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Economic growth continues in Grundy County

This time of year, it seems there is construction around every curve. Despite the inconvenience, that construction represents jobs, growth and progress. Certainly the newest unemployment numbers point to prosperity in our Grundy County communities. The unemployment rate is 3.5%, and labor availability continues to be a challenge for employers but a great time to be a job seeker.

Energy powers local economy

Grundy County is home to significant energy assets, the largest of which is Exelon’s Dresden Station. In the news lately, Exelon’s CEO, Chris Crane, reported in an earnings call that the Illinois nuclear fleet is under risk of early closure.

The federal license for Dresden’s two reactors is scheduled to expire in 2029 and 2031, unless extended. With low natural gas prices expected to continue into the future and the expansion of renewable wind and energy projects, nuclear energy is struggling financially nationwide. With three nuclear plants in the region, Braidwood, Dresden and LaSalle, nuclear energy is integral to the economic well-being of Grundy County.

Thanks in large part to Exelon, Grundy County has 18 times the number of energy-related jobs than the national average. In addition, the company provides high-paying careers, property taxes and philanthropic giving that are vital to the economic health of our communities.

Shop local this holiday season

The busy retail season is upon us, and now is a good time to remember our local downtown merchants when preparing your Christmas lists.
A healthy downtown business district provides great value to local residents. Local retailers offer a unique shopping experience and excellent customer service in an enjoyable, stress-free atmosphere. So remember when you go to a fundraiser and see items donated by local store owners or take your children to downtown trick or treating, return the favor and shop local.

Recruiting starts now – Grundy County Internship Program

“This program has provided
very strong, enthusiastic candidates.
I hope our site continues to be a part of the internship program,” a local business leader said.

The office is reaching out to local businesses and organizations to host interns for Summer 2020. The internship program is a cooperative effort between business and education. The four local high schools pre-screen high-quality, high-performing students to work in local businesses. With about 100 students submitting applications, there is ample opportunity to grow the program.

The number of internships has increased from only nine positions when it began to 40 this year, thanks to the quality candidates. It is a great opportunity to educate our young people about the opportunities right here in Grundy County.

For local businesses, this is a chance to showcase your organization and create a pipeline to your future workforce.

The variety and type of work experiences is vast. This year students worked in engineering, healthcare, IT, human resources, government affairs, accounting and many other fields. Both public and private sector organizations are encouraged to contact the Grundy Economic Development Council to learn more about the program.

Local businesses, large and small, all play an important part in the well-being of Grundy County. Do your part whether it is participating in the internship program, hiring local or shopping downtown. Little things can make a big difference.

• Nancy Norton is the president and CEO of Grundy County Economic Development Council.

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