Vermilion County

Leadership Community

Vermilion Advantage convenes regional efforts to address workforce development needs and challenges, focusing on advanced manufacturing, healthcare, IT, and transportation/distribution/logistics.

After three major employers in Vermilion County closed their doors in 1998, a focused effort to address escalating unemployment rates and a rapidly aging workforce became tantamount to stabilizing the economy of Vermilion County. The partnership between Vermilion Advantage, Danville Area Community College (DACC), and the Vermilion Vocational Education Delivery System (VVEDS) is at the heart of this effort. Since its inception, this partnership has made a concerted effort to address our local workforce.

Vermilion Advantage’s role in workforce development began in 1998. The departure of three major employers and escalating unemployment rates were a wake-up call to take action and led to the formation of the first industry cluster. The goal was to address workforce preparation gaps impacting existing and potential new businesses. Since then, Vermilion Advantage has served as the community’s natural convener to address workforce development needs and challenges. Since 2017, the organization has focused on five key industry sectors: advanced manufacturing, education, healthcare, logistics/distribution, and IT/technical services. Over 60 businesses and education institutions collectively make up the core economic pillars of Vermilion County’s economy. The collaborative focuses on two parallel strategies revolving around educational enhancement and community awareness.

In the early 2000s, the Area Vocational Center in Vermilion County (VOTEC) did not have enough enrollment to sustain itself. The superintendents of the Vermilion Vocational Education Delivery System (VVEDS) member districts took a bold step. They approached Danville Area Community College (DACC) to provide Career and Technical Education similar to what was provided at VOTEC, but on the DACC campus. DACC established College Express, a dual credit Career and Technical Education program on its campus for Vermilion County Juniors and Seniors in high school. Students can choose from 18 programs and earn at least 12 hours of college credit should they concentrate in that program for two years.

Danville Area Community College has been and continues to be the “glue” that binds K-12 education with business and industry. DACC is in constant conversation with K-12 education and industry representatives and strives to accommodate community needs. DACC continues to grow dual credit offerings to VVEDS member districts both in Career and Technical Education and academic dual credit. DACC also boasts a popular at-risk program called Middle College. Students in Vermilion County who are in jeopardy of not graduating from high school can attend Middle College to have an intensive but very structured credit recovery program. College Express is a mainstay in these students’ schedules. Many students get a taste of those career programs and choose to continue at DACC after graduation in those programs of study.

The talent pipeline management system brings businesses together to speak as a single voice to the local education system and the community. Since its inception, the business collaboratives have created and supported educational programs focusing on work ethics and stem-based programs.

Lead Intermediary Organization

Vermilion Advantage

Areas of Expertise

  • Employer engagement
  • Data collection to address common needs
  • Educational opportunities that lead to gainful employment

Prioritized Focus Areas

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Transportation/Distribution/Logistics (TDL)
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology/Tech Services

Key Successes

  • For over 25 years, all partners have collaborated to build a sustainable workforce development system to support the employment needs of the citizens and the existing business needs and build for future workforce projections.
  • Vermilion Advantage was one of seven communities selected to participate in the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and sponsored by USA Funds. Participation in the pilot phase of the TPM enhanced the sector-based partnership for Vermilion County.

2-Year Goals

  • Continue to identify the most critical career needs in the region and the appropriate learning pathways and talent pipelines for those jobs.
  • Create processes that support the use of multiple approaches for each targeted sector.
  • Support the development of pathways in manufacturing, healthcare, transportation/distribution/logistics, and information technology.
  • Develop marketing campaigns that promote targeted manufacturing, healthcare, transportation/distribution/logistics, and information technology careers to job seekers.

Community Updates

Career Expo to Launch in Vermilion County

On April 28, Vermilion Advantage and DACC will host the first annual Career Expo at the David S. Palmer Arena in Danville. The event will feature a host of employers from all career clusters.

Program Guides Students to College and Careers

Danville District 118 students will have a better idea about what they would like to do with their life after high school thanks to a newly enhanced Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.