January 5, 2009 by Luke Mason
Director, Institutional Research
Illinois Central College
East Peoria, Illinois
With help from EMSI’s labor market analysis, Illinois Central College has been successful in developing programs to train for emergency management specialists and electrical power line installers and repairers. Aimee Cook, the director of institutional research at ICC, used EMSI’s Strategic Advantage web-based suite of tools to show the demand for the high-growth programs, both on a regional and national level. The greater Peoria area, where ICC has four sites, traditionally has been reliant on manufacturing. The region’s largest employer is Caterpillar Inc., a Fortune 500 construction and mining equipment manufacturer. The area’s economy, however, has diversified in the last 40 years. “As our economic base has shifted from being manufacturing heavy to being more healthcare- and service-oriented, we’ve had to learn to make those shifts as well,” Cook says. “That’s part of our mission as a community college. We’ve tried to not just make decisions on what we’re hearing.” Taking a data-based approach has been central to ICC developing a new site in Pekin, about 10 miles south of ICC’s main campus in East Peoria. The electrical power line worker training will be housed at Pekin, as well as other programs tied to “green-collar” projects. The need for line workers is particularly glaring in light of the number of energy workers due for retirement nationally over the next five years.