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The Weekly Business-to-Business Forum
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Comparative Kankakee County Employment and Wages, by Industry and Gender
Submitted By the Illinois Department of Employment Security
According to national data recently updated and released as part of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, median annual wages for women employed in private industry were 76 percent of those earned by men. If this simple comparison is replicated for Kankakee County (see Table: Kankakee County 2000-2007 Employment and Wage Comparison by Gender), employment and wage data discloses that the median wages of females are 61 percent of those earned by males. (Please note: Monthly wage levels have not been adjusted for inflation to current dollars.) Of additional interest: In those industries where wage levels are comparatively high, men hold far more positions than women, e.g., Construction and Manufacturing. Conversely, women hold the majority of the employment in industries such as Education, Healthcare and Social Assistance, and Accommodation and Hospitality — where wage levels are more modest. In Retail Trade, a very significant wage disparity exists in spite of approximate equal employment levels. Given these statistics, it has become increasingly important for employers to understand the role women play in our workforce. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), led by Director Maureen T. O’Donnell, regularly holds employer workshops and job fairs during which the agency provides information on the valuable skills candidates of all backgrounds — including minority, disabled, veteran or formerly incarcerated — can bring to the workplace. IDES offers a host of employment services to help all job seekers look for new work, plan a career change, refine resumes or obtain assistance with re-training and workforce development partners.
With nearly 60 locations throughout the state, local IDES offices and Illinois workNet Centers are the primary one-stop sources for workforce development services.
Employment Services offered at no cost to the individual:
Illinois Skills Match: www.illinoisskillsmatch.com I Internet-based job matching system I Illinois employers enter job openings and requirements I Job seekers register and enter their precise skills and experience I Job database matches employee requirements with job seeker’s skills and notifies both parties in case of an interview I A great job resource for veterans, students / teens, any new or reentrants to the labor force I Take advantage of assistance from your local IDES Employment Service Representatives. Illinois workNet – (in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO)): www.illinoisworknet.com I For individuals: Plan for your career and job search, find a job or change jobs, learn about careers, improve your education, connect to work support services and contact career advisors for assistance. I For employers: Illinois workNet provides businesses with the tools to recruit the best employees, to train and upgrade the skills of your current workforce, and to develop your business with a range of resources for entrepreneurs and established firms. Companies can search for talent, find training resources, locate information for managing their businesses, and connect with business service representatives.
One Source Workforce & Career Information: www.ilworkinfo.com I Internet-based career information tool – career changers can explore new employment opportunities I Research individual careers through occupational videos I Explore salary/wage rates throughout the state I Review occupations with the most openings, including the largest local employers I Match your interests to careers I CIS describes 500 occupations including job outlook, regional wage data, and requirements to enter the field. I Information on Programs of Study explains required training and schools offering courses in Illinois. I Check financial aid information for available loans, grants and scholarships. Veterans’ Services IDES and our partner agencies have a variety of resources that can help veterans find jobs and transition back to the civilian work force. Veterans Employment Representatives are available at each of our Illinois workNet Centers to help veterans access IDES employment services and information on Hire Vets First, Transition Assistance and Training programs. Re-entry Service Program RESP prepares formerly incarcerated people for work, develops jobs for them, and helps them transition into their new jobs. Reentry Liaisons are available at IDES’ Illinois workNet Centers and local offices throughout Illinois to help match employers with qualified formerly incarcerated job seekers. Launched in 2005, RESP is led by a management team which provides technical assistance and training to IDES staff on best practices in the employment of the formerly incarcerated. Workshops and Job Fairs, held regularly for job seekers and employers To contact the nearest office or Illinois workNet Center, or to work directly with an Employment Service or Job Training representative, call 888.367.4382, TDD: 312.793.3184. For information on all services offered by IDES please visit www.ides.state.il.us.
The $tart-Up $olution:
Some Surprising Reasons Why Our “Bad Economy” Is a GREAT Time to Start Your Own Business
Ed Hess | B2B contributor
No one has to be told how grim the employment scene is these days. The ever-higher prices consumers are paying for everything from gas to food to health insurance make it pretty clear that we’re not in an economic boom. But don’t despair. If you find yourself out of a job, wishing you could change jobs, or simply needing a second source of income, here is a suggestion for you: Start a small business. Numbers that say less than 50 percent of start-ups survive four years and that only 35 percent of start-ups survive for seven years. These start-up failures are more a reflection of the owners’ inability to properly run a business than of the market for small businesses itself. If you’ve done your homework and you’re truly committed, don’t let either the statistics or the bad economy stop you. So if you have a business idea that you think could work, here are some things to consider: It’s the perfect time to be in charge of your own destiny. The harsh truth is that these days your work life expectancy in Corporate America can be pretty uncertain. The benefit of being a small business owner is that, in times like these, you control your fate. You can make changes in your business as you see fit. Quickly learning the ropes will make a better business owner out of you. Getting started during a bleak economic situation means you’ll immediately have to fine tune your business skills. You’ll have no choice but to be as frugal as possible. And you will quickly learn the importance of pleasing every customer, every time. You can start small and keep your job as a safety net. Starting small gives you the ability to keep your day job while you try to get your business off the ground, and it lets you “test drive” your busi-
ness idea without making a full financial commitment. If your business starts to pick up, you can make the decision to transition into a full-scale business or keep things small and use your new enterprise as a way to make some extra money on the side. Yes, credit is tight, but there are other ways to finance your operation. First, figure out how much of your savings you can put toward the business without incurring too much financial risk— typically, around 20 percent of your net worth. Then, consider asking your friends and family if they would be willing to contribute. Explain why you think your business will work and let them know how and when you will pay them back. You might also consider putting some of your expenses on a credit card. If possible, use plastic for small expenses only as you don’t want to acquire too much credit card debt when you are starting out. Small businesses can adjust more easily to tough times than corporations. Big, bureaucratic corporations and even mid-size companies cannot weather economic lags as easily as small businesses. You might think that large companies can just throw money at the problems they encounter during a slow down. Even large, well-capitalized companies can run out of money shockingly fast, and what’s more, they aren’t nimble enough to change courses when they need to. That gives small companies a distinct advantage. You can get better things cheaper. If you are a small business owner looking for employees, you’ll likely be able to hire more skilled workers for less money than they might normally accept. Maybe they desperately need the work, or maybe they just understand that slow economic times mean lower salaries (and they trust you’ll make it up to them when the recession is over). You may also be able to get a good deal on an office lease or storage space. The real estate market is suffering right now so more and more property owners are looking to make money on their properties any way
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they can. Outstanding service can be the “secret weapon” that helps you beat the competition. One area in which a small business should always excel is customer service—good economy or bad. But when things are down and customers have less money to spend, they really care that they’re getting a lot of bang for their buck. They’ll also be looking to cut out those businesses that aren’t meeting their needs. As a smaller company, you’ll have an advantage over larger competitors because you are better positioned to provide consistent, outstanding service. Small businesses just tend to be more flexible and can “turn on a dime” to meet client needs as they arise. When it’s based on a good business opportunity and backed by commitment and plenty of old-fashioned hard work, a small business can do quite well during tough times. So, if you want to start a business—even in today’s bad economy—take the necessary steps to ensure it’s a viable opportunity, and get to work.
Ed Hess lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and spent most of his business life advising entrepreneurs and financing their business ventures. In July 2007, Ed joined the faculty of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia as a professor of business administration and Batten executive-in-residence where he teaches courses on building small businesses and organic growth. About the Book: So, You Want to Start a Business? 8 Steps to Take Before Making the Leap (FT Press, September 2008, ISBN: 978-0-13-712667-5, $18.99) is available in bookstores nationwide and from all major online booksellers.
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