Illinois Governor Announces Quantum Tech Initiative, Forecasts 30,000 New Jobs

April 3, 2024

CHICAGO, April 3, 2024 — Governor JB Pritzker and Innovate Illinois have announced a multi-year plan for the Bloch Quantum Tech Hub to develop quantum technology solutions for pressing issues such as fraud detection, grid resilience, and drug discovery by accelerating industry adoption to drive research commercialization—an initiative that is projected to generate $60 billion in economic impact for the Chicago metro area over the next decade.

The coalition, which includes Fortune 500 companies, quantum startups, world-leading universities, state and city governments, community colleges, and economic and workforce development nonprofits, developed the plan as part of their application for Phase 2 funding through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovation Hub program.

“Illinois is already a global competitor in the quantum sector, and we want to ensure that we have the workforce and talent to engage in our unprecedented progress and innovation,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m so excited to recognize The Bloch, our EDA Tech Hub that is helping us develop quantum technology solutions for some of our world’s most difficult and pressing problems. With $625 million in public and private investments, and representation from over 50 public and private entities across Chicago and the Midwest region, it’s clear that The Bloch is ready to lead cross-sector collaboration — and develop the future of quantum.”

The Bloch led the Chicago metro area in earning a designation as one of 31 U.S. Tech Hubs during Phase 1 of the program. During Phase 2, the agency will award Implementation Grants to designated Tech Hubs to propel their regional growth in technology through initiatives in workforce development, business and entrepreneur development, technology maturation, and infrastructure enhancement.

The Bloch, led by the Chicago Quantum Exchange, is a part of Illinois’ strategic vision to establish itself as a global leader in critical technological sectors, supported by Innovate Illinois Chair Governor JB Pritzker’s historic $500 million proposed investment in quantum technologies.

This substantial state investment is included in the proposed FY25 state budget for developing quantum technology and a state-of-the-art quantum campus, including a cryogenic facility crucial for quantum technologies and next-generation microelectronics. The Bloch is positioned to leverage this investment, leading the nation to a sustainable and inclusive quantum economy.

Should their Phase 2 bid be funded, The Bloch is expected to create 30,000 quantum jobs, train 50,000 workers, and support 200 quantum companies by 2035.

“As one of Illinois’s two Tech Hub designees, I’m pleased to see such strong support for The Bloch and quantum technology in Illinois,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. “I was proud to work closely with Governor Pritzker and Senator Durbin to advocate for our state to win Tech Hub designations, and I’ll keep doing everything I can to support these projects and bring in even more investments from the federal level. Illinois is making it clear that we are ready to compete and have the projects and innovation to bring our state, nation and world into the future.”

“The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub is proof that Illinois is already a global leader in quantum technologies,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Our state’s quantum investment holds the key to unlocking opportunities for job creation, industry advancement, and scientific discovery.”

The intent is to fund projects led by IBM, Microsoft, City Colleges of Chicago, quantum companies such as Infleqtion and qBraid, and other key consortium members, through which The Bloch will create essential feedback loops between quantum technology developers and industry; build the largest community college-led quantum program in the U.S.; and provide leading hardware, software, and networks to expedite quantum technology development and industry adoption.

“To make advancements in science and industry using quantum computing we need to find practical quantum algorithms that work on utility-scale systems,” said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Quantum. “The Bloch Tech Hub’s efforts, including the use of Qiskit, bring about the best chance for this and I look forward to seeing how this collaboration will advance industries with practical applications.”

“Through the Bloch Quantum Tech Hub, Microsoft will leverage our leadership in quantum technology to create practical applications that can revolutionize industries and enhance our understanding of quantum science,” said Martin Suchara, Director of Product Management at Microsoft. “We are proud to partner with Innovate Illinois, the Chicago Quantum Exchange, academic institutions, and technology leaders across the region to help accelerate the development of quantum computing and quantum networking hardware, software, and applications, deliver solutions to communities across America, and maximize our collective impact.”

“Phase 2 of The Bloch is about scaling quantum solutions to global challenges,” said Meera Raja, P33 VP of Deep Tech and The Bloch’s interim regional innovation officer. “Leveraging our unparalleled advantages—which includes a robust ecosystem of quantum startups and companies, a concentration of top research institutions and national labs that are connected through their membership in the CQE, and one of the country’s largest quantum-ready pipelines—we aim to integrate these advanced technologies into the industries of tomorrow, making significant impacts across multiple sectors.”

The Chicago Quantum Exchange, one of the largest collaborative teams working on quantum science in the world, has played a key role in building cross-sector partnerships throughout the Chicago metro area.

David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and Physics at the University of Chicago and the director of the CQE, said The Bloch’s plan would “capitalize on the deep partnerships that the Chicago Quantum Exchange has helped foster across industry, government, and academia, and it will drive the research commercialization that is essential to realizing the full potential of quantum technologies. This project not only propels the United States to the forefront of quantum research but also nurtures the next generation of quantum scientists and engineers.”

“Joining forces within The Bloch Tech Hub aligns perfectly with Infleqtion’s mission to turn quantum potential into quantum reality. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this transformative journey, creating real-world quantum solutions,” said Caitlin Carnahan of Infleqtion’s Chicago-based Quantum Software division.

“As a consortium member, IQUIST is thrilled to contribute our quantum research expertise to The Bloch. This initiative is a significant stride not only in advancing quantum technology but also in cultivating a skilled workforce equipped for the challenges of tomorrow’s tech landscape,” said Brian DeMarco, Professor and Director of IQUIST, Illinois Grainger Engineering.

“The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub represents a shared vision of creating an inclusive quantum economy. We are equipping our students with the skills necessary to excel in and shape the future of technology,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado of City Colleges of Chicago.

This historic investment by the State of Illinois, combined with the efforts of The Bloch and its partners, signifies a major leap forward in technological innovation, promising to fuel economic growth, create employment opportunities, and establish Illinois and the U.S. as global leaders in quantum technology and semiconductor innovation.

Source: Office of Governor JB Pritzker

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