Steering committee: Peoria needs more high-skilled jobs, college grads

Submitted by Alex Rusciano on Tue, 09/11/2012 – 7:22pm

Central Illinois needs to attract more young professionals and highly-skilled jobs to the area in the next five years. That’s the message coming from the Regional Economic Development steering committee. The committee includes 30 people from the public and private sector throughout the region who have agreed to help create an asset-based Community Economic Development Plan. Other goals the group has include creating 13,000 new jobs and ramping up the number of college degrees in the region. Doug Parsons is CEO of the mining parts company, Excel Foundry in Pekin, that’s been struggling to find qualified workers to fill job openings. He says the steering committee goals can help fill that gap:

“It may not be the Panacea where we come up with all the perfect solutions,” Parsons says.

“But there’s truly the right groups of people, a lot of employers a lot of people dealing with the labor shortage and the challenges and we’re getting together and we’re discussing these and coming up with real solutions.”

The regional strategic planning effort includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford and Mason Counties. The group will identify area economic strengths during its Milestone meeting next month. That is one of four major benchmarks in the regional economic development process being led by Maryland-based consultant Frank Knott.