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November 17, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Launches Workforce Outreach Days to Connect Illinoisans with Services during Poor Economy
In response to economic slowdown, New Workforce Portal puts job search tools and state services at Illinoisans’ fingertips

PEORIA - As the struggling national economy weighs heavily on Illinois workers, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched “Workforce Outreach Days” to help people in North Central Illinois prepare for the job market, find new employment, and get their family through the economic slowdown.


This week, Governor Blagojevich also launched a new Workforce Portal (www.illinois.gov/workforce) to connect parents, job seekers, veterans, people with disabilities, small business owners and employers with state services that can help them navigate through the poor economic climate. Illinoisans with questions about these services can call 1-800-966-9708.


During the Governor’s Workforce Outreach Days, select Illinois workNet centers will not only provide their usual services such as free career planning, training and job placement services, but people will also be able to sign up for services like All Kids, Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), Warrior Assistance, the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), and get information about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Unemployment Assistance and Homeowner Assistance. LaToya Price-Childs, Deputy Director of Operations for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, joined workforce development officials and community leaders today on behalf of the Governor to make the announcement.


“I know that Illinoisans are suffering. We see evidence of that everyday as families make difficult decisions about budgeting their money, how to get by while they look for a new job, or how to ensure that their children have opportunities in this tough economy. While our state cannot fix the mistakes made by those on Wall Street and in Washington, we do offer services to help families through a difficult time. During Illinois Workforce Week, I want to make sure that Illinoisans know that they can get help through services like Illinois workNet, All Kids, and LIHEAP,” Governor Blagojevich said.


The Workforce Outreach Days will be hosted at five Illinois workNet locations throughout the state. At Illinois workNet sites individuals can search for jobs that match their interests and skills, find education and training programs, get assistance with resume writing, and prepare for interviews with prospective employers. The Governor’s Office will expand services offered at the five Illinois workNet sites throughout the state to include information about All Kids, unemployment insurance, as well as several other state programs that can help families who are fighting to make ends meet during the poor economy.


Although Illinois has a resilient, diverse economy, families and businesses have felt the effects of the poor national economy. So far this year, Illinois has lost 38,100 jobs. The Illinois unemployment rate has averaged 7.1% over the last three months, the highest level reported since November 1993. Illinoisans who still have jobs have seen their wages grow at a slower rate. Finally, the housing market in Illinois has followed the plummeting national market – this October home sales were down 31 percent compared to October 2007. 


“I am grateful to have been blessed with the opportunities provided through the Dislocated Worker Program. My accomplishment proves that success is achievable for anyone who has the motivation and the drive to pursue a career of their dreams,” said Cynthia Allen, former Dislocated Worker Program participant.


Illinois workNet is a cooperative effort among economic development, workforce development and education agencies, local workforce investment boards and their public and private partners. Illinois workNet allows individuals to search for jobs that match their interests and skills, as well as find education and training programs. Illinois workNet also offers businesses access to high quality applicants, training and valuable management resources.


Under the new system, each Illinois workNet Center and community partner employs at least one certified Illinois workNet advisor knowledgeable about the federal and state workforce system. Employers also will find tools to recruit qualified employees, information about training to upgrade the skills of their current employees and a wide range of resources to help Illinois businesses remain competitive.


Today, Governor Blagojevich launched a new partnership to help Illinois residents and businesses access additional career planning, training and job placement services. This new partnership between Illinois workNet, the state’s newly-transformed workforce development system, and CareerBuilder will now provide real-time access to job openings in high-growth industries such as: Healthcare, Information Technology, Transportation, Distribution and Logistics and Manufacturing.


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