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Consortium seeking to grow local work force

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The DeKalb-Ogle Workforce Development Consortium has hired Gene Fogle as its industrial work force coordinator. The consortium addresses workforce development needs and opportunities in the DeKalb-Ogle county area. It is the area’s major industries, economic development entities and educators working together to create the workforce of tomorrow and beyond.

“This is the first time in my memory that DeKalb and Ogle counties have worked together to address a common challenge,” Paul Borek, DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. executive director, said in a news release.

The Industrial Workforce Coordination Pilot Program emerged from two workforce summits convened to determine how to best contribute to industrial growth and student career development.

The two counties were already collaborating on Kish CareerLink, an interactive website that connects students and employers.

The pilot program hopes to show students what types of industrial careers are available, teach them the required skills, provide them with workplace experience, and clarify how qualified and motivated individuals can attain careers in advanced manufacturing and industry that are financially rewarding and satisfy the need for accomplishment.

“This is a program without a lot of precedent,” said Dave Juday, chairman of Ideal Industries, said in the release. “It represents an exciting opportunity for industry and educators to impact the future of our students, our companies and our communities.”

Industry provides stability to area employment and strengthens the tax base, and education provides employees to industry. Rochelle Township High School Superintendent Jamie Craven said this program will have a positive impact on the workforce, as well as the students.

“Without a doubt, providing the area’s industry with a quality work force is a goal for our district,” Craven said in the release. “This program will enable our students to relate to the jobs that are available after graduation and prepare appropriately.”

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