When it comes to business attraction tools in the Peoria Metro toolbox, our qualified workforce continues to be a critical and versatile tool.
Marketing the Peoria Metro to the world may not be as visible as a Super Bowl ad, but that’s because much of the work is customized and targeted. The EDC provides businesses that are considering relocation from anywhere in the world with customized research information to aid in the decision-making process. Labor market statistics are an important part of that package. General information available on the EDC’s website, such as current occupational wage rates, employment by industry and unemployment rates, is frequently customized to reflect a company’s need for data on a specific market segment. Employers may also be interested in how their workers would get to work, what the commute time is or the education level they’ve attained.
This region has a remarkably well-educated workforce, with strong Midwestern values and work ethics. The workforce is also surprisingly diverse, technologically sophisticated and mechanically inclined. They are caring, compassionate, dedicated and loyal.
Through paid advertisements, articles and directory listings, the EDC touts the strengths of the Peoria Metro workforce in national publications (print and virtual) focused on key targeted industries such as logistics, advanced manufacturing and healthcare. The EDC’s website holds a plethora of up-to-the-minute labor force data and is automatically translatable into eight additional languages, all at the click of a mouse. Industry-focused trade shows are another way the EDC communicates the assets of our region to targeted audiences. The EDC recently marketed Peoria Metro at the American Wind Energy Association trade show, focusing on wind energy and the manufacturing and logistics businesses associated with it.
Growing a properly trained workforce for the future is of paramount importance. Businesses realize that the exact labor force they need may not be available at any location they choose. Our workforce will be a key competitive factor as businesses decide where they will locate. Therefore, job training programs and educational institutions play a key role. The EDC’s Specialized Manufacturing Strategy Group has worked hard to build solid bridges between local manufacturing businesses, local educational institutions and Workforce Development to identify the workforce needs of the future and provide ample training opportunities. They recently hosted the “Explore Manufacturing Expo” at the Peoria Civic Center, which attracted nearly 600 area high school students to learn more about high-tech manufacturing careers and tour a few of the region’s many advanced manufacturing facilities.
The Peoria Charter School Initiative was also born of the need for a qualified and educated workforce in the areas of math, science and technology. Operating as Quest Charter Academy, this nearly year-old charter school is dedicated to providing educational excellence and preparing tomorrow’s workforce for our region.
“As our economy shifts, now more than ever before, individuals need to keep their education and training up to date,” says EDC President Vickie Clark. “Jobs will be more available for a skilled workforce. And we will be more competitive for new and expanded businesses as we are able to show our region matches their workforce needs.” iBi