Kinzinger's Push For "Dream" Jobs


OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) -- There are dreamers out there who want to change the world, but don't want to end up walking the floor or working on line the line in solid manufacturing job in Ogle County.

However, as the world changes, demand has the done the same for workers at Woods Equipment Company. They say they've hired 19 employees in the last year and are looking to hire 23 more in 2014.

"Sure has been a period where manufacturing wasn't cool," says Jerry Johnson of Woods. "It wasn't what kids wanted to do."

"You know, kids will go to college and they'll go get that nice corporate job in Chicago," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R). "But what we're seeing is that a lot of folks want to stay in the area where they were born in. The bad thing about Illinois is that we're a chief exporter of youth."

As he toured Woods Wednesday afternoon as part of a push for manufacturing jobs, Kinzinger says retaining the youth is hard when job opportunities don't stay in Illinois either.

"The challenge Illinois has and the challenge especially the Stateline has is were not losing jobs to India anymore, we're losing 'em to Indiana and Iowa and Wisconsin," Kinzinger said. "I think the state of Illinois has to do a much better job of getting in line from a business perspective."

Johnson says his employees at Woods start at $15 an hour and it's because of their skillset.

"I remember when I was a kid when I was watching Johnny Quest and the lazers," Johnson recalled. "Now it's industrialized. Watch our lazers. Watch our robots. Those are all computers skills to run those type of machine tools."

"I think it's an outstanding job. You know it's hard work, there's no doubt about that. But it's very rewarding to build something."

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