The Economic Development Council is devoted to attracting new business to the Bloomington-Normal community and as well as helping local businesses grow and prosper. They provide extensive data on several important economic and social factors in the McLean County area, including average growth rate, median household income, high school dropout rate, labor force, and average annual pay. This data, along with extensive additional information, can help all members of the McLean County community be more informed on our challenges and strengths.
Between 2013 and 2014, United Way of Mclean County (UWMC) led the 2014 Community Assessment, which sought to analyze the needs and resources in health and human service systems in Mclean County. In order to complete the assessment, UWMC collaborated with the Applied Social Research Unit of Illinois Ste University, students, and community members. The assessment was designed to gather information on the following subject areas:
- Community challenges/issues
- Strengths in the health and human service system
- Weaknesses in the health and human service system
- Gaps in services
- Duplications of services
- Under-used or unrecognized resources/services
- Recommendations/Opportunities for improvement
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 report describes a healthy community “as one that continuously creates and improves both its physical and social environments, helping people to support one another in aspects of daily life and to develop to their fullest potential.” Discovering the issues that hinder the cultivation of this environment was the first step in becoming a health community. In that same vein, the motivation for conducting this research was to provide focus on county-wide efforts to address common issues and support health and human service planning in the future. Additionally, agencies, organizations, businesses, and government entities could use the assessment data for planning and reporting purposes.
Between August 2013 and April 2014, a total of 1,962 McLean County residents participated in the assessment through surveys, focus groups, and key informants, in addition to extensive secondary data. The assessment was able to identify challenges and strengths in community issues and the health and human service system including, income and poverty, housing and homelessness, employment, health, and health care, child and youth development and education, transportation, and more.