The North Central Region, with its rich soil and abundant rivers and streams, is the agriculture and nature heart of Illinois. With a diversified economic base in both professional services and heavy manufacturing, along with a strong vision for research and technology development, the North Central Region has much to offer new and expanding businesses. Wind energy and crude oil distribution have also expanded this region’s economy.
Made up of ten counties with a population of over 650,000 and a labor force of over 300,000, the North Central Region is a global hub. Significant to this region’s global success are the cities of Peoria and Bloomington-Normal. These cities are located a few hours south of Chicago and offer access to regional airports with over 10 major business destinations. With a young, talented and highly educated workforce, this region is the perfect locations for any Fortune 500 company to put down roots.
High-speed passenger rail, a major freight rail hub, Interstate 55, and several local, state, and federal highways have all contributed to strengthening the manufacturing and agriculture industries in this region. A strong infrastructure provides businesses with access to larger markets and additional distribution options. There are several companies in Livingston County that have an international presence. These companies position the North Central Region to compete globally.
The North Central manufacturing sector employs approximately 25,000 employees, accounting for 14 percent of the region’s workforce. Global manufacturers located in this region include Caterpillar Inc., a leading manufacturer of construction equipment, Komatsu, and Kress Corp. among others. Many of the manufacturers in the Greater Peoria Manufacturing Network are suppliers to large OEMs in North Central Illinois. These firms meet strict quality and delivery standards for Caterpillar, John Deere, CNH, and Komatsu.
The eastern portion of the Region is home to insurance giants State Farm and Country Financial. This region boasts some of the richest farm ground in the nation, so it naturally became home to numerous agricultural support industries such as GROWMARK and the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Information Technology like Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is creating new jobs in biotech, material, agricultural and life sciences. This high-tech business incubator supports new technology innovations and transforms innovative ideas into market successes.
The North Central region is also home to a huge medical community. Order of St. Francis Medical Center is the largest downstate hospital and home to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, as well as Unity Point Methodist Hospital and Kindred Hospital. These facilities provide fertile working environments for medical students attending the University of Illinois Medical School at Peoria.
The North Central labor force is well trained by a network of community colleges, along with four four-year colleges and universities. The local economic develop organizations work in sync with the institutions of higher education to prepare our workforce to meet the needs of today’s industry.
Colleges and Universities:
- Illinois Wesleyan University-Bloomington
- Illinois State University- Normal
- Bradley University-Peoria
- University of Illinois Medical School- Peoria
- Eureka College-Eureka
- Illinois Central College-East Peoria/Peoria
- Spoon River College-Canton
- Heartland Community College-Normal
- Robert Morris College-Peoria
- Lincoln College-Normal
EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING
Click here to learn more about this region’s population statistics, local workforce area and 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.
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