Illinois East Central Region


The East Central Region is made up of six-counties.  This region of the state of Illinois has a vast amount to offer new and expanding businesses, including world-class education and research facilities, a solid manufacturing base and a booming distribution sector.  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the region’s top employer with more than 13,970 employees. Its world-class research facilities include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. With more than 41,490 students, the university produces a highly-skilled regional workforce.

The East Central region of Illinois will be a place that is characterized by employers who offer solid benefit packages to recruit and retain employees and training programs to empower workers to bring needed skills to the workplace; a quality of life that attracts former residents back to the region; local school districts that are less reliant on property taxes.

Whether you want to be at the center of breakthrough science or in an ideal central U.S. location, you’ll find the people, organizations, and physical and technological infrastructure you need.  The East Central Region combines a superb location, convenient transportation, productive workers and some of the world’s most fertile farmland.




Employment in the service sectors dominates employment among residents of the East Central region, and has doubled since the 1970’s representing over one-half of total employment. The dominant service sub-sectors are health and retail operations. This region is home to numerous food processing plants and is considered to be among the best regions in the world for agriculture production.  The ideal location within the state allows for easy distribution of products.  Companies including, Kraft Foods Inc., Quaker Oats Co., and ConAgra Foods, all call East Central Illinois home.

East Central Illinois is equally rich in education and technology.  With the University of Illinois, and other accredited universities located in this area, the East Central region is the on the forefront of advancing education and technology.   Illinois has some of the most fertile soil in the United States and because of this roughly 89% of the state’s cropland is considered “prime farmland”. Illinois has a competitive edge due to its central location as well as its superior transportation system and because of this Illinois’ agricultural commodities generate more than $19 billion annually. 

Major Employers:

  • University of Illinois  Champaign – Urbana (10,820)
  • Kraft Foods Inc. (1,350)



East Central Illinois is home to many esteemed universities and colleges, making it one of the countries premiere destinations to earn a degree. The University of Illinois, is located in Champaign, Illinois.  Employing nearly 11,000 employees, U of I is home to some of the most advanced technology in the country and is focused on innovative research.

Besides the University of Illinois, East Central Illinois is also home to these colleges and universities:

University of Illinois - College of Veterinary Medicine – Urbana, IL
Parkland College - Champaign, IL
Danville Community College - Danville, IL
Lakeview College of Nursing - Danville, IL

Key statistics:

Ranked 6th out of 329 metropolitan areas for the percentage of high school and college graduates in the adult population:

  • 87% of population over 25 has high school degree or higher
  • 34% has bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 10,000 UIUC graduates each year
  • 2,000 high school & Parkland College graduates



Click here to learn more about this region’s population statistics, local workforce area, community college district boundaries and locations, demographics (such as percentage of veterans, household income, educational attainment, and poverty level), employment projections by industry, and community college graduates by career cluster. 


Austin Grammer
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