Careers, Wages, and Trends

Manufacturing in Central Illinois​

For over 150 years, the Greater Peoria Area has been integrally linked to the manufacturing industry. Carriage factories, pottery makers, casting foundries, glucose factories, ice harvesters, furniture makers, and agricultural equipment makers all made their way to Peoria in the mid-1800’s. Through the rest of the century, more and more businesses and manufacturers popped up, and in 1925, Peoria became home to one of the most recognized companies in the world: Caterpillar.

Today, Central Illinois remains a manufacturing hotspot, teeming with facilities designing, producing, and shipping products around the world. Over 250 other manufacturing facilities and organizations have planted themselves in Tazewell and Peoria Counties.

What’s more, they have open positions and are ready to fill them.  

Jobs Around Central Illinois

Assembly ImageAssembler (Component)

Job Duties: Assemble metal products, partially or completely, working at bench or on shop floor

Assembler (Heavy Equipment)

Job Duties: Assemble heavy or capital equipment and sub-assemblies

CMM Operator

Job Duties:  Operate a computer controlling a Coordinate Measuring Machine

CNC Machinist (Laser, Lathe, Mill, Tube Bender, Weld Robot)

Job Duties: Set up and operate CNC machines to perform machining operations such as turning, boring, facing, threading, drilling, and tapping

CNC Programmer

Operates CAD/CAM computer software to generate numerical control (NC) programs used to control NC machine tools that drill, mill, turn or torch

Design Engineer imageDesign Engineer (Mechanical)

Job Duties: Develop production drawings from engineered data, custom designs, and specific customer requirements using engineering software suites in addition to creating and improving product design and functionality


Finish Grinder

Job Duties: Grind and smooth surfaces of various sheet metal work pieces prior to finishing operations

Foundry Technician

Job Duties: Assist other workers in the foundry concerned with melting metal, pouring metal into molds, removing castings from molds, and dressing castings in a team environment

Inspection Technician (Quality Control)

Job Duties:  Inspect products to ensure print specifications are met

Machine Operator

Job Duties: Handle machine setups and run non-complex equipment and jobs within expected tolerances and rates

Maintenance Technician

Works on preventative, planned and reactive maintenance for production equipment, overhead cranes, hoists, forklifts, presses, drills, air compressors, air dryers, buildings, grounds, fleet vehicles, dust collectors and other production assets throughout the plant

Machining/quality image Automation image 


Job Duties: Learn paint line procedures and develop skills needed to efficiently handle paint line operations and other utility tasks

Process Engineer

Plans, directs, and coordinates process improvement by performing manufacturing engineer functions, CNC programming, and troubleshooting existing processes

Robotic Weld Technician

Ensures manufactured parts meet and/or exceed customer requirements. Set up workstations for production by performing required duties on machinery, tools and materials

Shipping Technician

Job Duties: Learn and assist in the preparation, packaging, management, and storage of valuable products and assets in addition to loading and unloading materials in the daily shipment  and warehousing of goods

welding imageWelder (Fabricator)

Job Duties:  Weld, fabricate, and assemble metal products

Welder (MIG, TIG Specialist)

Job Duties: Welds metal parts with welding equipment as specified by layout, welding diagram, or work order

Welder (Repair)

Job Duties: Welds components being brought in from customers for repair services and must be able to meet certification standards while satisfactorily welding build up metal, joining metal components together, and performing repairs to cast metal

Manufacturing Support Positions

Manufacturing produces an array of many other job opportunities that are in support of the direct manufacturing positions. These jobs are vital to the successful operation of most manufacturing companies:plant support image

  •  Buyer (Purchaser)
  •  Production Control Specialist
  •  Project Manager
  •  Estimator
  •  Accountant
  •  Marketing/Communications
  •  Human Resources Specialist 
  •  Customer Support Representative
  •  Sales Specialist
  •  Safety and Training Specialist

Entry-Level is Just the Beginning!

Showing who you are and that you are interested in the company can pay off big.

Understand Your Organization 

Ask yourself these questions:
 • What are the strategic goals of the organization?
 • How does your department’s work fit into the overall strategy?
 • How is your boss’s performance measured?
 • What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform?

You may even want to make lateral moves – to similar positions in different departments – to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. If your exposure is broader, you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities.

Increase Your Responsibility

Look for opportunities to lead projects. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities, to learn and practice other skills. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. You’ll expand your range of experience, and you’ll make your boss’s job easier – it’s a win-win!

Get Innovative

To prepare for a promotion, always think about how to do things better. That’s one of the defining characteristics of leaders. How can you do something cheaper, faster, or with less waste? If you prove that you’re interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas, this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion.

Set Promotion Goals

Ultimately, you’re the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. If you rely on someone else to make it happen, you’ll probably end up disappointed. When you run into obstacles, find ways to work around them. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals, and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate.

Communicate Your Desire

Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. That won’t guarantee a promotion, though. Let people know what you want, and then proactively work to achieve it. As you execute your promotion plan, let others who have influence over the decision know what you’re doing. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is not a time to be quiet and shy. You need many people to know what you’re capable of and what you want.​​​​​


Manufacturing in America