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posted: 12/8/2012 8:00 AM

Kane to fund private sector job training to spur hiring

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The national job numbers for November show unemployment is down again.

But the last unofficial count of the unemployed in Kane County stood at 21,600 as of October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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County officials announced a new program this week to try to reduce that number.

The county's overall unemployment rate stands at an official 7.8 percent. That's better than the state's overall unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, but it's still higher than government officials would like to see.

Kane County Department of Employment and Education officials said part of the problem stems from local workers lacking the skills to do the jobs local employers have available.

"What we're seeing is local employers are experiencing some skill gaps in the available workforce," said KCDEE Administrator Renee Thompson. "They are unable to find candidates who meet their qualifications."

Employers also generally lack money to train new workers in the down economy. So county officials are laying the groundwork for a new on-the-job training program.

The program involves the county matching local companies with workers who have an aptitude for the position the employer wants to fill.

The company hires the worker, then the county helps pay to train the new worker by funding 50 percent of that new employee's wages during the training period. On-the-job training can last up to six months.

The county will use $85,000 in federal grant money to get the program started.

Officials estimate that money would help put about 10 people back to work. The county has a partnership with the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing to help locate employers who can benefit from the program.

The $85,000 is only an initial investment in the program. If it proves successful, more funding may be put into it.

Employers can find more information about the program at kcdee.org, or by calling (630) 966-1435.

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