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Adams County leaders consider new program to fill hundreds of vacant jobs

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PROBATION EMPLOYMENT 6PKG

QUINCY (WGEM) -- Adams County officials said they're working with local organizations to give people who are on probation a second chance all while helping employers who are struggling to fill jobs.

The Adams County Board Chairman Kent Snider said there are more than 600 people in the county who are on probation. He said this program could help them get on track, stay on track and into the workforce.

"They're going from unemployment or no income to a chance to making $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year, plus they would have medical insurance for them and their families. There's so many benefits from this program, besides just getting them out," Snider said.

Snider said they're working with Knapheide, Denman, Manchester Tank, Hollister-Whitney and Titan Wheel to fill head-of-household job openings.

He said this program will be a partnership between Great River Economic Development Foundation and Bella Ease to give them the resources they need to stay on the right track before and after the hiring process.

Bella Ease Executive Director Cheryl Williams said her organization will help those on probation who get chosen for this program with resources and one-on-one mentors.

"Everyone doesn't go to work and understand the list of things that's going to come up once you start a job. So, someone that's never been employed, or have only been employed minimal amount, they don't recognize the things that are going to come up day to day that's going to face them," Williams said.

Great River Economic Development Foundation President Kyle Moore said the benefits of this program will extend beyond those who use it. He said it will impact the local economy.

"We have over 700 open jobs in the city of Quincy and we know that every employer is struggling with filling those jobs and everybody in our everyday lives are feeling the effect of a worker shortage," Moore said.

Moore said they'll assess the pilot program for six months to see how many people will land a job, the true cost of services provided and ways to remove barriers that come up in the process.

"We've got 100 individuals that we think can gain meaningful employment and we know we have 700 open jobs in the community. So, if we can work to reduce that, it's a win-win for everybody," Moore said.

Moore said the county probation office will select people who've maintained regular contact with their probation officer and have demonstrated the will to do better.

Williams said it has the potential to be a win-win situation.

"There's a lot of people out of work, but there's also a lot of employers that are looking for employees," Williams said.

Snider said the county's finance committee will discuss this proposal at Monday night's meeting. He said Tuesday night the county board will vote on whether to spend the $50,000 they received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

If it gets approved, he said the program start soon after.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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