Digital Adaption Key To Manufacturing Industry

Embracing new technologies will be an important avenue as growth is projected to continue in the manufacturing industry.

Illinois: Providing Talent, Infrastructure

Located in the heart of the U.S., Illinois is a long-established manufacturing leader. A diverse range of manufacturers thrive in the state because of its central location, infrastructure, robust workforce, and ecosystem of support. From EV makers to food innovators, manufacturers are advancing in Illinois.

Electric Vehicles. Building on its long, storied history in auto manufacturing, innovation, and logistics, and the state’s commitment to 100% clean energy, EV manufacturers find a natural fit in Illinois.

Manufacturing Industry, digital transformation
Rendering of the Lion Electric site in Joliet, IL. (Photo: Courtesy Lion Electric)


Home to some of the nation’s top engineering and IT/computer science schools, Illinois produces the talent EV companies need. Its 244 higher education institutions, including the third largest community college system in the nation, help produce the third-largest talent pipeline from EV battery and related programs in the U.S.

The state has also passed legislation to enable industry growth. The Illinois Climate & Equitable Jobs Act prioritizes EV adoption, and the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois Act provides significant incentives for EV, solar, renewables, and energy storage component businesses to grow.

From startup to Fortune 500, and from EV to agribusiness, companies are choosing Illinois to manufacture their goods and ship them across the country and world.

Industry leaders, including Rivian and Lion Electric, are manufacturing electric buses, trucks, and SUVs in the state, paving the way for other suppliers to scale their businesses. For example, battery manufacturer Gotion recently announced an investment of more than $2 billion to build a gigafactory in Illinois.

Plastics and Chemicals. Illinois is among the top five states in the nation and has the third-largest GRP for plastics and chemical manufacturing.

The state produces the talent needed for chemical manufacturing; more than 18,000 students graduate annually from manufacturing programs.

Manner Polymers’ new manufacturing facility in Mount Vernon is a prime example of a company that will benefit from this talent pipeline. An industry leader in polymer compounds, Manner is building a state-of-the-art facility to manufacture PVC compounds; a 15-acre solar field will power the facility.

The state has ample sites available for plastics and chemical manufacturing, many of which have been assessed through Intersect Illinois’ Vetted Sites program, which provides site details that help companies make quick and efficient location decisions.

Food Manufacturing. Benefitting from a robust food production ecosystem and unmatched connectivity via rail, air, port, and roads, food producers in Illinois have reliable access to an extensive network of suppliers, research, and innovation.

Illinois is at the center of the rapidly growing food industry. The state is:

  • No. 1 for private food manufacturing research and development ($815 million)
  • No. 2 for food-related patents (2,081 patents)
  • No. 2 largest food processing cluster nationally ($14.8 billion GRP)

From giants including Conagra, Mondelez, and Kraft Heinz, to more than 450 agtech startups, a diverse range of food companies are growing in Illinois.

Recent developments include Ferrero North America’s $214.4 million expansion at its Bloomington plant to produce Kinder Bueno chocolate bars and Tillamook’s plans to open an ice cream factory in Decatur, its first outside of Oregon.

From startup to Fortune 500, and from EV to agribusiness, companies are choosing Illinois to manufacture their goods and ship them across the country and world.

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