Barriers faced by job seekers in the region persist | The Weekly of Time

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From retail jobs that pay an average hourly wage of nearly $ 14 to production and operations supervisor positions with average hourly wages of over $ 30, positions totaling 22,111 were available across the region in September, according to statistics from the Workforce Investment Board. County of Will.

“Our job site is filled with a variety of career opportunities with local employers,” said Caroline Portlock, director of the Workforce Investment Board.

One thing is for sure, the job market has improved significantly compared to a year ago, when the COVID pandemic was still raging. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the monthly unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in August (latest figures available) was 6.6% for Will County, down 0.5 % compared to July’s 7.1% figure and a drop of 4.5%. from August 2020.

While some critics have said people just don’t want to work and some have gone even further to add that many would rather remain unemployed than return to the workforce, Portlock said these types of statements are “too broad” to fully explain the complex situation that the pandemic has created for both employees and employers.

Job seekers, she added, report a few different barriers to re-entering the labor market. These include the challenges of distance learning and childcare, the fear of COVD infection, and whether the workplace is safe for thinking about life’s priorities – “no. willing to return to do the same job or a job perceived to be less ”.

“The salary,” she said, “is just one factor” for job seekers. “What is the total compensation? Is another question that many have answered.

Nauteia Brass, president of Joliet-based Insure It, is a board member of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, and she sees that many of the issues that black people in the area are facing are faced when it comes to job vacancies are some of the same ones they have faced for a long time.

“Will County has seen growth in employment opportunities for minorities, but most of the employment opportunities are in the warehouse industry,” Brass said. “The average starting salary for a warehouse job in the Will County area is often not enough to account for the cost of living. In addition to the low rates of pay, the hours are often long and the conditions rather harsh, as many of these positions require heavy lifting and workers have to be on their feet for hours.

Brass added that African Americans need access to more training programs in industries with higher wages, such as the construction industry.

“Joliet Junior College has a great free CDL training program, and minorities should take advantage of these opportunities when they arise,” she said.

The Will County Workforce Center, 2400 Glendwood Ave., in Joliet, is another resource for job seekers, according to Portlock.

“The Center is open to the public, so job seekers can use the computer lab to create their resumes or conduct online job searches, meet with career planners, attend the weekly job club meeting. or at the workshop, ”she said. “Our Mobile Workforce Center also continues to provide services throughout the county. ”

For more information on Workforce Center and Mobile Workforce Center, visit

https://will.works/calendar-of-events/, https://will.works/job-seeker-services/ and https://www.jobs4people.org/job-seekers/mobile-workforce-center/

or dial (815) 727-4444.

“Our Workforce Center Facebook page continues to post videos and tips for those just starting their job search or preparing for an interview,” said Portlock. “In addition, we are working with businesses to navigate through small business loans and grants that can help them during this time.

Visit the Centre’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/WorkforceCenterofWillCounty/

Brass said black-owned businesses in Will County are still feeling the brunt of the economic decline, as many of these businesses were already suffering from before the pandemic due to systemic inequities.

“Black-owned businesses could benefit from additional funding to help expand and create jobs within the


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