City of Galesburg offers proposal to maintain an IDES presence in the area

January 17, 2013 03:54 PM
Mayor Sal Garza has been in communication with Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Director Jay Rowell to discuss the announced closure of the Galesburg IDES office. Through these discussions, there is a clear understanding of the anticipated loss of federal funding of $7 million to IDES and what actions IDES has implemented to date with 10 offices already closed, 10 more consolidated and 216 intermittent employees no longer scheduled. Galesburg is one of seven offices scheduled to close by mid-March that include Centralia, DeKalb, Mattoon, Murphysboro, Jacksonville and East St. Louis, cutting an additional 192 employees statewide. "The IDES office and its employees provide an invaluable service to the area and without this direct assistance there is legitimate concern that job seekers and their families will be further impacted in connecting with gainful employment," stated Garza. The Galesburg area, like many communities, is situated in a rural setting and has additional challenges to overcome. For example: transportation, computer skills and connectivity for a segment of population that often needs hands-on assistance to submit applications and complete forms, to name just a few of the challenges.
Mayor Garza and IDEA Director Rowell have agreed that a proposal to assist IDES and addressing its challenges in maintaining an IDES presence in Galesburg will be developed and submitted and given consideration by IDES.
"I believe we do have to adapt to this projected change, however, I believe it would also be a prudent approach for a measured change over a more appropriate time period. This would support a smoother and more successful transition toward providing better customer assistance via the internet and over the phone versus the less than 60 days targeted for a complete closure," Garza said.
Director Rowell and Mayor Garza have also agreed to work together in discussing the mutual challenges with area legislators, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, and state Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson to secure their assistance in helping our communities. Representative Moffitt said, "In order to meet the needs of our area citizens, government programs need to be as accessible and user-friendly as possible. In order to do that, it is very important for IDES to have a presence in Galesburg. I commend Mayor Garza for his efforts to try to keep some IDES presence in Galesburg and will help in any way I can."
Mayor Garza is currently assembling local partners and, with their assistance, will be drafting a competitive proposal that partners with IDES to meet necessary objectives that bring about a more equitable balance for our area.


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