Many localities tout a friendly business environment, but few bring the scope of added advantages to the table that Northwest Illinois enjoys.
Affordable Cost of Living
A lower cost of living along with lower crime rates, a lack of congestion, and a low union presence all contribute to a business-friendly environment, particularly when compared to the Chicago metro area. A lower cost of living in our region bolsters business and has helped employers attract and retain qualified and competent employees.
|vs. USA||vs. Illinois||vs. Chicago|
|Cost of Living||-22%||-17%||-35%|
|Cost of Utilities||-6%||-7%||-7%|
|Cost of Transportation||-2%||-6%||-24%|
|Median Hourly Wage||-12%||-16%||-18%|
|Mean Annual Wage||-19%||-23%||-29%|
Source: U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017; Sperling’s Best Places
*60 mile radius around Whiteside County Illinois
The math is simple. Affordable housing contributes to an affordable quality of life which makes an affordable business environment possible.
|Median Property Value - 2016|
|Whiteside County Illinois||$99,500|
|Chicago Metro Area||$229,900|
Source: Census Bureau - ACS 5-year Estimate
|Whiteside & Carroll County - Avg Cost per Acre||Chicago Metro - Avg Cost per Acre|
|$20,000 - $25,000||$250,000*|
*Source: CBRE Research, 2017
Among the most cited constraints in building a better business, employers nationwide have identified workforce development as their most pressing challenge. But in Northwest Illinois, we didn’t sit around and scratch our collective heads. We developed and implemented a program that is serving the needs of employers and preparing students to enter the job market with viable skills.
Multi-Craft Extended Internship Program
Working in partnership with manufacturers and community colleges, our Multi-Craft Extended Internship Program allows students to attend classes two days per week and spend three days in an employment environment where they gain insights and hands-on experience with the skills their employers need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. From electrical work, welding and HVAC to computer-assisted design, students work their way to an associate’s degree, employment and a brighter future.
When the program began in 2014, 17 students and a handful of employers were involved. With the 2017-18 academic year three years later, the program sported 64 students and 15 employers. And, because employers are satisfied and community colleges are fulfilling their mission, this valuable asset is expected to continue to grow and evolve.
Putting It All Together
When combined with a lower cost of living and annual wages far less than nearby Chicago, workforce development is making a difference by reducing overhead and building a stronger workforce with the skills employers require. Whether you’re pondering relocating an existing business or embarking on a start-up, you owe it to yourself to check out the Northwest Illinois Advantage.