Business & Economy
Why Has There Never Been an Unemployment-Themed Reality TV Show? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:47
With the Right Help, the Whole Cast Could be Winners,
Says Employment Strategist

After perusing the many niches of reality TV -- well-to-do housewives in multiple major cities, the rugged Alaska lifestyle, and working the dirtiest jobs known to man -- employment strategist Richard B. Alman wonders why we haven’t seen a show about a popular and compelling subject: long-term unemployment.

While unemployment has seen an impressive two-year decline and currently hovers near 6.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no reliable data for the long-term unemployed – those who’ve been jobless for 27 weeks or more – and for the underemployed.

“Recent college grads, who are typically saddled with student debt, still struggle to find terra firma in the professional world, and there’s a large blind spot for older unemployed workers, who may have gone back to school or taken a lesser job for which they’re overqualified, or they’re still searching,” says Alman, principal of Recruiter Media, owner of, the world's largest owner/operator of career websites.

“Drama, struggle, learning moments and, yes, hope – that’s what you’d get with an un- and underemployment-themed reality TV show.”

Alman reviews how the first season might play out.

•  Week 1: Job-seekers are happy to have a gig. Since reality show participants are paid, all are happy for this opportunity. Newly graduated college students are grateful to have a place to crash for several weeks with Wi-Fi and other free amenities, and love interests begin to develop. Older professionals, however, will have mortgages and families; for them, the show is a business trip. Underemployed job-seekers tell their stories of working long hours in unfulfilling positions.

•  Week 2: Putting the reality into “reality TV.” “Un- and underemployment touches nearly everyone; we all know someone without enough work,” Alman says. While reality includes fortuitous wealth and fame for a few, it also includes tough times for many. The second week would feature job-seekers sticking to old methods of searching that have not worked in the past and continue to fail them.

•  Week 3: The reveal – participants find out it’s a competition. While the cameras have sparked renewed vigor in their individual searches – a few participants may have even tried some wildly unconventional tactics – the group has had relatively little success. Producers reveal that it’s not just a reality show about job-seekers, it’s a competition. The group is separated into two teams. Participants from the winning team get legitimate interviews with Fortune 500 companies.

•  Week 4: Job-seekers gain important tips. No matter how much experience, talent, youth or beauty they have, job-seekers still make mistakes with their strategies. While a well-written cover letter, an impressive education and a great resume certainly help – they’re not everything. Professionals give participants tips for staying relevant in today’s market, including the importance of doing volunteer work, preferably in roles that match their talents and training.

“I really cannot overemphasize this tip enough. Volunteering is probably the best way for the long-term unemployed to demonstrate their abilities, initiative and effectiveness in a marketplace that hasn’t given you enough of a chance,” Alman says. “It builds new skills, introduces you to a new network of potential employers, and adds recent experience to your resume.”

•  Final week: All are on their way to gainful employment. After several weeks, most of the participants have made significant progress in landing career positions. While the winning team gains a great opportunity with a guaranteed, high-quality interview, there are no losers on this show. And, those who’ve made an excellent impression on the program are sure to gain additional opportunities.

About Richard B. Alman

Richard B. Alman is the principal and chief career/employment strategist of Recruiter Media Inc., the world's largest owner/operator of career websites, offering recruiters, employers and job seekers a smarter alternative to the impersonal, less-specific “universal” employment websites. The only national, city-specific job board on the planet for more than a decade, serves more than 1,000 U.S. cities with their own unique career websites. Alman has worked in all aspects of recruiting and career/employment strategies with corporations such as General Motors and UBS and privately owned multi-national companies.

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Stop Discrimination Against Pregnant Women in the Workplace PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katie Hickey   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:45

Governor Signs Landmark Legislation on Women’s Equality Day to Guarantee Women the Right to be Both Mothers and Employees

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced he has signed a landmark new law that will fight the widespread but often overlooked practice of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. The law provides job protections for pregnant women and requires that reasonable accommodations be made in the workplace so expectant mothers can continue working without fear for their health or the health of their child. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensuring full equality for women in Illinois.

“Women should not have to choose between being a mother and having a job,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law will provide important protections and accommodations for working mothers-to-be so that they can continue to provide for their family without risking their health or the health of their child.  These common-sense accommodations will provide peace of mind, safety and opportunity for moms-to-be and also help strengthen our workforce across the state.”

“This bill is simply common sense,” Director of Equal Opportunity at Women Employed Melissa Josephs said. “A woman should not have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and supporting her family. Many people thought that this was already the law. Now, fortunately, they’re right.”

House Bill 8, sponsored by State Representative Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) and State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), provides pregnant women with important worker protections such as limits on heavy lifting and assistance in manual labor; access to places to sit; more frequent bathroom breaks; time off to recover from childbirth; and break space for breast-feeding.

Studies have shown that, despite existing protections, pregnant women are too often forced out of their jobs and denied reasonable job modifications that would enable them to continue working. The Governor worked tirelessly with the bill’s sponsors to pass the legislation in the Illinois General Assembly. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

“Every woman deserves to be respected and protected, and no woman should have to hide her pregnancy for fear of losing her job because she is pregnant,” Representative Flowers said. ”No woman should have to choose between losing her baby and or losing her job because the employer failed to make reasonable accommodations. Many of these women are disproportionately low income and single parents in need of their jobs. House Bill 8 creates a broad responsibility for employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees, which is no different than any other accommodations being made for anyone else with a health issue.”

“Continuing to work during pregnancy, along with a quick return to work afterward, is very important for working mothers and their families,” Senator Hutchinson said. “The reality is that for many Illinois families, women are the primary breadwinners and they should never have to choose between the ability to continue to provide for their families and a healthy pregnancy.”

Since the last time pregnancy workforce protections were addressed at the federal level in 1978, the number of women who work during pregnancy has continued to rise at a high rate. According to a report issued in 2013 by the National Women’s Law Center, nearly two-thirds of first-time mothers continue to work while pregnant and the majority of those work into their last month of pregnancy. Unfortunately, as the number of pregnant women working has increased so have the number of pregnancy discrimination cases filed. A study by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that, from 1992 to 2011, charges of pregnancy discrimination filed increased 71 percent.

“This legislation is especially important for low-income workers, who typically have the most physically demanding jobs and are least likely to have access to maternity leave and sick time,” Wendy Pollack, director of the Women’s Law and Policy Project at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, said. “Women can’t afford to lose their jobs, along with their income, seniority, and their employer-provided health insurance, or put their pregnancies at risk, due to the denial of a reasonable accommodation.”

The Governor also today signed House Bill 5563, sponsored by State Representative Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) and State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), to amend the Equal Pay Act to centralize all complaints and investigations of women workers who fail to receive equal pay for equal work because of their gender. The new law allows the Illinois Department of Labor to refer complaints of alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act to the Illinois Department of Human Rights to help avoid confusion and centralize discrimination investigations. House Bill 5563 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Illinois’ Equal Pay Act prohibits employers with four or more employees from paying unequal wages to men and women doing the same or substantially similar work, requiring equal skill, effort, responsibility and under similar working conditions. The law protects both men and women, and any individual who files an equal pay complaint is protected under the Act from harassment or retaliation. If an employer is found guilty of pay discrimination, they will be required to make up the wage difference to the employee and may be subject to pay legal costs and civil fines of up to $2,500 per violation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois women still earn just 78 cents of every dollar earned by Illinois men based on the median weekly earnings of full-time workers. The law was enacted to help close the wage gap between men and women. Since its implementation the law has successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages for women who were paid less than their male co-workers for doing the same work, which is prohibited under the Act.

Governor Quinn has been committed to protecting and empowering women in Illinois since taking office.  Last month, the Governor signed legislation to include a referendum asking voters if Illinois health insurance plans should be required to cover prescription birth control on the November 4 General Election ballot, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

In his 2014 State of the State address, the Governor launched the innovative Birth to Five Initiative to expand access to prenatal care, early care and learning opportunities for every child. He also proposed a minimum of two days of earned sick leave per year for 2.5 million Illinois workers, 78 percent of whom are women, who have no sick leave.

He fought for and signed a law amending the Equal Pay Act to give victims of underpayment more time to address their claims. In 2013, Governor Quinn launched the first ever Women Owned Business Symposium to support the growth of women-owned businesses across Illinois.

The Governor is also leading the charge to increase the state’s minimum wage to at least $10 per hour – six in ten minimum wage workers in Illinois are female.


Isabel Bloom LeClaire - Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting! 8/29-8/30 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by LeClaire Chamber   
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 08:36
Isabel Bloom LeClaire Showroom Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting
Friday-Saturday, August 29-30
Grand Opening kicked off with LeClaire Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting
at 12:30pm on Friday, August 29th
Donna will be signing any sculptures purchased Friday from 12-4pm.
Finishers demonstrating from 12-4pm on Friday and Saturday.
Receive Free tote bag with every purchase while supplies last.
There will be refreshments, drawings throughout the day, and balloons for the kids.
Everyone Welcome!

Should You Change Investment Strategies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 25 August 2014 13:52

Should You Change Investment Strategies Because of Unrest in Ukraine, Iraq and Israel?
Advisors To The Affluent Offer Tips for People Concerned About World Events

The summer’s headlines grew increasingly shocking:

• Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Shot Down Over Ukraine

• Israel Steps Up Airstrikes as Gaza Buries Dead

• U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS in Iraq

The violence and instability, along with worries about the Federal Reserve ending its market-bolstering stimulus and raising interest rates, precipitated a negative return in July for the Dow Jones Industrial average, the first decline in 2014. Should you be taking steps to protect your portfolio?

If the recent geopolitical events have made you uneasy about the possible effects on your portfolio, now might be a good time to evaluate the real risks you are taking, says wealth management expert Chris Snyder, co-founder with Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, (Get their white paper, Intelligent Investing: Making Smart Investing Decisions In Today’s Volatile Market, at the website.)

“You have to allocate your assets to avoid Undue Risk which will help protect your portfolio through  the inevitable wars, natural disasters, recessions and depressions that will occur,” Ashoo says.  “That’s right – not if, will. A well-diversified portfolio provides peace of mind.”

Snyder and Ashoo offer these tips for weathering today’s troubles – and those to come in the years ahead:

•  Ensure your portfolio is diversified.
Modern Portfolio Theory, developed by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Markowitz, tells us that 90 percent of the return in your portfolio is based on the allocation of stocks, bonds and cash, Snyder says.

“The percentages you allocate between these asset classes is far more important than timing the market or chasing around for the best manager, hedge fund, gold/commodities, dividend paying stocks or whatever Wall Street’s next pitch is,” he says.

•  Steer clear of active portfolio management.
Trying to outperform the markets involves active trading, which can have great impacts on your portfolio’s net return. With active management normally comes high management fees and high portfolio turnover, which lead to higher taxes and transaction costs, potentially leaving Wall Street and the IRS the biggest winners!

“World-class investment management must rise above the noise from Wall Street and day to day news headline,” Ashoo says.

• Never make financial decisions based on emotion.

Individual investors tend to buy and sell based on the emotions: greed and fear. When the markets are up, they tend to buy, hoping to catch a piece of the rise, yet when markets are losing, fear sets in and investors sell. Investing with emotion often leaves investors wondering why they are overweight in growth investments before a market drop and subsequently why they were out of the market when it recovered.

“Be sure that you and your investment advisers are qualified to understand and test the volatility and risk consequences your portfolio faces before the next big bad event happens ” Snyder says.

About Chris Snyder and Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo

Chris Snyder and Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo are co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, (, of Walnut Creek, Calif., specializing in customized wealth management advice to affluent families. Their unique five-step consultative process for new clients ensures they have a deep understanding of clients’ goals. With a combined 51 years of experience, they are the authors of numerous published works, have addressed thousands of investors nationwide, and have been interviewed on radio shows across the country.

Will Your Kids Inherit Your Debt? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jason Alderman   
Monday, 25 August 2014 13:34

Many people finally get around to writing a will in order to safeguard their assets for their heirs. But what if you've got the opposite problem: Your nest egg was decimated by the recession, bad investments or simply living longer than expected and now you've got a mountain of bills you can't pay off.

Will your kids inherit your debts after you die?

The short answer is, not in most cases. But there are situations where someone could be legally responsible for paying off your bills after death. Plus, aggressive creditors have been known to coerce heirs into paying off debts for which they're not responsible, just to be left alone.

If you're afraid that your financial legacy will be a heap of unpaid bills, here's what you need to know and prepare for:

In general, children aren't responsible for paying off their parents' unsecured debts – things like credit cards, personal loans and medical bills, which aren't collateralized by physical property. If there's not enough money in the estate to pay off those bills, creditors will have to write them off.

There are several exceptions, however:

  • If your child, spouse or other acquaintance is a cosigner on a credit card or loan (e.g., mortgage, car, personal loan), they share equal responsibility for paying it off. This is why you should always think twice before cosigning anyone's loan.
  • If someone is a joint account holder – that is, their income and credit history were used to help obtain the loan or credit card – they're generally responsible to pay off the balance.
  • Widows and widowers are responsible for their deceased spouse's debts if they live in a community property state.

Note that authorized users on your credit cards aren't liable for repayment since they didn't originally apply for the credit. Chances are they were simply "piggybacking" on your credit record to help build their own. However, to protect authorized users from being bothered by creditors after your death, you may want to remove them from your accounts.

If you have outstanding secured debts upon death, such as a mortgage or car loan, your estate must pay them off or the creditor can seize the underlying asset. For example, if you were planning to leave your house to your kids, they'll need to either pay off or continue making payments on any outstanding mortgage, property taxes and insurance, or risk foreclosure.

Depending on your state's laws, there are a few types of assets, like life insurance proceeds and retirement benefits, which you can pass along to beneficiaries that generally won't be subject to probate or taxation and thus may be safe from creditors.

Just be aware that if you name your estate as beneficiary for an insurance policy or retirement account, creditors can come after the money to pay off your debts. Thus, it's usually wise to name specific individuals as beneficiaries – and back-up beneficiaries, in case they die first. Also, if your beneficiary is a cosigner on any of your debts, creditors can pursue him or her for any balances owed.

Check with a probate attorney or legal clinic familiar with your state's inheritance and tax laws. Free or low-cost legal assistance is often available for lower-income people.

Bottom line: If you expect to leave unpaid debts after you die, alert your family now, so that together you can plan a course of action. You don't want to blindside your loved ones in the midst of their grief.

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