by Kathy McAuliffe and Brian Tibbs
On May 25, 2016, the Illinois Workforce Partnership (IWP) awards were presented to the winners in DuPage County (LWA6), at the DuPage Workforce Board meeting, held at the workNet DuPage Career Center in Lisle. The awards were signed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Jim Schultz.
Award-winners were in the categories of Business Leadership and Individual Achievement.
These winners were respectively nominated and selected by the DuPage Workforce Board and by the DuPage County Workforce Development Division, both located in the workNet DuPage Career Center.
“The IWP awards give emphasis to the importance of the workNet DuPage programs and staff in helping individuals reconnect with the workforce and improve their lives,” says Mary Beth Marshall, DuPage Workforce Board Coordinator, “and the Workforce Board members enjoy hearing from and meeting the local winners.”
Business Leadership Award
The IWP Business Leadership Award recognizes a private sector company that has demonstrated leadership in the areas of workforce or economic development. The winner in DuPage County was Lombard employer
Common Sense Solutions (CSS). CSS has been an exemplary partner in workforce development, and has gone on to demonstrate tremendous support for the services and programs offered through the workNet DuPage Career Center. Common Sense Solutions has hired three employees through its relationship with the career center, and has made use of a federal OJT (on-the-job training) grant to help bring one of their new hires up to speed in his new position.
Jan Tomasik, VP of Human Resources for CSS, subsequently joined the DuPage Workforce Board, deepening CSS’s commitment to helping the local workforce by adding their unique private sector experience to help guide local workforce development initiatives.
Tomasik was excited to receive the award on behalf of her company. “The relationship CSS has with DuPage County Workforce Development has been mutually beneficial,” Tomasik stated. “We needed skilled people for our jobs, and that’s what we’ve gotten. They’ve truly been an asset to the company.”
Individual Achievement Awards
The DuPage County winners in the Individual Achievement categories were:
Jackie Freeman – When Freeman first applied for the Trade Act Assistance (TAA) grant, she had been underemployed for over 2 ½ years, working a retail sales job that paid $10 per hour — much less than the annual $85K she had earned at the trade-impacted employer, Quad Graphics. Through the TAA grant, Freeman attended COD’s Paralegal Studies Program; received in-depth job search assistance through the DuPage County WDD, and worked an internship at an employment law firm. Surprisingly, networking with her physical trainer led her to a contact at a printing company that needed a Director of Special Projects. She is now working for that company, and making an excellent salary plus generous bonuses.
Antonio Salamanca – Mr. Salamanca was unable to reenter the IT field after his last job, due to lack of formal training and certifications. He was approved for the WIA pre-WIOA Grant, and received IT training that included A+/Network +/MCSA. Soon thereafter, Mr. Salamanca attained a full time position that was related to his WIA training, in the PACE Systems’ Service Desk/IS Department.
Ronald Minter – When Mr. Minter came to the workNet Du Page Career Center, he had been virtually unemployed for over a year. He worked hard to get back into a Manufacturing career from a part-time retail job, through CNC training, and through the OJT (on-the-job training) grant once he was hired at his current employer. Both grants were funded by the DuPage County WDD.
Christopher Loveland – Despite transportation issues, and simultaneously working full-time while attending the MYWay youth program at the workNet DuPage Career Center, and going to school, Christopher successfully completed his MYWay internship at Spraying Systems. He did such an amazing job as an intern that the company decided to hire him. Then, while tirelessly working part-time at Spraying Systems, in addition to part-time at another job, he decided to add yet another obligation to his already busy agenda, to further his education. He completed a CNC training program and obtained a Certified CNC Machinist Certificate. Christopher has continuously proven his determination to be a productive and inspiring youth member of our workforce.
A corporate diversity/inclusion and globalization manager – Disappointed to be laid off after twelve years with an international corporation, she segued her experience and recent job-search training skills through the workNet DuPage Career Center into a high level position with the federal government. Her job-search training skills were honed through working closely with her counselor, and through attending Job Search Boot Camp at the center. Boot Camp is 5 days of intensive training in Research and Resources; Resumes, LinkedIn and Letters; Interview Skills, and Negotiation Skills. While this award-winner, like the others, is a supportive proponent of the services offered at the workNet DuPage Career Center, she kindly requested that her name not be publicized.
The DuPage Workforce Board is proud to have presented the IWP awards to employer Common Sense Solutions and to the local job-seekers mentioned above who worked hard to improve their skills and find employment despite obstacles. The board thanks all the award winners for their commitment and determination to improve the DuPage County workforce through their efforts.
Other Success Stories for DuPage County
Read about other DuPage County job seekers who have overcome obstacles to obtain full time employment and/or a new career.