Illinois, the 21st state and Land of Lincoln, thrives as the fifth most populous area per-capita in the country. A vital transportation hub, Illinois connects a variety of industries and economies with the rest of the country and the world. The historic O’Hara Airport is known as an important international gateway connecting to over 200 destinations around the world and, along with Midway Airport, supplies over 500,000 jobs to the state.
Technology has boomed across Illinois; the state is ranked seventh across the nation in college and university supported research and development. As a result, profitable tech and telecommunications companies have settled in Illinois such as Motorola Mobile, Westell Inc, and Tellabs. Illinois also ranks highest of the midwest states in nonfarm employment with over 23-percent of those employed in this category working in trained professions in high-tech manufacturing. Tech jobs in advanced manufacturing are projected to be the fastest growing professions in the United States with many of the jobs requiring a minimal postsecondary education.
Major, tech-intensive fortune 500s including Boeing, John Deere, and Caterpillar supply thousands of highly skilled tech jobs across the state. Illinois is also a major exporter of crops and natural resources with a strong agricultural economy in the north as well as coal, lumber, and oil in the south. Corn Products International, another Fortune 500 company is located in Westchester, Illinois. Bustling metropolitan Chicago is the heart of the Midwest with a flourishing economy and a strong collegiate center. Northeastern Illinois University, University of Illinois in Chicago, and Chicago State University are all located in the famous city.
Besides Chicago’s famous public universities, Illinois also offers an impressive range of public and private colleges and trade schools that cater to the state’s specialized labor force needed to maintain the wide swath of businesses and industries that call Illinois home: technology, agriculture, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. For individuals pursuing a postsecondary degree in Illinois, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission offers an extensive list of financial aid and grant opportunities.