Volume 02 | January 2019
Workforce in the News
Workforce development stories from McLean County.
Report: Insurance Industry Faces 'Talent Crisis'
A new report says that insurance companies will have to be more proactive—and pay more—to find and retain employees amid a “talent crisis” for the industry.
WGLT Scholarship
In addition to providing a public service to the community, WGLT also gives Illinois State University students an opportunity to learn alongside professional journalists through internships and paid positions.
Brandt: Help Wanted But Skilled Labor In Short Supply    
Brandt Industries is adding more jobs at its new agriculture manufacturing plant north of Normal, but a manager there said hiring has been slowed by the challenge of finding qualified workers.
Programs Train Workers To Meet Demand For Solar Installers
The number of solar photovoltaic installer jobs is expected to more than double between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In Central Illinois, the industry expects to add more jobs later this year as utility-scale solar farms are built. Dozens of solar farm projects are pending in McLean County.
Jobless Rate Rises In B-N For December
The jobless rate rose in Bloomington-Normal and 12 other Illinois metro areas in December, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Friday .
A Million Dreams
Workforce Efforts Highlighted at the
10th Annual Business Excellence Awards

The importance of workforce development and the collective efforts of COMPACT and its strategic partners were highlighted during the 10th Annual Business Excellence Awards Gala, hosted by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. After a stirring rendition of the hit song, "A Million Dreams" by Lily Mavros, a young student in Unit 5, Andy Shirk, outgoing Chairman of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Board and President of Beer Nuts, pointed out the symbolism of Lily's performance as a student "paving their way in the world."

He then asked, " how are we ensuring the success of our children and assisting them in finding a path that’s right for them in today’s economy and arming them with the skills that we as employers need to ensure our continued success?" Shirk went on to commend the team of volunteers that are tackling workforce challenges on behalf of the community. He noted that the success of COMPACT "is only feasible because of all of the investors and volunteers who are dedicated to this effort" and thanked the 15 private sector investors, the city of Bloomington, and the town of Normal in their support.

In conclusion, he made an appeal to the community for more involvement and support in this endeavor, saying, " Join us. Invest in this effort. Education (secondary and post-secondary) needs businesses to engage with today’s students to ensure they are prepared and ready to work for you. We need your leadership, mentorships, internships, and classroom participation. One of my dreams is that you’ll seriously consider my final ask before turning over the gavel, and find out more on how you and your business can help fulfill one of a million dreams for our students here in McLean County."
Upcoming Events
Education & Employer Connections

April 18th, 2019 from 3:00 - 6:00 PM
At Heartland Community College, Astroth Community Education Center
Registration is FREE!

Join COMPACT and leaders from the McLean County school districts for an afternoon to discuss how to strengthen the bond between public education and employers. Leaders and teachers from across McLean County will come together to show you the successes they have had in preparing students for a future in work, the challenges still faced in building programs and curriculum to meet business need, and ways to strengthen the connections to provide meaningful career exploration opportunities for our youth.

COMPACT 2018 Year in Review

COMPACT leadership took time this winter to look back on 2018. They looked at the successes and progress as well as acknowledging areas for continued improvement and opportunities to make an impact on workforce development.

As always, COMPACT is dedicated to finding workforce solutions that will help build a sustainable talent pipeline to meet our employer needs.

Employer Engagement Committee
Heartland Community College & COMPACT Launch the Essential
Workplace Skills Program

On January 25th, HCC launched the first module of the Essential Workplace Skills training program. This five module program was designed to fill the employer demand for improved soft skills in the local workforce. 

Learn more about this flexible, affordable retention solution at www.heartland.edu/EES .

Student Retention Task Force
The Student Retention Task Force continues to prepare for the launch of Becoming BN in June of 2019. Becoming BN is a 10 week program designed to connect interns and young people about to enter the workforce with each other and the community. They will have the opportunity to connect with local business leaders, participate in cultural events, support local charity, and strengthen their ties to the community. By building strong connections within the community and demonstrating all BN has to offer, Becoming BN hopes to show why living, working, playing, and connecting in BN is a great choice.

If you have interns or young workers in your organization please pass along the Becoming BN Survey  for them to complete. They can tell us what they think about Bloomington-Normal and what appeals to them. All participants are entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift card.

If you are interested in participating as a sponsor, an event host, or mentor, contact COMPACT for more information.
Program Development & Alignment
Committee Members Visits Arlington Heights, District 214 
Fifteen teachers, counselors, and administrators traveled to District 214, in Arlington Heights, to learn about their exciting career pathways programs and how they implement Redefining Ready . District 214's nationally recognized program focuses on the partnership between business, industry, and educators to develop meaningful work place opportunities for their students. The participants made the trip in order to learn about this program and how to take best practices and apply it to McLean County and its Career Pathways Development. Kathy Nicholson-Tosh, Chair of the Committee, commented, "This is an exciting program and we recognize that it will take a lot of collaboration and teamwork to bring our resources together to reach this level in McLean County."

The visit was sponsored by COMPACT and supported by a 60x25 Grant. Participants were from District 87, Unit 5, Olympia HS, and the BACC.
Cyber Academy
BNSTEM, Leroy HS, Tri-Valley HS, the BACC, and ISU have partnered to develop the first Cybersecurity Academy in Bloomington-Normal. Built from the need to meet employer demand for cyber skills, the Cybersecurity Academy is the culmination of the collective efforts of the partners to be proactive in meeting those needs. Based off the highly successful model of the Cadaver Lab in LeRoy, the Cybersecurity Academy brings students from across the county together to learn and experience these critical skills in a hands on experience that provides lessons in practical application of the skills taught. The program is supervised by teachers from the partners schools, and taught at the Illinois State University College of Information Technology by industry experts who volunteer their time to share their knowledge and prepare students for a future in cybersecurity. This is just another example of leaders in education partnering together and being innovative in meeting the needs of the community and students.

BNSTEM Partners with Defined STEM to
Connect Students & Employers

BNSTEM  is partnering with  Defined STEM  to connect local employers with McLean County educators and students to create meaningful work based opportunities. Defined STEM, which is currently being used in most of McLean County Schools, will connect with BNSTEM's  Content Provider Directory , a local platform that provides a mechanism for employers and educators to engage and create workplace-classroom connections. This partnership demonstrates that the work of BNSTEM is on the right track and is getting noticed from education providers. In January, Defined STEM and BNSTEM conducted interviews and created testimonial videos with several local businesses designed to showcase that organization and what they provide to students.
Want to Learn More About COMPACT &
Workforce Development in McLean County?
If you are looking to learn more about COMPACT and how you can help drive workforce development solutions, contact COMPACT to come to your organization and present on the wide variety of projects being worked on. We are available to both social and civic groups, as well as independent business looking to become more deeply engaged in these efforts. Contact us to schedule a date.
For information about COMPACT or information in this newsletter
contact Andy Bender, Manger for Workforce Development.
Is there someone in your network that might be interested in   COMPACT or workforce development?
Please forward & share!
Andy Bender | McLean County Chamber of Commerce | (309) 829-1185