Plans for city’s hiring expo formally announced

City responds to the labor shortage in wake of COVID-19

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ROCHELLE – The City of Rochelle and the office of Mayor John Bearrows formally announced Monday plans for the Rochelle Community of Opportunity Hiring Expo to be held on Sept. 16 in the blue gym at the Rochelle Township High School, 1401 East Flagg Road.

The in-person, city-wide expo will feature over 40 commercial, retail and industrial companies offering full-time, part-time and seasonal work. Some will be offering signing bonuses, employee referral rewards and other incentives to separate themselves from other employers. The expo is open to the public from 2:30-5:30 p.m.

From the rise of working remotely to higher wage demands, COVID-19, additional domestic responsibilities and the leverage of workers considering changing jobs, there are countless factors driving nationwide labor shortages. Rochelle officials take business retention seriously and are committed to proactively working to attract and retain a strong and qualified workforce.

“Workers are seeing the world differently,” Bearrows said. “With expanded unemployment benefits soon to expire, we want job seekers to consider the benefits of making a future in a community full of opportunities for a great work-life balance.”

The city is also working on a workforce and wage analysis and solutions to childcare and transportation concerns that may likely keep a segment of the population unemployed.

Prior to the start of the Expo, employers will have the opportunity to network with other business leaders and human resource professionals. A Hubs for Hire hour will expose several hundred Rochelle Township High School juniors and seniors to opportunities for part-time, seasonal, job shadowing, mentoring and internships. Interested students can also learn what might be required academically to fill future career positions.

RTHS District #212 & Community Consolidated School District #231 Superintendent Jason Harper is involved in the planning of the expo because the districts understand how crucial it is to expose young adults to career opportunities beyond high school.

“This type of exposure is crucial to helping our students best understand their goals and how to position themselves to achieve career success,” Harper said.

The Rochelle Community of Opportunity Hiring Expo is open to Rochelle’s employers only and there is no cost to attend. Companies must register through College Central at https://bit.ly/3fCkv3r. Registration will close with the first 40 companies to complete the brief online registration.

Job seekers are asked to register at Eventbrite to be eligible for an entry into two cash drawings of $300 and $200. https://hubsgethired.eventbrite.com Workers do not have to register online, but it is strongly encouraged.

The expo is also sponsored by Kishwaukee College, RTHS and Rochelle Foods Hormel. A strong social media, radio and print campaign will be used to reach the largest segment of the unemployed including millennials, women and retirees.

“I want to thank our community partners Kishwaukee College and RTHS and their respective boards for helping city staff plan one of the largest hiring fairs in the Greater Rochelle Area”, City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said. “I appreciate the honest input we’ve received from employers and what they are doing to adapt to the needs of workers to be an employer of choice.”

COVID-19 protocols in effect at the time will be strictly enforced at the expo.