We’re number one!

That’s according to Site Selection magazine, which just named Illinois the top spot in the Midwest for workforce development after being ranked #2 last year. Last year’s winner, Indiana, slid to #3.

Here are the rankings for 2024:

  1. Illinois
  2. Michigan
  3. Indiana
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Ohio

Several factors go into an honor like this, but one key element in Illinois is the Pritzker Administration’s dedication to expanding innovative workforce programs and making critical investments that reduce barriers to well-paying jobs. The result: Illinois has become a thriving business ecosystem for jobseekers, employees, and employers.

“Governor Pritzker is keeping Chicago and Illinois at the vanguard of the global economy, and he continues to be the most proactive governor in the nation for economic development,” Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Jack Lavin said. “All the pieces are in place for us to continue this momentum, thanks to Governor Pritzker’s leadership and partnership with the Illinois business community.”

Indeed, the recognition from Site Selection magazine solidifies Illinois’ position as a national frontrunner in the area of economic growth. And the award isn’t subjective — Site Selection uses data from CNBC, U.S. News, and other widely accepted respected organizations.*

To cite one example of the state’s efforts, Illinois’ apprenticeship programs offer a wide network of opportunities, with over 400 Registered Apprenticeship programs that educate more than 20,000 active apprentices. The state’s youth apprenticeship programs target students aged 16-24 in high school and postsecondary education, offering options that lead to college, full-time employment, or a combination of both.

In 2021, the launch of the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program aimed to increase access to trade jobs for historically underrepresented populations. Since its inception, Illinois Works has awarded over $40 million to 36 diverse organizations, paving the way for more than 4,100 participants to secure jobs and expanded opportunities in construction and the trades.


*The components used to assemble these rankings are: (1) CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business, 2023 Workforce and Education sub-ranking; (2) U.S. News’ 2023 Best States for Education ranking; (3) ACT National Career Readiness Certificates for 2023; (4) the Workforce Preparation and Development component of the Council for Community and Economic Research’s State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database; and (5) whether or not a state has at least one financial incentive program in state policy for work-based learning according to the Education Commission of the States’ September 2023 50-State Comparison analysis.