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Strong Midwestern values and a work ethic inspired by a rich agricultural background make the workforce in the Carthage area one in whom any business would be proud. Some thoughts from those who know:
David Fox - Senior Vice President of Marine Bank & Trust, President of Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce:
“The Carthage area is blessed with a diverse pool of potential employees ranging from the non-skilled to highly specialized and skilled. Because we are centrally located in Hancock County near the intersection of 4 highways, this location is a great benefit for both employers and employees since a 30 minute commute provides a pool of several thousand potential employees, who are willing to drive to get to a good job. Although the immediate area is known for agriculture, there are many other employment opportunities in medical, manufacturing, technology, other professional and/or skilled, and blue collar occupations, and businesses are able to find many quality candidates to fill the available jobs. The work ethic from this agricultural background makes them excellent and hard working employees. Our own experience with recent employment opportunities is that we have had a variety of very qualified applicants to consider. This diverse employer market and the opportunity to work in a family-rich rural environment makes this area attractive for both skilled and non-skilled individuals.”
Blanche Shoup - Director of the Workforce Investment Office of Western Illinois:
The Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois has conducted ten community audits since 2002 to determine the needs and demands of the local labor force and employers in this area. Two studies, “Commuter Patterns & Labor Force Study (2002 – 2003)” and “Western Illinois Labor Market Analysis Report (January 2003)” focused on the available labor supply and quality present in the nine counties of Western Illinois . These studies have been conducted for three geographic regions within the local workforce area, northern (Knox, Warren and Henderson counties); central (Hancock, McDonough and Schuyler counties); and southern (Adams, Brown, and Pike counties). Carthage, in Hancock County, is in the central region.
The analyses found that the central region provides a good place for employers to find above average, skilled workers.
The overall availability in the central region is “above average” to “very good” even though unemployment is very low. A wide range of manufacturing and non-manufacturing skills are available with the exception of maintenance mechanics. Most other manufacturing skills are “good” to “excellent” to find.
In evaluating the labor quality of workers in the central region, the researchers found that the overall quality is “above average” to “very good” and may be stronger than other regions in the Midwest . There is low turnover and high productivity among the workers. Worker basic skills are much better than in other parts of the country.
Wages are influenced more by demand for attracting workers than by sizable union membership. There is not much upward pressure on wages and fringe benefits paid are generally around 30%.
These studies affirm the high quality of the western Illinois labor force.
Following are some of the employer quotes from the 26 corporate interviews taken during studies done by the Workforce Investment Office:
Western Illinois Labor Market Analisys
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Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois
First Source - www.wiworkforce.com
Illinois Labor Market Information
Workforce Info Center - wic.ilworkinfo.com
Illinois Department of Employment Security
One Source - www.ilworkinfo.com
Labor Market Information Source
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Bureau of Workforce Development