The West Central Region has much to offer new and expanding businesses, such as a workforce, first-class educational institutions, the availability of quality health care and superior quality of life features. An advanced and mature farming base and the region’s agricultural research capacity also make the West Central Region a prime location for agribusiness.
The following are major agribusiness employers in the region: ADM, Smithfield Foods, Carthage Veterinary Service CVS, Professional Swine Management, LLC & Maschhoffs.
Job training needs throughout the region are also met by The Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois which is the primary advocate for the identification, communication, and resolution of current and emerging workforce development matters in partnership with Western Illinois Works Inc. Local Workforce Investment Board is led by the private sector. The JWCC Workforce Training Center provides training for key employment sectors including construction and truck driving and specialized training for specific manufacturing processes.
The West Central Region has competitive transportation network–interstates, quality four-lane highways, the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Class 1 and short line rail and viable commercial airports. Regional leaders recently played a crucial role in securing additional Amtrak passenger service for Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy.
- An extensive transportation system has aided in the development of small businesses, which account for 98 percent of all businesses in the region.
- The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in Galesburg has one of the largest classification yards on the BNSF system and provides more than 800 jobs.
- The Chicago to Kansas City 4 lane route has received designation from the US DOT as well as from the state of Illinois and Missouri.
- The West Central Region has some of the best farmland in the United States, with farms and agriculture-related businesses contributing nearly 275 million bushels of corn and soybeans to the state’s agriculture economy in 2020.
The region’s primary economic engine and its largest private employer is the manufacturing sector. The region’s manufacturers employ over 10,000 people – almost 12 percent of the regional workforce. Companies like Titan Wheel and Pella Windows are important to the region’s manufacturing base. Also located in this region and part of a worldwide industrial network is NTN Bower, Japanese motor bearing plant.
Prominent manufacturing sub-sectors include; Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing and electrical equipment and component manufacturing.
Dot Foods, the nation’s largest food redistributor in Mt. Sterling, Titan Wheel in Quincy, and Smithfield in Monmouth are three of the region’s top employers.
Further demonstrating the strength of the region, Pegasus Mfg. Inc. - a leading contract manufacturer of complex machine parts and assemblies. Pegasus Mfg.’s new Galesburg facility utilizes some of the most advanced and accurate CNC milling and CNC turning equipment available. Pegasus Mfg. recently relocated their business from California to Galesburg, IL. The trusted partnership that has developed between Pegasus and the Illinois Department of Commerce holds much potential for innovation in areas of workforce training, business recruitment strategies, and continuous improvement for the state..
The region’s largest employer is also its flagship graduate educational institution–Western Illinois University at Macomb–which employs more than 2,200 people. The region is also home to other 4-year institutions such as Knox College, Monmouth College and Quincy University. Three excellent community college systems; Carl Sandburg, John Wood and Spoon River also foster a well-educated and productive workforce across the region. The educational institutions across the region employ more than 9,000 people and educate more than 23,000 students each year.
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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