Contact Us

Russell Medley
Extension Educator, Community and Economic Development
University of Illinois Extension
321 W 2nd Avenue
Milan, IL 61264
Phone: 309-756-9978
FAX: 309-756-9987

Community and Economic Development

Community and Economic Development

University of Illinois Extension provides practical, research-based information and programs to help individuals, families, organizations, businesses, farms, and rural and urban communities throughout Illinois.

Bridging the Manufacturing Skills Gap in Rural America

University of Illinois Extension is pleased to partner on this webinar series sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development in collaboration with the Purdue Center for Regional Development. Join us for any one of the three upcoming webinars.

Globalization is creating an increasing skills gap in the US labor market, particularly within the nation's growing manufacturing sector. Yet the gap is not a pervasive national problem, but rather, highly localized, with rural areas often confronting disproportionately deeper skills shortages than their non-rural counterparts. This webinar series highlights some of the key workforce issues throughout the US rural manufacturing heartland, and discusses innovative national and local programs, strategies and solutions in place geared to enhancing skills at the local level and bolstering long term economic growth. 

Click on the link(s) below for more information about each topic and to attend the webinars of your choice:

Featured Websites

Illinois Agritourism Disaster Resources Local Government Information and Education Network (LGIEN) Professional Development Modules

Local Resources and Information

  • Feb 12, Industrial Skill Requirements in Rural Areas
    This webinar will explain the talent pool funnel and describe the steps the Alber Enterprise Center i s taking to gather workforce data from employers through a collaboration with rural economic development offices, manufacturers, and educational institutions.

  • Jan 22, Causal Factors and Local Strategies
    Structural changes in the nature of competition in recent decades have placed a premium on human capital as the linchpin of globally competitive manufacturing operations. Yet a major challenge for US manufacturers, particularly the small to mid - sized companies (SMEs) in the more traditional and labor - intensive industries located in rural areas, is a shortage of sufficiently skilled, innovative and flexible worke rs and problem solvers . This webinar provides an overview of the key causal factors driving manufacturing skills gaps throughout Rural America and emphasizes structural factors that engender a lack of workplace learning in the US industrial context. It the n draws on case studies across the North Central region to discuss innovative local solutions, focusing on the role that community colleges, Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs), and employers can play in enhancing workforce development throughout A merica’s manufacturing heartland.

  • Jan 29 Attracting and Retaining Talented Workers in Rural America
    This webinar will feature examples of rural areas that have seized the opportunity, convened their manufacturers, and identified stackable credentials to meet the growing demand. Successful regions find that training that meets industry standards is also an economic development tool to attract and retain manufacturers

Additional Topics

Nutrition and Wellness Horticulture 4-H Youth Development Commercial Agriculture Environment and Energy Stewardship Local Food Systems and Small Farms Family Life En Español