When a group of NCI Works’ affiliates began to work on a joint initiative with the five Chambers in LaSalle County last fall, they knew that the economic climate was probably not real conducive to asking employers to “just hire one” more employee for their business. However, they did not let that stop them from at least trying to get the local business community to change their thinking about hiring.
With that goal in mind, these determined community leaders kicked off their “Just Hire One” campaign by getting a resolution supporting the initiative passed by the LaSalle County Board in January, and followed that up with a very successful job fair on Feb. 20. Thirty businesses, representing manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and the service industry, along with 353 job-seekers participated in the three-hour event which was held at the NCI Works Illinois workNet Center in Ottawa. Initial follow up with the 30 participating businesses indicate that 11 of them have added 157 new hires since the launch of the “Just Hire One” initiative.
“We know that studies indicate that for every 500 new hires, the unemployment rate in LaSalle County would go down by 1 percent,” said Pam Furlan, executive director of BEST Inc. “But we also know that for every one unemployed person who gets hired into a new job, that impact will reach well beyond just that one person, and will be felt by family members and local area businesses. So just imagine the impact 157 new hires will make in our local communities.”
Furlan said they are still following up with the other businesses who participated in the job fair for any updated information on additional hires.
“We would like to think our efforts made a difference with businesses other than just those that participated in the job fair, so if any other employers out there hired one more employee as a result of this initiative, we would love to hear from them,” she said. “They can contact Dianna Schuler, our business services manager, at 815-433-4550 and share any information or stories they may have.”
With the success of Just Hire One in LaSalle County, plans are under way to host an initiative in Bureau County in the near future.
NCI Works’ affiliate agencies that are coordinating the “Just Hire One” campaign are BEST Inc., Experience Works, Illinois Department of Employment Security, and the IVCC Dislocated Worker Center.