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Initiative looks to lower area unemployment rate

Job fair set for October at Sauk

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 9:28 a.m. CST

MORRISON – On Tuesday, both the Whiteside and Lee county boards voted to support an initiative to lower the area’s unemployment rate.

The initiative, called “Just Hire One,” is brought to the Sauk Valley by Business Employment Skills Team, Inc., a group that works within an eight-county area to provide training and funding for unemployed individuals, help them in their job search, and provide local businesses with a qualified work force.

Pam Furlan, executive director of programs for BEST, presented at the county boards’ meetings.

“It’s a home-grown initiative that started about 2 years ago,” she said. “We heard that if every business in the United States would hire just one more person than they were planning, it would bring the unemployment rate down. So, we thought that we would adapt that locally, on a smaller scale.”

Furlan, whose office is in Peru, said the initiative started in LaSalle County and included a successful job fair with 19 businesses participating. Of the 350 job-seekers, 157 of them walked away employed.

Last year, the program expanded to Bureau and Putnam counties with a similar success rate.

BEST will sponsor a career fair from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 15 at Sauk Valley Community College.

Furlan said that, based on past numbers, she hopes to see about 15 to 20 businesses and about 100 job-seekers at the fair.

To participate

Businesses interested in participating should contact Dianna Schuler at 815-433-4550 or Beth Heaton at 815-872-0255.

Job-seekers wanting to attend need only show up.

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