building at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, with a showcase of Illinois FIRST online, "visitors center" and the new state homepage.

  • Public Service Place: Assistive technology for disabled; Lincoln Legal Papers on CD's and tourism.

  • Business Boulevard: The new "business portal" includes a walk-through of starting a business in Illinois, the brand new Department of Employment Security Skills Match system; Professional Regulation's new online renewals for professional licensees, Revenue's on-line tax filing with the IRS.

  • Public Safety Place: Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police safety exhibits.

  • Biotech & Learning Lane: Department of Agriculture and Argonne National Laboratory biotech exhibits. The Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Student Assistance Commission and State Board of Education "Learning Lane" will include one of the stops for Mrs. Ryan's "passport" digital pictures. The University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications computer visualization "Immersadesk" will bridge education on one side of the building and business development on the other.

  • Stage Area: Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo on the new video wall with the "Sights of Illinois" live cam shots at North Point Marina, SIU-Carbondale, the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, the State Capitol and the state fairground.

  • News Studio: WICS-TV Channel 20 will be conducting nightly news broadcasts and the Illinois Information Service will be filming daily State Fair highlights for the Internet, as well as video feeds for Illinois television stations.

Agencies and organizations participating in Tech Town 2000 include: DHS, Illinois Assistive Technology Project, Historic Preservation Agency, DCCA, Revenue, Professional Regulation, Employment Security, federal IRS, Secretary of State Index Dept. and State Library, Attorney General, DOT, State Police, Illinois Criminal Justice Authority, Agriculture, Illinois Community College Board, Lincoln Land Community College, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, State Board of Education, University of Illinois NCSA, University of Illinois College of Engineering Earthquake Center, DNR, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Articulation Initiative, Illinois Virtual Campus and a studio for Channel 20 News.

Agencies providing support and structural services for Tech Town include: Corrections, Agriculture, CMS, CDB, DOT and DCCA. Corporate sponsors of Tech Town 2000 include: Ameritech, Dell, IBM, Chicago Systems Group, American General Financial Group and Franklin Financial Services Corporation, Xerox, Microsoft, Entrust, SEA, Enterasys, CISCO, PSI Net, and Computer Associates.


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