Rochelle hopes people will return to work as $300 federal unemployment benefit ends

Local News

ROCHELLE, Ill. (WTVO) — The extra $300 a month in federal pandemic unemployment benefits ended Monday, and the City of Rochelle says it is trying to make it easy for people interested in re-entering the workforce.

“In my time, I’ve never seen a hiring market like this before,” said Beth Brown, general manager at Lineage Logistics, a cold storage distribution center at 975 S Caron Road.

Brown’s business is just one of dozens of companies in Rochelle that say they’re struggling to find employees.

“Currently, we’re seeing slow application. We’re seeing folks sign up for an interview, but not come to the interview,” she said. “We really need to get people in the door.”

Mayor John Bearrows says the City knows the worker shortage is a major issue.

“We talked about, in our development department, about what we can do for our local businesses,” Bearrows said Tuesday. “We had a couple of meetings with those businesses, decided what they needed, and we decided to take action and make it happen for them.”

On Thursday, September 16th, the City is hosting a job fair featuring 43 employers from several different industries.

“It’s a wide range of companies, everything from Lineage Logistics… we just talked to Walmart, to McDonalds, to tech companies like Tech Optic Solutions. We have Rochelle Community Hospital. We just have a wide variety of jobs, something for everyone,” said Peggy Friday, Rochelle’s Industrial Development Manager.

Brown says Lineage Logistics is doing what it can to entice workers, like boosting pay and offering some extra perks.

“We’re offering referral bonuses, sign on bonuses, just to get people in the door,” she said.

Friday said she hopes the job fair will attract and keep workers in Rochelle.

“There’s going to be a room for on-site interviews, so people can hopefully get a job right on the spot,” she said.

The hiring expo will be held at the Rochelle High School on Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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