Coles County community, business, and education leaders are working together to provide manufacturing skills training in the local workforce.  Coles Together annually hosts National Manufacturing Day for high school students from three area high schools.  Students are excited to learn about the rewarding careers available in manufacturing and the industrial sector in Coles County.  Industrial facilities were eager to showcase their operation to the students, members of the public, business leaders, and elected officials including Governor Bruce Rauner who participated in the Coles County Manufacrturing Day event at Mattoon Precision Manufacturing, Inc. in 2015.

Lake Land College has partnered with the manufacturing sector to offer customized skills training to the existing workforce and career training for students enrolled at Lake Land.  Curriculum is even offered even at the high school level as juniors and seniors are able to participate in Career Academy classes during the school day where they earn dual credits and manufacuturing skills.

ClassE is an entrepreneurial development class that aims to educate Coles County high school juniors and seniors about the opportunities and challenges of starting and running a new business venture. Many students who completed the class have gone on to successfully run their own businesses.

In this experiential learning dual-credit class, students are able to tour and interact with more than 82 Coles County business owners, work on individual and group business with fellow classmates, and develop leadership and professional skills important for success.

ClassE is working to create an intergenerational business success network that encourages students to remember their roots, resulting in business and job creation in Coles County, thereby securing its future health and economic vitality.

Overall Coles County is building a strong and diverse labor market with competitive rates and superior worker productivity compared national average. A survey of local manufacturers indicates the labor force demonstrates a high product quality and high productivity. Firms in the area participate in internship programs, skills assessment, advancement programs, mentoring, job shadowing, job fairs, and career placement programs.

The average hourly production wage is $12.44 with a low of $8.80 and a high of $22.88 per hour. Literacy rates in the community are as follows:

88.9% of persons aged 25 – 64 have a high school diploma
23.4% of persons aged 25 – 64 have a Bachelor’s Degree
10% of persons aged 25 – 75 and above have a Masters Degree

Additionally, the percentage of area district teachers with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees is higher than the statewide average in both categories. The presence of Lake Land College in Mattoon and Eastern Illinois University in Charleston provides an academic environment conducive to the growth of firms using advanced technology. Click here for additional information on these two institutions of higher education.

22 major Coles County employers were surveyed to determine the commute patterns of their employees:

  • Total employment represented by the 22 employers = 8068
  • Employees that reside within Coles County = 5198
  • Employees drive from over 35 counties within the State of Illinois to work in Coles County
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