Southwestern Illinois (SWIL) is a Midwest landmark known for its focus on transportation, workforce, and innovation. SWIL is strategically located in middle of the United States in the heart of the Midwest in downstate Illinois across the Mississippi River from the world-famous St. Louis Gateway Arch and within a robust metropolitan regional economic powerhouse. This location has more than 50% of the U.S. buying power accessible in a single day’s drive of this U.S. centric location.
Consisting of nine Illinois counties, which includes Madison, St. Clair, Macoupin, Clinton, Monroe, Jersey, Bond, Washington and Calhoun, the Mississippi Industrial corridor is an economic engine with over 700,000 residents and is Illinois second largest population center with a higher standard of living than 94% of similar MSAs in the country. SWIL is united to meet the economic changes and demands of today’s industries.
It is a supply-chain distribution hub for warehouse and logistics operations as it sits at the crossroads of Interstates 40, 55, 64, and 70. Over $19B dollars in prominent industry clusters ranging from advanced & light manufacturing to long existing heavy industry with strong agriculture, food processing, biomedical healthcare, data centers, finance and insurance, aviation, metal fabrication, e-commerce, green energy, energy production, chemical and medical processing, multi-modal transportation networks, cybersecurity and geospatial Intelligence innovation sectors that make up this industrial, manufacturing, and technology powerhouse!
Continued investment in the multi-modal transportation system and utility infrastructure drives the economic engine in Southwestern Illinois that attracts industries from all business sectors. For moving commodities and goods, SWIL is home to six, class 1 railroads and is the northern most, ice-free, lock-free river port and home to America’s Central Port. It is served by St. Louis Lambert International Airport and 3 regional airports – MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, St. Louis Regional Airport and St. Louis Downtown Airport.
With over $2.4B in new multi-modal transportation infrastructure investments, this location has attracted some of the most well-known developers to the area. The region has also seen a recent investment of over $200M to restore two intercontinental connecting rail bridges providing the nation with coast-to-coast rail service to anywhere in the country. New utility infrastructure investments of more than $2B in state-of-the-art electrical networks, water, natural gas, and other needed municipal services provide reliability for any industrial user. The region has utility mapping capabilities to enable to identification of the highest and best use of existing resources and future planning for new business investments.
Further, the American Bottoms Levee System has seen over $220M restoration investment making it the best levee system in the nation according to the U.S. Corps of Engineers. These financial multi-modal, utility, and waterway infrastructure investments are impressive especially when it is matched to equally attractive incentives and ease of permitting and regulatory procedures making SWIL a prime location for any existing and new developments consisting of world’s largest, most recognizable brands. And with all of the growth and development underway in the region, thousands of acres of available, shovel-ready, cost effective sites neighboring these leaders in industry exist along America’s core multi-modal transportation systems.
To support the businesses of today and tomorrow, a strong focus has been placed on workforce readiness with an investment in people. SWIL has a passionate and innovative workforce with the STEM and technical skills needed in high technology, automation, and artificial intelligent fields of future. For over 5 years, the Workforce 2030 Program has built awareness for STEM, technical, and construction trades skills enabling smooth connectivity to education, training, and certificate programs. This grassroots outreach program has reached over 40,000 K-12 and collegiate students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community residents and continues to grow each year. Higher education in our region is working together to create a workforce-ready learning environment focused on industry-specific innovation. This network of higher education provides focused, technical training to meet the workforce needs of area employers and the growing demand in AI, automation and robotics. Local workforce development organizations and leaders consistently look for ways to encourage growth in different labor sectors through special events and campaigns resulting in a diverse, highly trained workforce. SWIL has some of the finest k-12, secondary, and higher education institutions in the country with thousands of well-educated and productive students and residents waiting to help grow your business!
Feeding into Southwestern Illinois’ successes in workforce development is Scott Air Force Base (SAFB) consisting of 3 wings and 36 mission partners. SAFB has an annual economic impact of more than $3 billion and is SWIL largest employer with over 14,000 employed, and one of the largest retired veterans’ communities in the country with over 47,000. SWIL enjoys a large portion of transitioning airmen continue to call SWIL home joining surrounding communities and companies as strong, leadership driven workforce. With passage of nationwide leading for spouse and professional military licensure, SWIL now has a highly desired military related new workforce with exceptional professional skills in aviation, transportation logistics, supply chain operations, cyber security, and geospatial intelligence skills just to name a few of the amazing management and leadership attributes of this technologically innovative workforce. These military retirees, active duty, guard, and reserve personnel live alongside SWIL residents who spend every day enjoying its quality of life.
With one of the highest standards of living in the country, SWIL families enjoy cost effective place live, work, and raise their children in strong, safe communities. Great schools, quality healthcare, affordable housing, and close proximity to St. Louis are a few reasons area residents choose to live in Southwestern Illinois with K-12 Schools among the top schools in the nation. When not cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues residents have access to outdoor recreation with 100+ miles of bike trails, hunting and fishing and access to many of the unique family friendly parks and recreational facilities sprinkled throughout the region.
With all it has to offer, one of Southwestern Illinois’ greatest assets is its pool of available, large-tracts of industrial-zoned land that is just ready for development. There are many flexible site options, open space and existing buildings available for occupancy. Major industrial parks exist in the region offering thousands of acres of green space ready and available for future development along the Industrial Corridor at Illinois Route 3 and the warehouse distribution logistics corridor at I-255 with Gateway Commerce Center.
We stand ready to help you to learn more about the resources, capabilities, and incentives for business investments. We extend a warm welcome and invite you to visit our great SWIL region! We hope to see you soon!