FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2005
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that a partnership between state government and the private sector is helping find jobs for people displaced by two major Gulf hurricanes who are now living in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) contacted the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois employers with 250 or more employees to ask them to identify job openings for hurricane evacuees living in Illinois. More than 70 companies responded to the call and have identified hundreds of jobs.
"When we opened our doors to thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina – and now victims of Hurricane Rita as well – we took on the responsibility of helping them get back on their feet. We’re providing housing, health care, food, clothing and we’re helping to find them jobs. By working with our friends in the private sector, we’re matching job skills to jobs available. I’m proud of the way this state responded to the wide range of needs hurricane victims are facing after the disaster on the Gulf Coast," said Gov. Blagojevich.
Major corporations like General Electric, Harris Bank, Aon Corporation and Caterpillar are among the more than 70 companies that responded to the state’s request. IDES is using its free online job matching service, Illinois Skills Match to help match people to potential jobs.
"IDES was asked by our affected sister states to identify jobs that may suit those who had to evacuate their communities. Our goal is to use Illinois Skills Match to quickly match Katrina evacuees with suitable employment and help them recover from this disaster as quickly as possible," said IDES Director Brenda A. Russell.
Russell also notes that jobs listed at IllinoisSkillsMatch.com are open to all Illinois residents. IDES uses Illinois Skills Match to help employers find qualified employees with the right skills. Only a few of the jobs listed with ISM are restricted to hurricane evacuees; the vast majority are available to the general public. IDES will also work with employers who are targeting jobs for hurricane evacuees to identify qualified Illinois residents for these jobs if a qualified hurricane victim is not found.
The state is working to ensure evacuees are aware of the job assistance created to help them. IDES staff is providing direct assistance to the evacuees in IDES local offices and at emergency sites throughout the state. The IDES website,
In addition to the Illinois Skills Match, links from the IDES homepage include other Katrina-related employment sites. The U.S. Department of Labor's America's Job Bank has a special site, Katrina Recovery Jobs Connection (
Other businesses have reached out and provided services to Katrina victims. One of the best examples is a partnership with Spherion, a private staffing firm. Their employees volunteered their time to help Katrina victims assemble resumes and set up free email accounts.
While it will be days or weeks before these efforts may translate into actual employment for the Katrina victims, the state is encouraged by the initial response from Illinois employers, and the spirit of cooperation it has received from the private sector.
The Blagojevich Administration is also helping displaced victims process unemployment claims and facilitating job training. IDES and Central Management Services employees have set up remote computer stations in the state facilities in Tinley Park, Alton, Elgin and Rockford, where evacuees are being provided housing.
Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29th, Gov. Blagojevich ordered all state agencies to respond in a coordinated manner to help both the recovery and cleanup efforts in the Gulf Coast, and the victims coming into Illinois. Illinois’ efforts to date include: