Job Market Trends and News

Businesses invited to reopened employment office in Morris

Illinois Valley Industry’s Downtown Employment Options Office has reopened this summer after having closed during the colder months of the year.

Clients and representatives from local businesses and governmental bodies are invited to stop in to see what opportunities are available for them through the nonprofit.

One of the services IVI offers is helping adults with physical, cognitive and mental disabilities find local employment.

“These are adults who have a desire to work and the will to take that next step,” IVI Executive Director Stephanie Kessler said. “They show up on time, are consistent employees and are happy to be in the workforce and out in the community.”

The downtown satellite office is located at 519 W. Illinois Ave., sharing space with the Community Foundation of Grundy County. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Kessler said the downtown office opened last summer to take advantage of the foot traffic of and easy access to the downtown area.

The two IVI program sites are on the northeast side of town. Clients and businesses may still go to the program site for information, Kessler said, or they can stop in the downtown site if it’s more convenient.

“We are trying to reach people who don’t come to us by the traditional methods,” she said.

Kessler said IVI currently serves about 60 individuals. Many work at the IVI program site, where they fulfill contracts for the state or private firms, making calendars, traffic barricades and other items. Anyone can order traffic barricades from IVI, she said. They are good quality and are the ones used by the state and several individual construction companies.

IVI clients also work in such area businesses as Culvers, Jewel, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Granby’s Greenhouse, American Self-Storage and public works departments of area governments.

They work in office positions, serving positions, they bag and clean and transplant house plants and break down boxes.

IVI Community Employment Specialist Jamie Rios is available to visit businesses and to perform work place assessments.

“I’ve also requested tours while watching the end of a shift,” Rios said. “I look to see if we can assist them in any way, like breaking down boxes or cleaning the lobby.”

Rios also assists the business and client if job accommodations are needed at the beginning of an employment and throughout the employment if situations change.

The satellite office also helps clients who need other types of assistance, such as referrals or writing a resume.

“Every case in individualized,” she said.

Kessler said many of these adults also benefit from the social aspect of work.

“Social inclusion is really big,” she said. “It’s important that they have the same opportunities that everyone else in the community has.. . . We assist people to become a part of their community, and even link them to other organizations like churches. It’s more about living your fullest life. That’s what IVI does.”

The Illinois Valley Industry’s satellite office is located at 519 W. Illinois Avenue, and can be reached at or by calling (779) 205-5311.

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