Knox County’s Workforce is Focused on Your Success

We Have Skilled, Motivated People Who Are Eager to Work

To understand what makes Knox County’s workforce among the most motivated and productive you’ll find anywhere these days, we need to look to their parents and grandparents. Our communities have a rich heritage in agriculture, railroading, and manufacturing, fields in which a solid day’s work was seen as a point of pride. Today, our labor shed of 410,000 people (within an hour’s drive) continue to find satisfaction in a job well done.

410,000 Labor shed

45 Average commute (min.)

51 Percent with postsecondary study

2,000 Carl Sandburg College Students

Educated and Eager

Those workers are well-prepared for the needs of companies like yours thanks to a rich educational infrastructure focused on employer expectations. More than half of local workers have earned some college credit and 31.6 percent hold an associate’s or higher degree.  Each year, our 50-mile labor shed graduates almost 6,000 students with 2-year degrees, another 6,000 students with 4-year degrees, and almost 2,000 students with post-graduate degrees (Source: JobsEQ). See more of our educational attainment data here.

Quick Commutes

That labor shed spreads across 12 counties in Illinois and Iowa, thanks to the convenience of I-74, which makes it easier for workers to travel. Averaging commuting time is just 45 minutes because traffic flows smoothly here.

Developing Skills

The Galesburg Area Vocational Center, a career and technical education center serving over 300 high school students from eight area school districts, opened its state-of-the-art facility in 2021. The center works closely with the Knox County Area Partnership to ensure classroom education reflects employer needs and incorporates site-based learning. Programs are offered in areas including CNC machining, welding, computer systems and technology, augmented reality, engineering design, automotive technology, CNA/healthcare, and building trades.

Postsecondary Programming

Two colleges in Knox County prepare students for careers. Carl Sandburg College, a community college serving nearly 2,000 students, provides workforce-focused programs in fields such as CNC operation and programming, industrial manufacturing and maintenance, welding, agriculture, and healthcare. Its Corporate College program delivers customized training onsite, virtually, or at any campus … and non-credit online classes offer a convenient way to boost skillsets.

Knox College, a private liberal arts college with 1,200 students, offers more than 60 courses of study including 42 majors, 57 minors, as well as pre-professional and cooperative programs. Other nearby higher education institutions include Black Hawk College, Monmouth College, Western Illinois University, Bradley University, and Illinois Central College.