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Grundy County is participating in strong area economy

Everyone loves a news release and ribbon cutting and the Grundy Economic Development Council is no exception.

However, the economic engine in Grundy County is robust, thanks to existing business and industry. Thanks to local employers, Grundy County’s unemployment rate is the lowest in 10 years.

Local industrial and commercial businesses pay about 50 percent of Grundy County’s property taxes helping keep homeowners’ taxes lower. A significant portion of these benefits come from Grundy County’s manufacturers.

The Small Business Administration reported that 60 percent of new private sector jobs are created by existing businesses. This is one of the motivators for the Grundy Economic Development Council’s 2018 retention program which is set to begin this fall.

Every two years the GEDC conducts retention visits at local businesses. The insight and information that is received from these visits helps drive new programming and the allocation of resources at the GEDC office.

Retention visits are an excellent way to take the pulse of the Grundy County economy. Joining the GEDC in this effort are governmental officials and education leaders.

Creating a retention team, provides different perspectives and problem solving. Best of all, the visits help build relationships among industry, education and government. Providing a world-class workforce for our industries is a top priority. Retention visits provide direct feedback and direction about the skills businesses need to compete in the global economy.

As a result of our visits, the Summer Internship Program was born. Businesses were struggling to find skilled employees and local superintendents stepped up to assist in identifying Grundy County’s top talent.

This summer, there were 15 businesses providing 39 local students paid internships. The Joliet Junior College’s Operations Engineering and Technician program also was a topic of discussion during retention visits. This program has full enrollment since its inception.

The GEDC retention program identifies expansion opportunities, companies at risk and company or community problems.

The retention visits also help problem-solve community or company issues. In addition to workforce, power, traffic, drainage and many other problems have been uncovered and resolved after a retention visit.

In the coming months, GEDC’s retention teams will be meeting with local business and industry leaders. The confidential visits help solidify relationships, problem solve and uncover opportunities to keep Grundy County growing and competitive in the global economy.

October is National Manufacturing Month and the Grundy Workforce Services along with the Grundy Area Vocational Center produced an excellent video to highlight local opportunities. With manufacturing being the 3rd largest industry in Illinois, Grundy County is home to over 50 employers, with average yearly earnings exceeding $99,000 a year.

The video highlighted top manufacturers including Metalstamp, Costco, LyondellBasell and Aux Sable.

It also drew attention to the fact that 30 percent of manufacturing workers in Grundy County will be able to retire in the next 10 years.

These positions are in a field that is now considered clean, high tech, and provide an excellent wage.

Students and parents are encouraged to talk with their guidance counselor concerning these careers.

The video can be viewed at

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