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Economic Alliance Press Release

Febuary 7, 2022

Kankakee County is primed for growth and economic development in 2022. Ranked #5 among small manufacturing economies in the US by AdvisorSmith, the community has a diverse industry base with top international, national and local employers. Food, chemical and plastics manufacturing, transportation and logistics, iron and steel, health care and the hospitality industries boast thousands of employment opportunities. Job growth is projected to continue increasing in these essential industries, in some areas as much as 23% over the next three years.

Livability in Kankakee County is a prime attraction, with cost of living hovering at 90%, allowing for an economical choice just 45 miles south of Chicago, along the I-57 corridor. The cost of housing, utilities, health care and groceries in Kankakee County is consistently below the national average. The average home cost here is $280,343, whereas the national average is $398,690, and the average rental cost for a two-bedroom apartment in Kankakee County is $902, the national average is $1,218.

Kankakee County’s transportation and infrastructure is ideal with six I-57 exits averaging 40,000 cars/day; Class 1 rail lines including Canadian National, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific; the Greater Kankakee Airport with the longest runway outside of Midway International; and county-wide public transit.

Education and workforce partners play a major role in the business community, offering training, certifications and support to area businesses. Olivet Nazarene University, consistently ranked as a College of Distinction and as the #2 Best Value Regional University in the Midwest in 2021 by U.S. News and World Report, and Kankakee Community College, offer high-demand courses with a focus on key industries. More than $2M is invested annually to support local workforce training through the Grundy Livingston Kankakee Workforce Board, with additional scholarships for students and incumbent worker training funds to support both employees and employers with educational advancement.

The 2022 Market Profile recently released by the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County showcases this information, along with additional facts including:

  • Job growth projected in multiple occupations, with thousands of industry positions available. 
  • Economical: 90.7% of US Average Cost of Living Index 
  • +61% food manufacturing industry growth in the recent five years 
  • 76 major employers in key diverse industry sectors 
  • More than 2,341 annual graduates in Kankakee County 
  • Public transit, Class 1 Rail, six interstate exits and daily traffic to exceed 40,000 cars/day 
  • Region-wide partnership incentives designed to retain and attract growth and development

“Despite a global pandemic, Kankakee County proves it’s strength with consistent and continuous growth. That’s pretty significant for a community,” said Tim Nugent, President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. “Between the industry diversity, cost of living, educational opportunities and incentives offered to employers, we are on target to continue economic growth.”

The Economic Alliance is a 501c6 public/private partnership that works to create jobs and expand the economic base by improving the local business climate in Kankakee County. The Alliance employs a collaborative approach to support development in the strategic areas of business retention, expansion and attraction, and workforce and community development.

For questions, please contact: Tim Nugent, President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County at or 815.935.1177; Angela Morrey, Director of Marketing & Business Attraction with the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County at or 630.800.0006

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