According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, our nation’s employers will have a difficult time finding qualified professionals to fill the over nine million new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs that will emerge over the next twenty years.[i] Like other employers, our own businesses in the Chicago and Greater Oak Brook, Illinois area will experience more intense competition for STEM talent over this period.
Continued poor STEM academic performance among large numbers of DuPage County middle and high school students will contribute to this future STEM workforce shortage. Currently more than 7,500 low-income middle school students and 12,500 low-income high school students attend forty DuPage County schools where at least 30% of students, overall, score poorly on standardized math and science tests. In many of these schools, 60 to 70% fail.[ii] Most of these students, including 3,500 African American, Latino and Hispanic students, could perform well in these courses, go on to college, then succeed in careers, but many will not.[iii] In addition, many middle and high school girls who attend these schools, like thousands of young women students across the United States, continue to avoid taking and excelling in math and science courses, especially computer science, even though they have the ability to perform well in these courses and later in related careers.[iv]
The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and our DuPage County secondary and higher education partners have developed a unique program to help middle and high school students succeed in STEM coursework and prepare for future STEM careers. This program focuses on working closely with the thousands of students in nearby communities who are capable of high achievement in STEM academics and careers, but are at risk of failing due to socioeconomic challenges that put them at a disadvantage. Exposing these students now to STEM education and career experiences can help them achieve future college and career success and help our employers meet critical future workforce needs.
STEM Bridge Partnership
The STEM Bridge Partnership is a youth-led project that focuses on STEM learning and college and career-readiness for at-risk middle and high school students. These students include low-income, African American, Hispanic and Latino, and young women students. The project is distinct in that it links the developing leadership ability, knowledge, and experiences of middle and high school students with that of students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate STEM projects and young professionals employed in STEM careers. The close age and conjoint life experiences of these groups, generally ages 12 through 32, allow middle and high school students to relate to and work and learn easily with their academic and professional “near peers.” We believe this near peer mentoring approach will encourage students’ future participation and success in STEM academics and STEM careers.
The project also recognizes that middle and high school students are capable of leading, serving, and contributing to their schools and communities now, while they learn from college students and young professionals with whom they can relate. To facilitate early community leadership experiences, these students will also have a unique opportunity to guide a student-led STEM Bridge Partnership Leadership Council that is accountable for the project’s success and for representing the needs of at-risk students participating in the project. They will also help plan and lead a STEM Bridge Partnership College and Career Readiness Conference.
These students will additionally have the opportunity to serve as liaisons with school, government and business leaders to learn how these systems operate and how they might be improved. These liaison experiences will help inspire students to begin working now on ways to make their communities better. Students will also benefit from the rewarding academic and professional relationships they will develop with school leaders and higher education and business partners. Many of these relationships may continue into their professional careers.
Experiential Learning Activities
STEM Bridge Partnership Bridge Teams. The project will begin with the creation of five Bridge teams, each composed of the following individuals:
DuPage County middle and high school principals and STEM teachers from schools with the highest numbers of at-risk students serve on the project’s steering committee with business and higher education partners. These middle and high school leaders will help identify middle and high school participants for the Near Peer Teams. Our higher education partners will identify undergraduate and graduate student mentors. Members of the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Partnership’s Young Business Leaders will serve as young professional mentors for the Bridge Teams and work with middle and high school principals and STEM teachers to develop Bridge Team work projects. The Bridge teams will work at local corporations and learn how to lead and manage complex and interesting STEM-related work projects to develop early skills in research, innovative thinking, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Each Bridge Team member will be involved in every aspect of the project process, applying science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts to their onsite learning experiences.
STEM Bridge Partnership Interactive Website. At project completion, middle and high school Bridge Team members will create videos describing their experience. The videos will be posted on a STEM Bridge Partnership interactive website for other students (and their parents) to view. This website will also provide online interactive links to the project’s undergraduate, graduate and young professional STEM mentors who will offer individualized college and career guidance.
STEM Bridge Partnership Leadership Council. Especially important, the project will include the appointment of a 20-member youth-led STEM Bridge Partnership Leadership Council. In addition to guiding and evaluating the project’s progress, council members will also be advocates for at-risk students in the project. The following individuals will serve on the council:
STEM Bridge Partnership College and Career Readiness Conference. Each year, the project will present a student-led conference to advance student STEM education and careers.
Critical Connections Between Parents, Higher Education, and Business Partners
The parents of participating middle and high school students will be informed and involved in all activities through:
In addition, our higher education partners offer many projects that could benefit at-risk students and their parents, but are currently underutilized. Information about these projects will be available for families through the interactive website and other project communications. Four colleges will work their teams to identify STEM undergraduate and graduate student mentors, providing college readiness resources for the interactive website, assisting with the planning and presentation of the conference, and assisting with the development of the project’s evaluation tools.
Our business partners will be involved with the project by:
Effective Mentor Training
The project’s 40 young professional mentors and 20 college student mentors will participate in the screening, orientation, and training recommended by the National Mentoring Partnership (NMP) to ensure that they have the backgrounds, skills, and qualities needed to mentor students.[v] The program will also incorporate the NMP’s recommended mentor recognition and retention activities to help ensure mentor satisfaction and future participation.
To measure short-term results, the 60 young academic and professional mentors, 20 middle and high school student leaders, and 200 other participating students and their parents will be asked to complete quarterly questionnaires to identify the personal, professional and other benefits they have experienced, due to their involvement in each activity, including the Bridge Teams, interactive website, Leadership Council, and conference. Mentors, students, and parents using the interactive website will also see ongoing feedback prompts as they work online. This will help ensure that we collect specific information about each project activity, with a focus on the value and usefulness of our online services, the quality of the online interactive experience, and unaddressed student or family needs.
The project’s primary long-term goal is to significantly increase the number of middle and high school students who succeed in school, especially in STEM courses, and are prepared for and succeed in STEM-related careers. We will work with our middle school, high school and higher education partners to determine and use the best methods for measuring increases in academic performance, interest in STEM courses, and student progress toward preparing and planning for STEM college coursework and careers.
This Project is Sustainable
Our local corporations provide ongoing support for this project because they believe their investment will benefit students and help attract and retain a talented workforce for our community for the future. However, initial private grant funding will be very important in supporting first-phase costs for the complete initial set up of the project, including mentor training, the Leadership Council, the development of project and marketing materials, and the development of the interactive website and related tracking and evaluation software. These costs will decrease gradually over the life of the project, with corporations covering much of the remaining in-kind support for project facilitation, materials, and conference hosting each year going forward.
About the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Partnership
The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Partnership (EDP) is a 501c3 charitable organization that works closely with its very engaged and dynamic corporate community to strengthen the area’s economy and attract and retain a talented workforce. A 29-member board of directors that reflects a cross section of local companies governs the EDP and includes senior professionals from Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, such as Ace Hardware Corporation and Hub Group and mid to small-size employers representing the community’s largest and growing segments: technology, investment and banking, hospitality and retail, transportation, and commercial real estate. The EDP also serves as a coordinating group for our local employers, educators, and government stakeholders to develop and lead effective initiatives that will help prepare our local elementary, middle and high school students for the rewarding careers that will be available to them in the future. The EDP additionally guides solutions to address workforce transportation and infrastructure needs.
For more information about this project please call Tracy Mulqueen at 708-560-5271.
REALTOR® Dan Wagner, of Wheaton, has been installed as the 2017 Treasurer of Illinois REALTORS®. He is the senior vice president of government relations for the Oak Brook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate and finance organizations.
Active in the real estate industry since 2004, Wagner has been involved in all levels of the REALTOR® organization, with a particular focus on commercial real estate and government affairs efforts. In 2016, he served as president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.
On the national level, Wagner has been actively involved with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). He currently serves as the 2016 Commercial Liaison for NAR and is the immediate past chair of the Commercial Legislation and Regulatory Advisory Board.
Wagner is an active member and leader within the Illinois REALTORS®. He has served on the Illinois REALTORS®’ Board of Directors and chaired the association’s Political Fundraising Working Group, Major Donor Working Group and the REALTORS® Political Action Committee Trustees. He has lent his expertise to many other committees including the Strategic Planning, Finance and Commercial/Industrial/Investment committees.
Wagner is a strong supporter of REALTOR® political advocacy efforts and is a Golden “R” Major Investor in the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) and a member of NAR’s President’s Circle.
In 2017, he will chair the Illinois REALTORS® Finance Committee, serve as vice-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and will be a member of the association’s Executive Committee, among others.
Wagner is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and has been a significant contributor to and advocate for the Marketplace Fairness Act. He also is a member of the Investment Program Association’s Public Affairs Committee and part of the Real Estate Roundtable’s 1031 Like-Kind Exchange Commission. He is a board member for the Civic Federation of Chicago and is active in the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacturer’s Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Active in his community, Wagner is a commissioner on the DuPage Airport Authority, chairman of the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and is actively involved with the village of Oak Brook. In 2014, he received the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Advocacy Award for his work on behalf of special needs children. He is a board member of The Conservation Foundation and is a longtime volunteer for the Wellness House of Hinsdale.
A native of Springfield, Ill., Wagner earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois State University. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Wheaton with their four children, three of whom are triplets.
Installation ceremonies were conducted at the Illinois REALTORS® Inaugural Gala on Oct. 6 at the Chicago Marriott Naperville in Naperville, Ill. Other 2017 officers installed were President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR, managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills and President-elect Matt Difanis, ABR, GRI, co-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates, with offices in Champaign, Mahomet and Monticello.
Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 44,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation which safeguards and advances the interest of real property ownership.
Kevin Brown, PHR, SHRM-CP, Senior Human Resources Manager for Hassett Express
As the local economy continues to build momentum, employers are ramping up their recruitment efforts and looking for top talent to fill roles within their organizations. This is when friends and colleagues will reach out and ask “What do I need to do to get a job”?
My advice is simple: “Be Prepared and Be Yourself”. Here are some things job applicants can do as they go through a job search.
Before the initial interview, review the company’s website and learn as much as you can. This includes taking down notes and having questions ready for the person conducting the interview. There is nothing worse than an applicant not knowing anything about the company he/she is interviewing with or not having any questions for the potential employer.
Next, make sure your resume is up-to-date, spell-checked and concise. I always tell friends and colleagues to ensure they can answer any question as it pertains to information on their resume. For the hiring company, it’s a bad sign when a question is asked about an item on the resume and the candidate cannot answer the question. It’s a signal that the candidate has placed information on the resume that may not be accurate.
Another area job applicants should keep in mind is to be patient. Employers are going through several resumes, conducting many interviews for a position and sometimes, the process may take a week or two. While it’s great to see that candidates are interested in a specific role, please don’t call the company every day or several times per week. A good company will follow-up with you and if they don’t, then maybe that company is not worth pursuing.
I’m often asked about proper dress attire. My initial response is always “Business Professional”. However, applicants may be told in advance to dress “Business Casual”. At that point, it’s up to the applicant whether or not they should go “Business Casual”. But, to really make an impression, I would highly recommend dressing “Business Professional”. You can never go wrong.
Also, I believe in sending Thank You notes after the interviews. Many companies view these notes as “closure” with the interview. Specifically, I look for a Thank You note from the candidate to see if they are really interested in the job and if they believe they are qualified for the position. Applicants should reiterate how their skills can fit the job duties and how they can add value to the company. The Thank You notes should be concise and to the point.
Finally, Be Yourself! There’s nothing worse than an applicant answering questions that sound “canned” or “prepared”. The best interviews are “conversations” and the flow of information is casual. Companies want to see applicants for who they are, not what applicants think companies are looking for. During the interview process, the best applicants are relaxed and able to talk to companies in a casual, free-flowing manner.
Companies are looking for good talent. This includes applicants with a good attitude and want to learn. Don’t over-think the interview process. Just “Be Prepared” and “Be Yourself”. You’ll land that job you’re really looking for.
Recently, Buck Services accepted the Assurance MRMH award for achieving 25 percent workers’ compensation cost reduction through risk management efforts.
Buck Services started in 1998 when John Buchholz and his brothers would clean their private elementary and high school (St. Francis in Wheaton) to help with tuition. John is one of 11 kids who lived in a three bedroom house – some of the kids slept in bunkbeds or in the hallway!
John continued cleaning the elementary school when he graduated college but after he became a teacher, he was asked to stop. The school hired a cleaning service, but it was not sufficient and the school did not look the same as when it was under John’s care.
John put a formal proposal together for cleaning service and he was hired. Him and his brothers grew the business to 250 employees out of its West Chicago headquarters.
In 2012, the business experienced a sharp increase in insurance premiums and the company wasn’t getting the ROI needed from their current safety endeavors. So, they set up a three-year plan that would minimize risk in the workplace which included a formalized safety committee, safety trainings for supervisors, and creating a new culture with an emphasis on safety and education. The result was a 25 percent reduction in annual workers’ compensation costs and a 42 percent EMR improvement.
Click here for a video detailing the story!
Indiana Tech is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce to provide corporate scholarships to all current GOBCC member company employees. Those who take advantage of these scholarships will receive a 20 percent reduction in tuition for undergraduate- and graduate-level degrees, excluding Ph.D. and Juris Doctor. In addition, textbook rental is included in the tuition.
“Indiana Tech is happy to enter into this partnership with the Greater Oak Brook Chamber and introduce our quality, convenient education options to your community,” said Steve Herendeen, Indiana Tech vice president for Enrollment Management. “Our College of Professional Studies was created to give working adults the flexibility to fit school into their busy schedules. Most undergraduate classes last five weeks; most graduate classes last six weeks. This creates a pace that helps students make quick, tangible progress and build momentum toward the completion of their degree.”
Numerous online courses are available through Indiana Tech’s College of Professional Studies and are accessible 24 hours a day. Several degrees are achievable solely online, including 24 undergraduate degrees and nine graduate degrees. Indiana Tech is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
“Our online degree programs use the same curricula and learning outcomes as our face-to-face degree programs,” said Nicole Scott, Indiana Tech associate vice president of Student Success. “In addition, graduates of online degree programs develop and hone time-management, prioritization, communication and technology skills – all of which are cherished by employers.”
For additional information about this agreement, contact Ann Marie Rosen, Indiana Tech admissions representative, at 630.548.9445, ext. 5820, or ALRosen@indianatech.edu. You can also find information on our website here.
CEO, Founder Tom Gimbel to Share Tips on How to Advance Your Career
Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm, will host a complimentary webinar, “9-Step Guide to a Promotion,” Tuesday, September 27, 2016, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM CDT.
According to a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 40 percent of millennials expect a promotion every one to two years, but not many understand what they need to do to earn one.
“When it comes to earning a promotion, many believe it’s based on how long they’ve been with an organization,” said Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, “but more employers today believe in merit-based promotions, focusing less on tenure.”
This hour-long webinar will highlight the biggest factors that may be deterring someone from advancing in their careers, and the nine steps to take to earn a promotion and move up the career ladder.
To register for the webinar, “9-Step Guide to a Promotion,” click here.
The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership recently hosted a meeting to explore the opportunity for a new Oak Brook employee shuttle service connecting with Metra. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the lead agency for the project, and has contracted with the Transportation Management Association of Lake-Cook (TMA) to provide assistance. The primary goal of the shuttle service would be to provide better commute options to help local employers attract top talent.
The Chamber has worked with the RTA and TMA to identify three service areas that may have the greatest potential for shuttle routes for Oak Brook. These are in the Commerce Drive, Kensington Road/Jorie Boulevard, and Windsor/Swift Drive areas. These routes would access the Elmhurst Metra Station (Metra’s Union Pacific West Line) or Hinsdale Metra Station (Metra’s BNSF Line).
The RTA is considering funding the substantial majority of the operating costs for the first two years as a pilot program. During the first year of the pilot, property owners may contribute approximately 20% of the costs, or approximately $30,000 per route shared between participating property owners. For the second year property owners may contribute approximately 35% of the costs. The more properties participating, the lower the cost would be per building.
To continue beyond this potential two-year pilot, the route must be viable and working; for example at least 60 daily trips on each route are needed. Property owners would need to increase their financial participation to a minimum of 50% of the operating costs in partnership with Pace and Metra. Service levels and cost structure would need to be negotiated in the second year of the pilot, based on ridership, property owner interest, and transit agency budgets.
If a final plan is developed by the committee, it would take about three to four months to implement service. It is anticipated that service could start in 2017. For more information, please contact Tracy Mulqueen at 708-560-5271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hassett Express presented a ribbon cutting July 19, 2016 to recognize the opening of its new corporate headquarters at 18W100 22nd Street in Oakbrook Terrace. Hassett CEO Michelle Halkerston and Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci led the ceremony.
Hassett Express, LLC, a leader in transportation and logistics services, relocated in June to newly renovated space of almost 15,000 square feet, as an important part of its growth plan. The corporate office is home to the company’s logistics support, technology, customer service, financial, sales and marketing, and executive teams.
“Hassett Express is happy to call Oakbrook Terrace home for our 45 member headquarters staff. This location provides many advantages including its proximity to our operations facility near O’Hare,” said Michelle Halkerston, CEO. “Local amenities such as restaurants, retailers and parks are important to our team members. I believe these amenities, along with the convenient location, will also be attractive to new hires. We look forward to being an active member in the community.”
Mayor Ragucci added, “The City of Oakbrook Terrace welcomes new corporate resident Hassett Express and its CEO Michelle Halkerston to our community. Congratulations and we wish Hassett much success!”
Be a good neighbor! Reach out and welcome Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace’s newest companies and their employees!
Archer Daniels Midland (Commerce Plaza, Oak Brook)
Beacon Hill Staffing (Mid America Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)
Brookline (Lincoln Centre, Oakbrook Terrace)
Cadence Health Systems (Regency Towers, Oak Brook)
CIMC Leasing USA (Two TransAm Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)
CMS Communications (Midwest Office Center, Oak Brook)
Datalink Corporation (Mid America Plaza, Oak Brook)
DCT Industrial (Drake Office Plaza, Oak Brook)
DeBlanco, Inc. (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)
Duke Realty (Oak Brook Executive Plaza, Oak Brook)
Farooqui & Husian Law (Two TransAm Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)
Forward Space (1111 West 22nd, Oak Brook)
Verdi Property Management (Regency Towers, Oak Brook)
Geiger Wealth Management (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)
Grane Trucking (Butterfield Office Plaza, Oak Brook)
Hartford Financial Services (One Oakbrook Terrace, Oakbrook Terrace)
Hassett Express (Midwest Office Center, Oak Brook)
Hauser Izzo, LLC (Regency Towers, Oak Brook)
HomeBridge Financial Services, Inc. (Terrace Oaks, Oakbrook Terrace)
Kellen Company (Parkview Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)
KeyLimeTie (Oakbrook Promenade, Oak Brook)
Pacific Life Insurance Company (Mid America Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)
QsrSoft (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)
Rejuvenate MedSpa (Oak Brook Professional Building)
RSB Dental (Oak Brook North, Oak Brook)
Ryd Law Group, P.C. (Citibank Office Plaza, Oak Brook)
Select Staffing (Harger Road, Oak Brook)
Sentinus LLC (Oak Brook Pointe, Oak Brook)
Shriver-Capacity Insurance Agency, LLD (One Oakbrook Terrace, Oakbrook Terrace)
Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. (One Oakbrook Terrace, Oakbrook Terrace)
SMART Golf Fitness Instruction (Oakbrook Terrace Tower, Oakbrook Terrace)
Star Micronics America, Inc. (Commerce Plaza, Oak Brook)
Sterns Lending (Oak Brook Executive Plaza, Oak Brook)
True Consulting (Oak Brook Executive Plaza, Oak Brook)
USI Insurance Services (Commerce Plaza, Oak Brook)
Wealth Planning Network (Parkview Plaza, Oakbrook Terrace)
“The Chamber’s Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and our local municipalities have worked diligently to ensure that we offer a supportive, business-friendly environment in which businesses can thrive and grow,” said EDP Council Chairman and Graycor Treasurer Tom Midura. “Our promotion of policies that build commerce and reduce business costs and that support timely and efficient building, zoning, permitting and signage processes has resulted in continued economic growth for Greater Oak Brook. We are now beginning additional new efforts to address the community’s emerging transportation, infrastructure and tourism needs to make sure we continue to grow and compete.”
The Chamber’s Economic Development Partnership Council has organized a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee made up of property and business owners who will examine Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace vehicle and pedestrian access, and employee transportation needs to and from area train stations to local employment sites.
For more information about this new Chamber committee and its work, please contact Tracy Mulqueen at email@example.com or at 708-560-5271.
The Chamber’s first Cybersecurity Forum, presented by the Banking and Financial Services Committee on May 16 at the Le Meridien, was intriguing, enlightening, and disturbing. Here are just a few of the things our business audience learned at the forum and that are highlighted in SWC Technology Partners’ article, PHISHING for an Unwitting Accomplice:
What can a company do?
SWC Technology Partners recommends establishing a systematic, holistic approach that leverages not only technology, but behavioral training for employees. To help companies set up preventive cybersecurity systems, SWC “pressure tests” a company to establish a baseline for how it responds to simulated attacks. They then identify the highest risk areas to learn what type of information would have been compromised in an attack. Next, SWC sets up a user awareness training program for employees on how to reduce risk in these areas.
Here are additional cybersecurity guidance links from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
The U.S. Chamber and Illinois Chamber of Commerce will host a statewide Cybersecurity Conference in Schaumberg on June 28, 2016. For information, please click here.