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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2004

OPPORTUNITY RETURNS HELPS CREATE AND RETAIN ROCKFORD JOBS AND BUILDS A STRONGER REGIONAL WORKFORCE IN NORTHERN STATELINE

ROCKFORD – As part of his comprehensive plan to strengthen worker skills and increase business productivity and competitiveness in the Northern Stateline region, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of $161,000 in Opportunity Returns workforce training grants to Cadbury Adams, a confectionery manufacturer that has operated a plant in Rockford for 48 years.  The training grants will be used to develop and upgrade training programs to benefit approximately 90 new employees and more than 500 current workers.  The financial support being provided to Cadbury Adams, and other similar companies in the region, is one component of an aggressive outreach effort the Governor has launched to ensure that the evolving needs of business are being met in the 21st Century economy.  Also vital to that outreach are personal visits from state officials to gain a more intimate understanding of key challenges facing management and operations and ensure that the most effective means of assistance is provided.  Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin visited Cadbury Adams today for a first hand look at its operations and to meet with company management.       
 
“This Opportunity Returns grant to Cadbury Adams is an extremely effective use of state resources because its investing in the lifeblood of any strong economy: quality jobs.  Nearly 600 jobs will be impacted by the training that this funding will provide, strengthening not only the competitiveness of this major manufacturer, Cadbury Adams, but the economic vitality of the entire region,” Governor Blagojevich said.
 
The $161,000 in Opportunity Returns funding comes through the Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP), a new initiative geared towards keeping Illinois’ workers up to speed with new technologies and business practices.  That training, in turn, will also help businesses increase productivity, reduce costs, improve quality and boost competitiveness.  The ETIP program is an important component of the Governor’s “21st Century Jobs” Training Initiative, a new generation of employer-focused, customized training programs that are designed to address the needs of small, medium, and large-sized manufacturers. 
 
"One of our goals at Cadbury Adams is to develop, inspire, and motivate our colleagues," said Steve Townshend, head of operations for the Cadbury Adams Rockford Manufacturing facility.  "The training grant from the State of Illinois will go far in allowing us to continue to invest in our colleagues and our business, and, in so doing, our community.  We appreciate the State's vote of confidence in both our business and the people in our area.  We're proud to be an active member of this community and able to contribute to our collective success."
 
Cadbury Adams will use the grant money to develop and administer training programs for information technology and computer skills; equipment training and technical skills; workplace and team-building skills; and ISO9001 certification training.
 
Cadbury Adams USA LLC, based in Parsippany, NJ, is the U.S. confectionery business unit of London-based Cadbury Schweppes plc (NYSE: CSG), a global company that manufactures, distributes, and markets branded confectionery and beverage products in approximately 200 countries.  Cadbury Adams USA LLC's brand portfolio includes Bubblicious®, Chiclets®, Dentyne Fire®, Dentyne Ice®, Trident®, and Trident White®, which are produced at the company's Rockford Manufacturing facility in Rockford, Illinois.
 
“We know that in the technologically advanced, fast paced, 21st Century economy, the needs of business are constantly evolving.  To truly act as a valuable resource capable of catalyzing growth, we are taking a pro-active, aggressive approach to workforce development by working closely with companies to help assess their training needs and responding with critical support to increase their productivity.  By steadily building a more highly-skilled, efficient workforce, we’re unleashing the vast economic potential of this region,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.  
 
Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region.  This grassroots effort for the Northern Stateline region is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  This plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.


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