New Unemployment Report Shows Vanishing Stateline Workforce

- FREEPORT - Tonya Love walked the streets of downtown Freeport on Tuesday, looking for places to apply for a job.  Love is an unemployed Freeport resident who has been searching for a job since 2011. “It's kind of hard finding a job here, they need more opportunities,” she says.

Although she has not found any job opportunities as of yet, she did find the Workforce Connection. The Workforce Connection is an organization that offers job training opportunities for people throughout the Stateline area. 

Freeport Mayor, Jim Gitz believes that programs like the Workforce Connection are vital in improving the local economy.  “We need to make sure the workforce is trained, is available, and is ready for employment,” says Gitz.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports big drops in the local workforce. Winnebago and Boone counties have created 400 jobs in the past year, yet have seen a huge drop in the unemployment rate.  In other words, while the region is adding 30 jobs a month it has lost an estimated 450 workers each month.  Stephenson and Ogle counties have also seen big drops in the unemployment rate even though they have lost jobs over the past year.

With massive layoffs at Sensata, MetLife and Titan Tire, Mayor Gitz says the area has lost employers that once helped Freeport thrive, forcing many to drop out of the labor force or leave town to find work.  “I think it has an effect on the local economy.  Is it catastrophic?  No.  Is it helpful? Absolutely not.  Would we like to have MetLife here?  Sure, we would do just about everything including give the shirt off our own backs to have those jobs.” says Mayor Gitz

The Freeport Mayor also believes that preparation is an important part of the application process, and says some Stateline job applicants are lacking in that category. “We need to make sure that we do everything that we can to get people access to training programs and encourage them to participate in those programs,” says Mayor Gitz.

Upcoming Events:

· Illinois Department of Employment Security will host workshops to help
people find jobs using its Illinois JobLink website. The workshops will be
held Wednesday, August 27th at The Workforce Connecıon in Rockford at
9:00am and 2:00pm and at the Freeport Public Library, 100 East Douglas
Street, at 2:00pm.

· Goodwill of Northern Illinois is hosting a workshop on Wednesday, August
27th at 1:30pm on “Needs and Wants: Financial Skills for your Job Search”
at its office at 615 N Longwood Street in Rockford.

· The Workforce Connection in Belvidere, 998 Belvidere Road, will host a
workshop on Thursday, August 28th from 9:00-11:00am for individuals interesting
in learning more about Job Training in Manufacturing.

· A free Beginning Computer Class is being offered on Thursday, August 28th
from 1:00-4:00pm at The Workforce Connection in Rockford. Registration is
required at 815-847-7588.

· There will be a workshop on Resume and Interviewing Tips presented on
Thursday, August 28th at 2:00pm at The Workforce Connection in Rockford.
The workshop is being presented by Rasmussen College in preparation for
the school’s September 10th job fair.

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