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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our American Job Center locations are currently operating by appointment only.

If you are an employer or career-seeker that is interested in setting up an appointment or receiving services, please call  815-847-7574 or email info@theworkforceconnection.org


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Reflecting On National Workforce Development Month

Reflecting On National Workforce Development Month

As a national leader in Workforce Development, I am afforded the opportunity to work with a wide range of groups across the country. There are so many components that make up the world of workforce development. With each dimension of the work, a door opens to partner with a variety of organizations and corporations. Workforce development is built on partnerships based on the scope and magnitude of the desired community impact and efforts to support a vibrant regional economy. I whole-heartedly believe in the theoretical framework designed for workforce development and prosperity for all.

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2020 Virtual Annual Meeting: You’re Invited!

2020 Virtual Annual Meeting: You’re Invited!

Join The Workforce Connection Board and Chief Elected Officials' Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m! Featuring Keynote Speaker Ron Painter, CEO and President of the National Association of Workforce Boards, our annual meeting will...

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Workforce Wisdom Podcast

The Human-Centered Approach to Innovation | Episode 17

In this episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is speaking with Dr. Paige Niehaus, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Innovation Office at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit Michigan.

Dr Niehaus is a passionate leader with 29 years of community college experience. Prior to her current role, she was the Director for Workforce Development at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois. As the Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the Design Center of WCCCD, she has a leadership role in growing the district’s innovation and entrepreneurial capacity.

Caring About the Work You Do Makes It Easy to Do a Great Job | Episode 16

In this episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is speaking with Cathy Cornelius, Board Assistant for The Workforce Connection board. The two speak about leadership and the ability to lead from any position in the organization.

As the Board Assistant, Cathy works with Elected Officials from three counties, a Mayor, Executives from the business community, college Presidents, other government leaders, as well as the Executive Director of The Workforce Connection. 

Don’t Be Afraid of Technology | Episode 15

In this episode, Dr. Lisa Bly-Jones is interviewing Dan White, Board Fiscal Manager at The Workforce Connection. Dan has over 25 years of accounting experience, on top of 20 years of IT experience. Using his analytical skills and critical thinking, Dan was able to transition the board staff – within less than a week – to being fully functional in a remote capacity.

Leading in Education: Is School Out for COVID? | Episode 14

In this week’s episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is interviewing Scott Bloomquist, the Regional Superintendent for Boone and Winnebago counties in Illinois. Scott has over 20 years leadership experience and began his leadership development in college when he founded and served as President of the the local chapter of FCA at Concordia University in St. Paul Minnesota.

Leading with Two Titles: Mom and CEO with Karin Norington-Reaves | Episode 13

Karin M. Norington-Reaves is a lifelong public servant with more than 25 years of experience in education, law, advocacy, community, and workforce development. In 2012, Karin became the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) upon her appointment by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Racial Equity in Workforce | Episode 12

In this episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is speaking with Amanda Cage, Chief Executive Officer for National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS). NFWS is a national network promoting economic opportunity and prosperous communities through investment and innovation. Based in Washington D.C., the National Fund partners with philanthropy, employers, workers, public and private community organizations, and more than 30 regional collaboratives to invest in skills, improve systems, and generate good jobs.

Workforce Development: Rising to the Calling with Bob Lanter| Episode 11

Bob Lanter, Executive Director of the California Workforce Association, is a leader in workforce strategy and the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act for the state of California. Bob has worked almost two decades in the public sector and non-profit industry, with experience in the field of workforce development and job training. He has held various positions in local workforce investment systems from case manager to the Executive Director of the Contra Costa County Workforce Board. He gained national/federal experience working for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration as a Federal Project Officer.

Higher Education, Collaboration, and Public Administration | Episode 10

In this episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is joined by Dr. Rena Cotsones, Associate Vice President of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development for Northern Illinois University (NIU). In her role, Rena works with regional partners to create and implement collaborative approaches to advancing education, economic development, workforce development, and innovation initiatives in northern Illinois and Chicagoland. 

Dr. Bly-Jones and Dr. Cotsones discuss working in higher education, the benefits and methods of effective collaboration, and how Rena made her steps to her current position, modeling after her father. 

Employment and Labor Law-Management | Episode 09

In this episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is joined by Roberta (Bobbie) Holzwarth, Attorney at HolmstromKennedy, and serves as the Chair of the firm’s Employment & Labor Group. Bobbie represents employers in various employment and labor matters, including: counseling in complex ADA, EEO, FMLA and other workplace matters, sexual harassment investigations and training, negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, preparation of employment and no-compete agreements, and the preparation and review of employee handbooks and personnel policies. Bobbie also represents employers and employee welfare benefit plans in connection with employee benefit matters.

Legislating for the Bold and the Vibrant | Episode 08

In this episode, Dr. Bly-Jones is joined by State Representative Maurice West to discuss his rise in politics, public access to technology, and much more. Rep. West is serving his first term representing the 67th House District in Rockford, IL. and lives by the motto of “serving the bold and the vibrant”.

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The Workforce Connection– an Illinois WorkNet Center and partner in the American Job Center network. This program is funded by The Workforce Connection, Inc., Il Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and the U.S. Department of Labor. The Workforce Connection is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers on this website may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment by calling TTY (800) 526-0844 or 711. Contact the Equal Opportunity Officer at 815-395-6626. This program is subject to the provisions of the “Jobs for Veteran’s Act” Public Law 107-288, which provides priority of services to veterans and spouses of certain veterans.