Chamber Members:

What a beautiful day to wrap up the week! We hope you are all looking forward to the weekend and the month ahead. We will be looking ahead as well as we present our next Virtual Conference next Wednesday, June 10 at 1 PM. It will be a town hall meeting focusing on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and moving forward into the next phases.

Please join us as we have invited community leaders from various business sectors, including education, healthcare, banking, economic development, and governmental affairs to discuss what to expect moving forward.

We will be joined by:

Dr. Arvid Johnson, President, University of St. Francis

Ruth Colby, President & CEO, Silver Cross Hospital

Marc Gorsch, SVP/Joliet Market President, Hometown National Bank

Steve Jones, Interim City Manager, City of Joliet

Mike Paone, VP of Government Affairs, Joliet Chamber of Commerce

You can register here:

Surprising News on the Economy

Economists were expecting nothing close to good regarding job rebounds as businesses slowly start to reopen. On the heels of the largest one-month loss of jobs in our history, the May jobs report showed one of the largest one month jump in hiring. Our economy surprisingly added a total of 2.5 million jobs after losing 20.7 million in April. Unemployment sat at 14.7% at the end of April and now after the unexpected bounce back, end of May unemployment drops down to 13.3%. We certainly have a long road back, but this is encouraging news.

Sports Wagering Changes

Governor Pritzker signed an executive order late yesterday temporarily removing the in-person sports wagering registration requirement for casinos, racetracks and sports facilities authorized to take bets. Such registration has been shut down since the Governor ordered casinos closed on March 16 as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The action means you can go online and establish an account, but actual betting can’t occur until the Illinois Gaming Board issues temporary licenses, which could happen as soon as its June 11 meeting. The accounts can be placed with the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and the Argosy in Alton, which briefly accepted registrations at the casinos.

Accounts also can be opened with five other casinos that have applied for temporary sportsbook operating permits. Those are the Par-A-Dice in East Peoria, Casino Queen in the Metro East area, Grand Victoria in Elgin, and the Hollywood casinos in Joliet and Aurora.

New Virtual Career Training for Illinois Residents

Governor Pritzker today announced the launch of free online career training geared toward helping Illinoisans who have lost their jobs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a partnership with online learning platform Coursera, Illinois residents now have the opportunity to enroll in free virtual training courses offered via Get Hired Illinois portal to provide training and credentialing that will help prepare dislocated workers for jobs in Information Technology (IT) and other marketable fields.

Thousands of job seekers in Illinois will have access to high-quality online workforce development and IT courses offered by accredited institutions. Registration for the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative will be made available to Illinois residents from now through September, and all courses must be completed by December 31, 2020. Participants who complete courses in full will receive a certificate at the end of the training. Here is the link:

Susan Harwood Training Grants

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced the availability of $11.5 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants for nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities.

The Harwood Training Grant program supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards, including the coronavirus.

Details on the grants and how to apply by July 20, 2020 are here:

That is all for this week. Again, we hope you enjoy your weekend and look forward to having you join us next week for our Virtual Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Get your questions ready for our panelists.

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors



Mike Paone

Vice President – Government Affairs

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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