What About All Those Unemployed?

The latest data I saw from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), shows 18,184 individuals that are unemployed in the Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Now that’s a lot of people and I’m sure they have varying levels of education, skills and poverty levels.

I’m also told that there are 35,000 local residents who do not have a high school diploma or GED certificate.

The latest study done by AngelouEconomics identified two urgent, critical, time-sensitive priorities that addresses workforce development to improve the region’s competitiveness and move the region’s economy forward.  They stressed the 25 to 44 age groups as a key group and they stressed attracting talented people to the region.

My question then, is what about the 18,184 individuals that remain unemployed?  Are we developing programs to educate them or retrain them?  After all, they already reside in the region; not much convincing to have them relocate here; they’re already here!

I am aware that there is a Workforce Investment Board initiative aimed at developing programs to make getting a GED available to as many as sign up.  But is this enough?  How can we get more of the unemployed into retraining programs, getting that GED certificate and other programs to get these individuals back into the workforce?

Maybe we have the solution to the workforce problem right under our nose!



  1. AmazingScott

    My thinking is that anyone with education, skills or resources has already left Rockford and what’s left is a very large number of unskilled workers. I spent 6 months trying to fill a position that required minimal computer skills and finally gave up; I’m currently working 16+ hour days trying to keep up with the orders myself and when things slow down in the spring I might consider finding someone worth teaching the basics to. That’s been a bad investment before, though, which is why I had hoped to find someone who was familiar with some simple computer stuff. I think that Rockford has excellent resources for people who want to improve their skills but that for some reason only a few people are taking advantage of them…

  2. I took an online course in Information Technology graduating with honors in 2010. However I have struggled to find any job where I might use my training. I am 66 years of age I have this wonderful diploma but no one will give me a job because I have no experience and I have no experience because no one will give me a job!!! I have most recently toyed with the concept of just giving up and retiring. I am also a veteran which doesn’t seem to matter much anymore!

  3. Glenn, thanks for the question. Have you tried contacting the Workforce Connection on Main Street. they have a network of people and companies. I’m sure you must go to the several Job Fairs that are held. As far as getting experience, you may want to do some volunteer work for the many non-profits around the area who would welcome your training.

  4. i agree with scott, there are business’s that have jobs the problem is finding someone that is qualified and able to learn. that seems in short supply around here. i feel for glenn, you have to accept entry level wages around here and i am sure that is part of the problem.