WhyILTest

 

 

Illinois offers unparalleled opportunity at the epicenter of North America. As one of the most diverse economies in the nation, Illinois boasts a world-class business environment, a culturally vibrant landscape, and an experienced workforce with some of the countries brightest minds.



Illinois is second to none as a center for global business. Illinois offers a vibrant
economy and world-class business community, an educated and skilled workforce,
infrastructure that facilitates the seamless movement of goods and people, and
strong support for investment and growth.

As one of the largest and most diverse economies in the United States, and the 18th
largest economy in the world, Illinois draws companies from across a large range of
industry. We are home to 36 Fortune 500 and 14 Global 500 companies, 241
companies on the Inc. 5000 List, and 29 S&P Companies.

Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest, and the fifth largest exporting
state in the USA. Last year, Illinois exported $59.76 billion worth of goods and
services. Since 2009, Illinois exports have grown by $18 billion, a 44% increase,
outperforming the national average of 37%.

Our global footprint also includes over 5,600 foreign-owned company site locations,
and we continue to recruit businesses looking to expand their enterprise.



Access to a high quality workforce is a top concern for companies, and Illinois’
well-educated, hardworking and loyal workforce has long been a draw for
businesses around the world. For decades, Illinois has been a major magnet for new
graduates, and with over a third of the state’s working-age population completing
postsecondary education, has one of the most educated populations in the Midwest.
Illinois’ high quality workforce begins with the state’s emphasis on education, from
early childhood through high school. Afterwards, students from around the world
come to Illinois to learn at one of the state’s 200 institutions of higher education,
world-class universities and colleges. Illinois is home to two of the top ten MBA
programs in the country, and each year, the University of Illinois graduates more
engineers than MIT, Stanford & Cal Tech combined. Additionally, a vibrant cultural
scene and diverse career opportunities draw college graduates from across the
country to Chicago, making the city the number one metro area for Big Ten Alumni.

A widespread community college network also helps students gain tactical skills to
build a successful career in an affordable and flexible matter. Many of these
outstanding programs are geared toward in demand fields, including S.T.E.M., which
offer high-paying jobs and opportunities upon graduation.

The state is focused on training and maintaining a skilled workforce for the 21st
century. Through a series of pilot programs including apprenticeships, exchanges,
and workshops, Illinois is exploring all career pathways beyond the traditional four
year degrees to further enhance the workforce pipeline across the state. Programs
include the Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM), which trained 600
individuals for manufacturing occupations in five regions, and the Apprenticeship
PLUS program, which targeted youth between the ages of 16 and 24, and provided
them with specific career education, a chance to earn industry-recognized
credentials and do on-the-job training.

There is also an extensive registered and independent apprenticeship network
actively engaged in further developing the Illinois workforce.



Located in the nation’s heartland, Illinois is at the center of the U.S. and North
American transportation network. Unique geographical advantages have resulted in
the growth of an extensive shipping and logistics industry; the Mississippi River and
Lake Michigan offer two international shipping routes, while Chicago serves as a
primary connector for the east and west coasts.

Chicago is the world’s third largest intermodal port, with all seven of the country’s
Class 1 freight lines, the Port of Chicago and access to nine interstate highways. In
total, Illinois is home to two major inland ports, Midwest Inland Port and America’s
Central Port, and 14 waterway ports along the state’s rivers. With a wide variety of
options for domestic and international shipping, it’s no wonder that Illinois has nearly
12,000 transportation and warehousing establishments, the fourth largest cluster in
the USA, and 300 distribution centers operated by Fortune 500 companies.

Illinois offers a gateway to international markets with five flight options for
international travel and shipping. Among them are O’Hare International Airport and
Midway International Airport in Chicago. These two airports combine to make
Chicago a triple-hub region for United, Southwest, and American Airlines. Both offer
access to all of the continental USA and the majority of Canada within a four hour
flight, service to 65 international destinations, and nonstop service to over 200
destinations – domestic and international



From the majesty of the Mississippi River to the splendor of Lake Michigan, Illinois
offers residents exceptional educational options, access to world-class healthcare,
abundant outdoor amenities, delicious dining options, magnificent arts and culture,
and endless entertainment.

Illinois values education from cradle to career. Our state is focused on equipping the
next generation with the tools they need to succeed through a quality education. The
Illinois high school graduation rate is above the USA average, and over 70% of high
school students are enrolled in college courses. Additionally, there are 86 nationally
ranked public high schools throughout the state and 40 specialized S.T.E.A.M.
magnet elementary schools.

We are a leader in higher education with more than 200 institutions, including three
of the top 30 universities in the country and an extensive network of community
colleges. Illinois also fosters and promotes apprenticeship programs that prepare
individuals to enter and succeed in technical careers.

Premium healthcare services are available across Illinois. With over 20 teaching
hospitals
and 7,000 biomedical science and engineering students graduating each
year, Illinois is a national leader in healthcare. The Chicago metro ranks in the top
25 for specialties including cardiology, cancer, and orthopedics. Within that measure
is the nationally recognized Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which landed among
the top hospitals nationally in 11 categories.

In your free time, spend a day exploring the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art
Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry or the Brookfield Zoo. Take a step
back in time at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and the Lewis and Clark
National Historic Trail. Cheer on one of the 20+ professional sports teams that call
Illinois home. Enjoy a weekend hike through Shawnee National Park, a nice
vacation at a southern Illinois winery, or begin your road trip on historic Route 66.

Whatever you’re looking for, Illinois has it.



Illinois is proud to be home to many established business ecosystems. The below
are just highlights of the diverse cluster of industries that have high growth potential
and continue to see significant investments in our state:

Agribusiness and Food Processing
With approximately 1,500 different types of soil and over 72,000 farms that average
358 acres each, Illinois is so fruitful that almost 90% of Illinois agricultural land can
be used to raise crops.

Therefore it is no wonder that Illinois leads the pack in agribusiness, and that the
state is a front-runner in soybean processing, meat packing, and dairy
manufacturing. The state is the nation’s second leading exporter of soybeans and
feed grains, and Illinois exported $8.2 billion worth of agricultural commodities to
other countries in 2014.

Food processing is also a cornerstone of Illinois’ economy as the leading
manufacturing activity. It contributes more than $13 billion to the value of raw
agricultural products. The 2,500 food manufacturing companies in the state employ
more than 82,500 Illinoisans, making it the leading private employer in Illinois.

Advanced Manufacturing
Manufacturers in Illinois make the products that enhance the lives of people across
the USA and around the globe, from elevators and agricultural equipment to
automotive components, power tools and electronics. Altogether, the 19,500
manufacturing operations in Illinois employ 578,000 workers. The value of their
output topped $101 billion in 2015, fifth among all states, and accounted for 13% of
the gross state product.

Some of the world's best-known brands have major manufacturing operations in
Illinois, including Caterpillar, Case New Holland, Deere & Co. and KONE

Energy
Our central location makes Illinois a transportation hub for crude oil and natural gas
moving throughout North America, with eight crude oil pipelines, eight petroleum
product pipelines, 18 interstate natural gas pipelines, two natural gas market
centers, and two petroleum ports.

Illinois is also the third largest producer of ethanol with a production capacity
exceeding 1.6 billion gallons per year. Illinois ranked first in the nation in 2016 in
both generating capacity and net electricity generation from nuclear power. Nuclear
power plants in Illinois generated 12% of the nation’s nuclear power.

Life Sciences and Biotech
Within the Midwest there are more than 16,800 biotechnology establishments
employing more than 377,000. In a recent study conducted by the iBIO, Illinois has
demonstrated an average annual growth of 13.3%, the strongest revenue growth
experienced in the study. The success is largely due to the rise in research and
development expenditures and the ability to secure early-stage funding within the
state.

Business and Professional Services
As the sixth largest state in the nation, and home to the third largest city in the
country, demand for business and professional services is high in Illinois. This target
industry created more than $75 billion in output over the course of 2015, with no
indication of slowing down



A culture of research and innovation drives growth throughout the state. Illinois
benefits from a strong commitment to research, with over 300 corporate R&D
facilities, $2.4 billion in annual R&D funding and growing communities of
entrepreneurs.

Illinois’ 13 technology parks, many of which partner with the state’s universities and
colleges, 87 business incubators and accelerators bring together researchers,
entrepreneurs and businesses at various stages to share expertise and resources,
push the boundaries of innovation and produce game-changing processes and
technologies. Illinois is also home to Scott Airforce Base, the global mobility and
transportation hub for the Department of Defense, which currently employs 13,000
people.

A diverse community of business incubators has produced a growing digital startup
community, resulting in the third fastest growth in tech jobs in the country. Chicago is
home to 2,100 digital companies, including locally founded tech companies such as
GrubHub and Groupon, as well as Midwest outposts for Silicon Valley powerhouses
like Google and Facebook. Chicago’s tech scene continues to grow, with 275 digital
startups launched annually. Most recently, Illinois launched a state-wide initiative to
attract the emerging industry of Blockchain technology.

In 2017, Governor Rauner and the University of Illinois unveiled plans for an Illinois
Innovation Network (IIN) to nurture inventors and entrepreneurs through a $1.2
billion network of research universities, businesses, and public sector partners
focused on the development of solutions in computing and big data, advanced
materials, food and agriculture, and biosciences and health.