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Workforce & Manufacturing Roundtable

Workforce & Manufacturing Roundtable
March 27, 2024 Billy George

This is not the first (nor, I suspect the last) time I will use this platform to talk about the importance of manufacturing in Stephenson County. In fact, in 2022, 35 percent of the county economy was supported directly or indirectly by manufacturing, totaling $2.8 billion in total annual economic output and $317.1 million in salaries and benefits. There are 5,865 jobs directly or indirectly involved in the manufacturing industry in the county.

In our business retention visits, we frequently hear that the workforce is still the #1 issue. There are not enough workers, or workers lack technical and soft skills. Workforce issues are not new, nor will they be solved by one organization or entity overnight, but a place to start is gathering stakeholders to discuss the issue, understand what programs exist and identify service gaps. This is exactly what will happen at our first Manufacturers Roundtable of 2024. To be held Thursday, April 11th at 7:30 am, area manufacturing executives and human resource professionals, Freeport High School, CareerTEC, and Highland Community College representatives will meet at the Partnership office to discuss problems plaguing the local workforce. To learn more or register for this event, please contact Katie Gentz,

Additionally, we will host an upcoming webinar with the Illinois Manufacturing Association about their Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP). The ETIP is a grant that allows employers to receive up to 50% reimbursement on their training costs. We will publicize webinar details once they are finalized. Until then you can learn more about the program on IMA’s website.

The Partnership is committed to helping all businesses prosper. Please know we will work tirelessly to connect resources to our membership.

Data source: Illinois Manufacturers’ Association: The Economic Impact of Manufacturing on Illinois, 2022.

*Manufacturers listed are Greater Freeport Partnership members. The list is not comprehensive of all local manufacturers.

Andrea Schultz Winter is the Executive Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. She can be reached at or 815-233-1354.