Business & Economy
How to Escape Your Unemployment (or Under-Employment) Trap PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 14 August 2014 12:27
Principal Recruiter Lays the Blueprint

There’s good news for jobs in the United States.

• In June, the private sector added 288,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• The unemployment rate has shrunk to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008, when the Great Recession was just starting. The rate has dropped nearly 2 percent since the beginning of 2013.

• The U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate (P2P), as tracked by Gallup, now stands at one of its highest points since tracking began in January 2010.

• More companies, states and cities are either raising their minimum wage or considering it.

Does this mean that we can put our minds to rest regarding jobs and prosperity? Not exactly, says Richard B. Alman, principal and chief career/employment strategist of Recruiter Media, owner of, the world's largest owner/operator of career websites.

“It’s great that reports show improvement, but the good news comes with an asterisk; we need to keep in mind the term that has become so common since 2009 – the ‘new normal,’ which, in part, refers to a lower expectation for prosperity,” says Alman, who has managed human resources for Fortune 100 and smaller multi-national companies.

“Raising the minimum wage, for example, is a step in the right direction for many, but it’s certainly not happening everywhere and it doesn’t guarantee a living wage. California raised its minimum to $9 per hour, but that’s a state with a very high cost of living.”

What is the quality of these new jobs, and how many hours do they offer? What about the Catch 22 ensnaring the long-term unemployed, who can’t get work because they don’t have jobs? And where’s the hope for the recent college graduates who are deeply in debt and can’t find the jobs they’ve prepared for?

Alman has a blueprint that can help would-be employees in these tough positions.

•  One word: volunteer. “This is, by far, the best advice I can offer if you feel like you’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked,” he says. Volunteering can pay very high dividends for anyone who is unemployed, under-employed or simply looking for a new career trajectory. It helps current and future employees of any age.

“You may not see the payoff right away, but volunteering has many long-term benefits,” he says.

•  Volunteer in positions that will build your resume´. “When you volunteer, you can update your skills and resume´, which shows potential employers that you’re not lazy,” Alman says.  “Ask for jobs that use the career skills you have. For instance, if you have a background or degree in marketing, look for opportunities to volunteer in marketing for a non-profit.”

For those with stretches of long-term unemployment on their resume´, volunteering is the best way to show future employers that you value staying active and building new skills. And, if you’re a low-wage worker at a fast-food restaurant, for example, you can have a whole new headspace in which to consider your future.

•  Work on developing leads. “You can be just like everyone else who’s desperate for a decent job or you can be proactive and build professional relationships, which do more than resume´s to earn interviews and employment,” he says.

The non-profit sector attracts people who are passionate about a cause, a wide range of associated professionals and, frequently, people who are in high income brackets.

•  Where can folks go to volunteer? A half-hour of research online can yield viable options for legit non-profit organizations. Other great sources are hospitals, which tend to work closely with non-profit organizations. Hospitals also involve a wide variety of professionals.

“Once again, if you work well and develop great working relationships with others, you open yourself up to a whole network of possibilities,” he says. “Who you know can make the difference.”

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, which offers recruiters, employers and job seekers a smarter alternative to the impersonal, less-specific “universal” employment websites. has been the only national, city-specific job board on the planet for more than a decade, serving more than 1,000 US cities with their own unique career web site. 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.

Know an Outstanding IA/IL Business? Nominate It for an MRA Award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Monday, 11 August 2014 13:49
IOWA/WESTERN ILLINOIS – This year, residents of Iowa and western Illinois will have an opportunity to recognize and celebrate outstanding businesses in their communities. MRA - The Management Association, Inc., a Midwest-based employers association, will host an award ceremony recognizing exemplary businesses that act as role models within their communities. The public is invited to nominate qualifying businesses for recognition at the 2014 Business Appreciation & Awards Reception. The deadline for award nominations is August 22, 2014.

The reception will be held on Monday, October 27, 2014, at the iWireless Center, Moline, Illinois beginning at 5:00 p.m. The theme of the event will be Celebrating Our Past, Growing Our Future. The keynote speaker will be the Honorable Jim Edgar, former Governor of Illinois.

“We look forward to reviewing nominations from the community, telling us about exceptional businesses that have touched people’s lives,” said Heather Roberts, Executive Director of the Iowa/Illinois Division of MRA. “Individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship, business growth, networking and leadership will want to attend our annual event.”

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, MRA is one of the largest not-for-profit employers associations in the nation, serving 4,000 employers and their 800,000 employees in the U.S. and abroad.
Prestigious Awards for Exemplary Businesses
Members of the community are invited to nominate Iowa/Illinois businesses that exemplify success by investing in their people and their community. MRA is now accepting nominations for the following awards:

The MRA Business Community Award recognizes a business that has created an impact in the Iowa/Illinois region in three or more of the following areas:
- Has shown significant growth over the past five years and has increased employment.
- Recognized in the community for its ‘give back’ attitude.
- Has benefited the community by its presence.
- Participates in a variety of volunteer roles within the community.
- Known for outstanding customer service.
- Supports charities that benefit Iowa/Illinois area communities.

The MRA Regional Impact Award recognizes an organization that has created an impact in the Iowa/Illinois area in three or more of the following ways:
- Provides or has influence on the growth of jobs in Iowa/Illinois area communities.
- Recognized as a leader within its industry or service area.
- Recognized outside the Iowa/Illinois area for products, services, and/or changes.
- Provides a positive influence in the Iowa/Illinois area regarding transportation, environment, education, quality of life, and other community issues.
- Has shown commitment to the Iowa/Illinois area through new construction, redevelopment, or expansion.

“At the event MRA will present Visionary Awards, as well, to their charter members, who in 1948 came together to create an association that would foster and promote an effective array of programs and services,” Roberts said. “MRA will also honor the retirement of employee Debra Carlson after 19 years of dedicated service.”

The Awards Reception
The Business Appreciation & Awards Reception, to be held October 27, 2014, begins at 5:00 p.m. with gourmet appetizers, cocktails, and music provided by Ellis Kell and the Friends of the River Music Experience. Dress will be business attire.

At 6:30 p.m., the keynote speaker, the Honorable Jim Edgar, will share his vision on exploring future opportunities in the Midwest. Master of Ceremonies Kai Swanson will begin the awards presentation at 7 p.m. Admission is $75 per person, $550 for groups of eight. 

If you wish to nominate a business or register for the awards reception, call 888-516-6357 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also visit and search ‘awards’. The Business Appreciation & Awards Reception page provides links to online nomination forms, and an event registration page is also available. 

For more than 110 years, MRA has helped businesses to thrive. Organizations join MRA as corporate members for the latest information, resources and guidance on recruiting, compensation, benefits, compliance and talent management. Members are supported with a 24/7 HR Hotline and InfoNow e-mail, access to crucial survey data, and HR, management and leadership training. To find out more about MRA, call 888-516-6357 or visit
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Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Jim Edgar
Jim Edgar, a Distinguished Fellow with the Illinois Institute of Government & Public Affairs (IGPA), was the 38th governor of Illinois. First elected in 1990, Edgar won re-election in 1994 by the largest margin ever for a governor. By the time he left office, he had eliminated the backlog in payments of the state's bills, given the state a surplus, and reduced the size of state government. Edgar has served in a variety of leadership roles, including president of the Council of State Governments, as a member of the executive committee of the National Governors’ Association, and as chairman of the Midwest Governors’ Association. He has also been a Resident Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Edgar serves on a variety of civic and corporate boards of directors.
Master of Ceremonies: Kai Swanson
Kai Swanson is executive assistant to Augustana College’s president, Steve Bahls. He has held this position since 2005. Swanson has been on the staff of the college since his graduation in 1986. His past positions at Augustana include news editor for WVIK-Augustana Public Radio, public relations director, and editor of the Augustana College Magazine. In 2011, he served as interim general manager of WVIK. Swanson grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, just across Lincoln Park from the Augustana campus.

Tell me your thoughts - minimum wage PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rep. Dave Loebsack   
Monday, 11 August 2014 13:44
In these difficult economic times, far too many Iowans are working hard but still struggling to make ends meet. I grew up in poverty and understand what it is like to sit around the kitchen table and worry about how the bills are going to get paid. I support increasing the minimum wage so that hard working Iowans are able to maintain a basic standard of living, but I want to know what you think.

Please click here to share your thoughts with me.

I believe it is time for Iowa's workers to get a raise, but I also understand the difficulties small businesses face in meeting their bottom line. We must grow an economy that works for all Iowans. It is important for me to know what you think about proposals to raise the minimum wage.

Click here to take a quick survey to share your opinion with me.


Dave Loebsack
Iowa's Second District

Loebsack to Host “Getting Iowans Back to Work” Tour in Davenport. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 11 August 2014 07:57

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he will bring his “Getting Iowans Back to Work” Tour to Davenport on Monday, August 11th. At this forum, Loebsack will bring together businesses, labor organizations, local stakeholders, and education and training providers to discuss the SECTORS Act. This legislation, a jobs and workforce investment bill that Loebsack introduced in the House, creates partnerships to help close the gap between the kinds of skills that workers have and skills that businesses need. Large portions of Loebsack’s SECTORS Act were recently signed into law by the President as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“When traveling around Iowa meeting with business leaders, I hear time and time again that they can’t find workers with the skill set they need to be able to hire, despite high unemployment rates,” said Loebsack. “There is a gap between the kinds of skills that workers have and the skills that businesses need. The tools created by the SECTORS Act work to address this gap by targeting workforce development efforts to foster the kind of skills that local businesses need right now.”

Loebsack will also hold forums in Burlington, Ottumwa, Muscatine, Newton, Keokuk and Osceola. Media and cameras are invited to attend.

“Getting Iowans Back to Work” Tour – August 11th



Genesis Systems Group

8900 N. Harrison St.


Attendees will include:

Joel Lorentzen, President/CEO, Genesis Systems Group

Chuck Keibler, Executive VP, Genesis Systems Group

Donald Doucette, Chancellor, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

Dan Martin, Director of Operations for Blong Technology Center, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

Keith Kramer, President, Sivyer Steel

Thomas Flaherty, VP- Business Development, QC Chamber

Scott VanDeWoestyne, Director of Government Affairs, QC Chamber

Additional local industry and labor representatives


Open House for new Hilltop business PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Scott Tunnicliff   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 16:20
NextGen Climate Action has leased space at 234 W. 15th St. and is having an Open House at 6pm tonight for interested parties and folks wishing to welcome them to the area. This is being sent to you as a supporter of the Hilltop Campus Village effort, but also as someone possibly interested int their mission. The office is next to Nicole's Chicago Style Clothing, and close to the Eastside Bakery at Harrison and 15th.
Will Oppermann is the Quad Cities Field Organizer who will be running this local office of a national effort. Please contact him at 202-909-5624 to indicate your attendance and/or interest in the issue of climate change. Will is copied on this, so you'll have his email address
Come welcome Will to the Hilltop! For more information on the organization, go to

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