Reflecting on a successful job fair


As I begin this article, we here at the city are just following up on our recent hiring event held Thursday, Sept. 16 at Rochelle Township High School.

First, I want to thank Superintendent Jason Harper, his board of education and RTHS staff for allowing us to utilize the blue gym at the high school for this event. This event was a first of its kind here in Rochelle and had a very strong, successful turnout.

We preliminarily have not received the total number of actual hires, but believe it will be a very good number. The number of attendees we feel was in the neighborhood of 200+, and there were 40+ businesses with jobs to offer. The offerings were a very wide variety, from commercial, industrial, small businesses, health care and other service-related positions.

The fire department brought us a bell to ring every time a job was filled, which created some much-welcomed excitement, especially coming out of the pandemic. The energy within the gym was great to see and experience.

I also would thank Dr. Laurie Borowicz of Kishwaukee College and all of her staff for all the assistance given to coordinate this event. The city staff did an amazing job as well taking this vision to a reality by placing the right people with the right task to make it a success.

Many thanks go out to Jason Anderson & Peggy Friday of the city’s economic development department for all the coordination. Also to Jenny Thompson of our promotions department for getting the word out. Jacob Becker also did an amazing job of target marketing for the city.

Other sponsors that helped make this a success include Hormel/Rochelle Foods, Superhits 93.2, 102.3 The Coyote and the Rochelle News-Leader.

Thank you also to City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh for allowing city staff to work on this event “full steam ahead”.

One of the best results of the event is knowing that we were able, as a collaborated effort, to change the lives of not only those that acquired a new job, but to be able to assist our local businesses with connecting with those that want jobs.

I look forward to having another event soon, perhaps March 2022. Relative to other updates, the former Hickory Grove facility, that is scheduled to be razed this winter, is slowly getting closer to fruition.

The partial state of Illinois funding for this project has been committed to, however there are some other issues relative to easements, utilities and other things that need to be addressed. My hope is the actual process could hopefully start by mid-November.

The Prairie State issue as it relates to legislation, has been determined as of now. The plan is to have all publicly-owned coal fired plants at 45 percent reduction in emissions by 2035, and if not, they would have until 2038 to comply. If that goal is not reached, that would require shut down as of 2038. The ultimate date to be completely 100% clean energy is 2045.

I will try to keep everyone updated as we move forward, however in the past few weeks, legislation has been extremely fast-moving.

As fall has arrived, enjoy the fall colors, appreciate all that we have and stay safe. Until the next column, once again I say thank you for affording me the opportunity to serve as your mayor.

John Bearrows is the Mayor of Rochelle.

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