SVCC HLC Self-Study Document

Sauk Valley Community College
HLC Self-Study Document

September 19-21, 2011

Economic Context

The Sauk college district is predominantly rural. Most of the manufacturers that formed the early tax base of the district have closed or moved, leaving a primarily service economy (see Figure i).

Top Taxpayers in 1965
(Source: Out of the Prairie, p. 34)
Top Taxpayers in 2008
(Source: SVCC Business Office)
Northwestern Steel and Wire Manufacturing Wal-Mart Stores (Whiteside) Retail
Commonwealth Edison Utility Duke Energy Lee, LLC Public Service
Medusa Cement Manufacturing Amcore Investment Group, NA ** Financial services
Frantz Manufacturing Manufacturing ISTAR Dixon, LLC Financial services
National Manufacturing Manufacturing CGH Medical Center Health care
RB & W Manufacturing St Barbara Cement, Inc* Manufacturing
Lawrence Brothers Manufacturing Wal-Mart Stores (Lee County) Retail
General Electric Manufacturing Lee County Landfill, Inc Public Service
Charles O. Larson Manufacturing Crest Foods, Inc Manufacturing
Illinois Forge Manufacturing Wakefield Communities (Coventry Village) Health care
*Closed 2009
** Acquired by Midland States Bank in 2010

Findings from the FY09 study, described below, show the shift in employment opportunities:

The loss of manufacturing jobs and recent economic uncertainty have had the expectable consequence on local employment, with the three counties that form the bulk of the Sauk district all ranking near the top of the state unemployment report (see Figure ii).


  April 2010 April 2011
County Rate Rank* Rate Rank*
Bureau 10.9 31 9.9 15
Carroll 11.7 21 9.2 24
Henry 9.8 49 7.2 80
Lee 11.3 24 9.7 17
Ogle 13.7 3 11.9 2
Whiteside 10.9 31 9.0 30
Illinois 11.4 -- 9.1 --
* Unemployment rank among 102 counties (Highest unemployment = 1)
Source: State of Illinois

New warehousing and packaging businesses along Interstate 88 have provided some new employment opportunities, and negotiations between the state and federal government could eventually open an unused state prison in the Carroll County town of Thomson as a federal facility.

The economic climate is changing the community in ways significant to the college:

  FY06 FY11 5 Year Change
Bureau 36.0% 42.4% 4.5%
Carroll 27.1% 46.4% 17.4%
Lee 31.6% 40.7% 6.8%
Ogle 21.4% 37.0% 11.5%
Whiteside 36.2% 46.3% 7.8%
Total 33.3% 43.8% 8.2%
Source: Illinois Department of Education
  FY06 FY11 5 Year Change % Change
9th grade 1,798 1,559 -239 -13.3%
10th grade 1,824 1,440 -384 -21.1%
11th grade 1,733 1,418 -315 -18.2%
12th grade 1,594 1,361 -233 -14.6%
Total 6,949 5,778 -1,171 -16.9%
Source: Illinois Department of Education

In FY09, the Board of Trustees requested a study to determine why some Illinois community colleges were growing and how Sauk compared to those institutions with the highest growth.  The resulting study, which was used in developing the FY10 Strategic Plan, revealed several demographic characteristics of the Sauk district that differed from the high-growth districts:

County Bureau Carroll Henry Lee Ogle Whiteside Totals IL Totals
% w/college degree 27.70% 21.90% 36.30% 21.50% 28.10% 22.80% 26.40% 39.70%
# w/college degree 1,112 379 2,040 1,000 1,689 1,641 7,861 714,086
Total Population 4,017 1,727 5,620 4,662 6,009 7,211 29,246 1,798,840
< 9th Grade 1.90% 0.30% 1.60% 2.60% 4.60% 4.00% 2.90% 5.00%
9-12 Grade, No Diploma 7.90% 5.90% 7.00% 18.50% 11.30% 7.90% 10.00% 10.10%
High School Grad/GED 34.60% 42.30% 26.90% 32.20% 30.60% 37.30% 33.00% 22.90%
Some college, No degree 28.00% 29.60% 28.20% 25.20% 25.40% 28.10% 27.20% 22.30%
Associate's Degree 11.50% 7.10% 13.60% 9.40% 9.80% 9.50% 10.50% 7.40%
Bachelor's Degree 13.70% 10.80% 19.10% 10.30% 14.60% 11.10% 13.60% 23.50%
Graduate Degree 2.40% 4.10% 3.70% 1.80% 3.70% 2.10% 2.80% 8.80%
Source: US Census Bureau, 2000