A Publication of WTVP

From earthmoving equipment to medical devices to consumer products, Illinois is home to 20,000 manufacturers that employ more than 600,000 people. These companies generate more than 13.5 percent of Illinois GDP. Their products are some of the world’s best-known brands, supported by a rich network of suppliers and component manufacturers, and produced by the most skilled and productive workforce in the world. Illinois manufacturers are a significant driver of innovation and exports, and account for more investments in research and development than any other sector.

The Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center’s (IMEC) new “Made in Illinois” online program showcases state-made products to the public while providing a web-based forum for manufacturers to connect and generate business opportunities.

To raise awareness about the importance of manufacturing, IMEC now dedicates an entire section of its newly redesigned website ( to the program. Illinois manufacturers can register for a free profile page to feature their products and services, share company news, and display pictures and videos. In addition to increasing their web visibility, IMEC will promote the manufacturers to external audiences through social media and direct marketing, and link participating manufacturers to sourcing and buying opportunities.

“Illinois is the center of manufacturing excellence in the country,” says David Boulay, president of IMEC. “These companies, many of which are family-owned and fixtures in their local communities, deserve to be recognized for generating high wage jobs in Illinois. This campaign will bring attention to the depth of the Illinois manufacturing sector and create additional business opportunities for those manufacturers who make high quality products here.”

Social media channels have been created to give participating manufacturers another voice to promote their products and services. Made in Illinois portals on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will enable manufacturers to connect with other companies and share best practices on next-generation strategies such as workforce development, innovation, continuous improvement and sustainability. Increased social media exposure is also expected to improve search results for participating companies.

Although most manufacturers have a website, far too many do not leverage inexpensive social media tools to increase their visibility. Made in Illinois will not only directly promote their capabilities to the thousands of leaders who visit IMEC’s site each month, it will give these companies an enhanced internet presence that will increase page referrals from leading search engines. iBi