Business & Economy
Governor Quinn Announces eBay Inc. to Expand in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 08:33

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that global online marketplace leader eBay Inc. is expanding in Illinois and will create 360 new jobs in downtown Chicago. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“I am thrilled that eBay Inc. is choosing to expand their world-class business in the heart of the Midwest,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois is home to an impressive technology community that will serve eBay’s foundation while creating jobs for our hardworking residents. By coming to Illinois, eBay will benefit from our state’s leadership in emerging technologies and access to a workforce with skills that are second to none.”

eBay Inc., which acquired online and mobile payment platform Braintree in 2013, is relocating its Chicago employees later this year to accommodate continued expansion. The company has leased 60,000 square feet in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, home to several technology-oriented tenants.

“Chicago is a hotbed for innovation and where Braintree got its start,” eBay Inc. Senior Director for U.S., State and Local Government Relations David London said. “We’re proud to be investing in the growing Chicago technology community.”

To encourage the move, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) provided eBay Inc. with a tax credit worth an estimated $12 million over 10 years. The credit, available under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program, applies to eBay Inc.’s state tax liability and is available to companies that are weighing an expansion in Illinois against sites in other states.

The EDGE agreement requires eBay Inc. to invest $24 million in its Chicago expansion. The company has pledged to create 216 full-time jobs by March 18, 2016 and another 144 by March 18, 2017.

“eBay Inc. will join a burgeoning community of technology companies that was built in part by the Governor’s visionary support for the 1871 digital hub and other ventures,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. “This job growth strengthens the state’s already diverse economic base.”


Are Baby Boomers Doomed to Irrelevance in the Workplace? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 16 June 2014 09:07
Media Expert Shares Tips for Aging Workers

Boomers may want to recall one of the poets they grew up reading, Dylan Thomas, and his most famous poem, named for its first line, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” a desperate appeal to resist the trappings of old age.

“As they retire, baby boomers need to stay true to their reputation for grand statements, and to mobilize their skill set in the business world,” says media expert Steve Kayser, author of “The Greatest Words You’ve Never Heard,” (

“In fact, many older Americans may have little choice but to adapt their mindset and survive longer in their careers if they want to maintain something resembling their current lifestyle during retirement.”

Kayser lists a few trends that may incentivize aging workers to clock in for a few more years:

• The number of Americans 55 and older will almost double between now and 2030 – from 60 million today to 107.6 million, according to the United States Census Bureau. That will likely strain public safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare.

• American life expectancy is at an all-time high, and death rates are at an all-time low, which means some people will outlive their retirement savings.

• The global economic crisis has wiped out or severely affected millions of middle- and senior-aged people’s life savings.

But with an increasingly competitive pool of professionals whose skill sets need to be regularly updated, how can boomers stay in the game?

Kayser quotes Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

He discusses his method for how older workers can maintain their value – by staying “R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T.”

•  What it means to learn, unlearn and relearn. The ever-shifting sands of technology pose a special challenge to older workers. Younger professionals not only grew up working and entertaining themselves with screens, they also learned to adapt to technological leaps. A program you learn today may not be relevant in a few years, so keep an open and flexible mind.

•  Being R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T… Take this mnemonic device to heart: Risk, Experiment, Listen and Learn, Engage, Value, Attitude of gratitude, No to negativity, and Time. “This is an ongoing, evolving note to keep in your mind no matter your professional situation,” Kayser says. “I’ve been around a lot of charismatic and effervescent folks in their 70s and 80s who are still successful and growing, both on a personal and business level. The acronym encompasses the ideas that seem to promote a proactive life.”

•  Answer the question, “What resonates with you?” This is a deceptively deep question when you apply it to your life’s trajectory. If life hasn’t turned out to be what you expected it would 30 years ago, then it’s time to recalibrate how you see yourself, especially if that’s as a perpetual pre-retiree. If you’re not sure of how you see yourself in today’s setting, start with what the spiritual writer Joseph Campbell called the “moving power of your life,” which can be sensed by the things that resonate within you. The things that resonate within you, such as an unusual book, may just be the compass you need to find your way.

About Steve Kayser

Steve Kayser is an award-winning writer, editor, publisher, former radio host and founder of Kayser Media. He has had the great fortune to interview and collaborate with some of the best minds in the business world, and his eclectic approach to public relations and marketing has been widely documented. He recently published “The Greatest Words You’ve Never Heart,” (

On World Day Against Child Labor, 17 Senators Urge Largest Tobacco Companies to Prohibit Child Labor in the Supply Chain PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 13 June 2014 15:07

Letter follows the release of a national report showing children experience sudden, serious health ailments while working in tobacco fields, curing barns

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Seventeen U.S. Senators led by Tom Harkin (D-IA) today sent a letter to the ten largest tobacco companies urging them to prohibit child labor in their supply chain.  The letter comes on the heels of a new report by Human Rights Watch.  The report found that nearly three-quarters of the child tobacco workers in the four largest tobacco-producing states had experienced the sudden onset of serious symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, skin rashes, and irritation to their eyes and mouths; while working on tobacco fields and in curing barns.  Many of these symptoms are consistent with acute nicotine poisoning.

In the letter, the lawmakers urged the companies to develop company policies and industry-wide standards that would include the following:

·         A prohibition on child labor anywhere in the tobacco supply chain, including any work in which children under age 18 come in direct contact with tobacco plants or dried tobacco leaves, including in countries where national laws provide lesser protections;

·         Provisions in all contracts with growers and suppliers that child labor is prohibited, including work by children under age 18 that brings them in direct contact with tobacco;

·         Provisions stipulating qualified third-party monitors to conduct regular inspections of suppliers during peak season when children are most likely to work, and ensure that their reports are made public.”

·         Support for programs to prevent child labor in tobacco, including programs to support educational, recreational, and alternative skills building and vocational opportunities.

Noting that other major tobacco-producing countries, including India and Brazil, prohibit children under age 18 from working in tobacco, the Senators wrote, “We urge you, as the world’s leading tobacco companies and tobacco leaf merchants, to take the steps outlined above to ensure that all children are protected from nicotine poisoning and other health hazards in tobacco production.”

The letter was signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).  It was sent to executives at Altria Group, Inc., British American Tobacco PLC, China National Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, Japan Tobacco Inc., Lorillard, Inc., Philip Morris International Inc., Reynolds American Inc., Alliance One International, Inc., and Universal Corporation.

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.


Iowa Business Growth Company Gets Grant for Iowa Developers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Lori Blackburn   
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 15:26
$45 Million in New Market Tax Credits Now Available to Iowa Developers Iowa Business Growth Company Will Administer Funds to Improve Iowa’s Economic Health
JOHNSTON, Iowa – Iowa Business Growth Company announced today that Iowa Community Development (ICD) has received a $45 million New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation from the United States Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The NMTC program spurs new and increased investments in low-income communities by giving tax credits to operating businesses and real estate projects.
“NMTCs help revitalize low-income communities and increase employment opportunities,” said Dennis Murdock, ICD chairman. “ICD is pleased to once again have these funds to help entrepreneurs and developers invest in the state of Iowa.”
This is the fifth time ICD has received an NMTC allocation, for a total of $245 million in tax credits. Iowa Business Growth Company administers the tax credit program for ICD.
“NMTCs have been instrumental in our efforts to attract and retain projects that improve the economic health of Iowa as it competes with other states for these investments,” said Daniel Robeson, Iowa Business Growth Company president.
Since the NMTC program’s inception in 2000, Iowa Community Development has awarded NMTC tax credits to 19 projects in 15 different communities in Iowa. One such project was the 2013 construction and expansion of a manufacturing facility by Winegard Company in Burlington, Iowa. Winegard manufactures TV reception products.
“NMTC funded $12 million of the $17 million Winegard project,” Robeson said. “The expansion resulted in the creation of 70 new full-time jobs, and the retention of 320  jobs and 200 contract positions – which is very meaningful in a rural community with high poverty and unemployment rates.”
Iowa Business Growth Company is a certified development company that assists businesses throughout the state with alternative financing through various programs, including NMTC and Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans. Businesses interested in applying for NMTC funding can contact Daniel Robeson at 515-223-4511 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Branstad, Reynolds celebrate success of the Skilled Iowa Initiative on second anniversary of its launch PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Monday, 09 June 2014 10:50

Plan to prepare working Iowans for careers in demand has certified 45,000 individuals through National Career Readiness Certificate


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today were joined by Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert at the administration’s weekly press conference as they celebrated the successes of the Skilled Iowa Initiative, two years after its launch in June 2012. The Skilled Iowa Initiative has had impacts across every county in Iowa, far greater than originally imagined.  To date, over 10,000 Iowa businesses have signed on in support of the initiative and over 45,000 Iowans have certified their skill sets through the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).

“Skilled Iowa has made tremendous strides across the state, realizing success in areas beyond the traditional workforce, which is positioning Iowa – and hardworking Iowans – for continued success for years to come,” said Branstad. “The Skilled Iowa Initiative is helping Iowa businesses identify capable and qualified employees, and giving working Iowans an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their skillset with a recognized accomplishment – the National Career Readiness Certificate.”

One of the cornerstones of the Skilled Iowa Initiative is the internship program, a unique opportunity that connects unemployed Iowans with training opportunities at Iowa businesses.  The individuals receive a new transferrable skill through an internship that provides on-the-job training in conjunction with basic skill development all while maintaining unemployment benefits.  To date, over 300 unique internship opportunities have been utilized by unemployed Iowans and those receiving public assistance.  Fifty-five percent of the internships have resulted in offers of full-time permanent job opportunities.

“With $8.8 billion in private capital investment coming to Iowa since 2011, Governor Branstad and I knew there would be tremendous opportunities for working Iowans to apply their unique skillsets in high-quality careers,” said Reynolds. “The innovative Skilled Iowa Initiative helps workers prepare to fill the jobs that are being created all across Iowa.”

“The Skilled Iowa Initiative is a perfect demonstration of working together to improve the Iowa economy without concern for politics,” stated Bill Knapp, who helped launch the initiative in 2012.  “Governor Branstad and Director Wahlert through Skilled Iowa, and especially the internship portion, have done much to achieve success for the initiative.”

The Skilled Iowa Initiative targeted the future workforce during the second year.  The goal was to connect high school students with growing high-tech, high-demand occupations in Iowa.  To date, over 7,000 Iowa high school students have taken the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) assessment, and several students achieved the platinum status.  They join the less than three hundred Iowans who have attained platinum.

“Our students are critical to tomorrow’s workforce,” stated Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development.  “By embedding the work critical skills of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information into the high schools, our students are receiving a sound platform to begin further education and employment.”

The Skilled Iowa Initiative strives to create Skilled Iowa Communities across the state.  Des Moines County was the first area to become a Skilled Iowa Community and was quickly followed by others across the state.  To date, the Skilled Iowa Community designation has also been given to Union County, Ringgold County, Adams County, Jones County, Monona County, Lucas County, Keokuk County, Washington County and the City of Onawa.  In order to become a Skilled Iowa Community, the area must meet the following metrics: 10 percent of the employers covering at least 20 percent of the areas employment must be Skilled Iowa Members, 5 percent of the current labor force has achieve the NCRC certification, and 20 percent of the transitioning labor force must receive the NCRC certification.

The Skilled Iowa Initiative has gained national attention for its success from the National Governor’s Association and other states looking to implement a similar program.  For more information on the Skilled Iowa Initiative, visit


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