Will County continues to provide an attractive location for business as a result of its strategic location within the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area which is the third largest MSA by population in the US as designated by the US Census Bureau. Will County has always benefited from being a major transportation hub served by a dense system of roads and railways. Ever since the opening of Logistics Park Chicago in 2002, the county’s transportation assets have expanded to include several modern inter-modal facilities and a dense network of warehousing and distribution operations. As a consequence, Will County is already the largest inland container port in the country and is rapidly becoming the third largest maritime port in North America in terms of container volume. Will County’s prominent position as a container port makes it even more appealing to businesses seeking to reduce transportation costs, improve supply chain diversification and profit from easy connections to foreign markets.
In addition to its leading role in the logistics sector boasting more than 88 million square feet of warehouse space, Will County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States with the population more than doubling between 1985 and 2014. By 2040, The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning estimates that Will County’s population will reach more than 1.2 million up from 685,000 today. The rapid growth of the county’s population, and its high level of median family income compared to state and the national averages, makes Will County quite attractive for new commercial establishments several of which are nearing completion.
Finally, Will County has a vibrant manufacturing sector employing high technology to produce specialized products not easily replicated overseas. The county also expects to benefit from the growing in sourcing movement by which companies are returning the production of certain items to the US because of favorable costs or closeness to markets. In particular, Will County hopes to build on existing strengths in the metal product and machinery manufacturing sectors. This expansion will be helped by the recent designation of the Chicago Metro Region, of which Will County is an integral part, as an initial member of the Federal Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Initiative. This designation made by the US Department of Commerce makes the area eligible for Federal assistance in promoting the manufacturing sector.
In the last analysis, economic growth in a competitive world economy depends on a well-trained workforce. Will county is fortunate in that its strong industrial traditions have ensured that a pool of highly skilled tradesmen is available to serve the interests of employers. At the same time, area colleges and universities are closely attuned to the needs of industry and offer numerous programs designed to train students for careers and to update skills through continuing education, training seminars and workforce development.