---- — Vermilion County residents might want to find a moment to pause and take a breath before heading into 2014. The year rapidly coming to a close has been a busy one.
The most obvious changes come in Danville’s retail scene. Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx, Meijer, Book World, Ross Dress for Less and Burlington all opened their doors in 2013, along with other professional services and restaurants.
Downtown Danville also continues to see its retail tenants grow with a variety of small specialty shops.
The additions created a need for workers and provided local shoppers with more variety. That’s a plus on both counts. City officials also hope to see a boost in the sales tax revenue thanks to the new stores.
The area’s industrial base reflects that of the national scene to some extent, but large employers such as ThyssenKrupp and Flex-N-Gate continue to appear healthy. Coupled with the distribution centers and smaller employers, the area’s industrial base remains diversified and strong.
The same can be said for another large employer in the area, health care. The Department of Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System continues to expand, with plans to add more unique housing opportunities for retired veterans. Presence United Samaritans Medical Center, Carle, Christie Clinic and Polyclinic all offer residents ample choices for their care.
All of this is not to say 2013 was perfect. The area’s jobless rate remains high. But for those who want to learn new skills required by many of the jobs in today’s marketplace, the area can take advantage of Danville Area Community College’s many training programs, some designed to meet certain needs of local employers.
It’s easy to sit back and criticize the lack of this or the loss of that. In the face of the rapidly changing job market, however, Vermilion County and its surrounding area stands in a good place to see even better results in 2014.