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Latitude News: As jobs go overseas, foreign jobs come here - just not enough

Jobs, jobs, jobs.

That’s been the national mantra since the Great Recession hit in 2008, and it does not seem to be going anywhere.

In our perpetual quest to illuminate U.S. connections with the world, Latitude News hit the streets of Danville, Illinois this week to ask people about the global economy.

Danville’s large local employers include a VA hospital, a Quaker Foods factory and an airplane parts maker, but folks in Danville said local job prospects were dismal.

Read full story here



Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess/The building where the famed Windbreaker jackets were once made now sits vacant. Behind it, the soybean processing giant, Bunge, operates. Some Danville residents report concern over job loss in the area.

Unemployment - By the numbers

CHAMPAIGN— Congress is expected to pass another unemployment extension this week that will allow the nation’s unemployed to claim up to a maximum 99 weeks of benefits through November.

This is good news for about 115,000 unemployed Illinois residents, who faced a loss of their unemployment benefits if Congress did not act.

As it is now, more than 36,500 residents have exhausted their unemployment benefits since January, according to data obtained from the Illinois Department of Economic Security.

Illinois topped the national unemployment rate in June with 10.4 percent of the state’s residents unemployed.  The unemployment rate nationwide was 9.5 percent in June.

CU-Citizen Access

Unlevel foundation: Racial disparities persist across local trade unions

By Dusty Rhodes—The next time you drive past a construction site, take a close look at the workers. Besides the hard hats and the steel-toed boots, you might notice that they have something else in common: Virtually all are white males.

Dusty Rhodes/ Members of trade unions nationswide are 90 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In some local unions, minorities make up less than 5 percent of the workforce.

Unlevel foundation: Polite resistance

All it takes is a hard hat, work boots and a GED. So why aren't more minorities employed in the construction industry?

Dusty Rhodes/ Todd Rent, human relations officer with the City of Urbana, discusses the lack of minorities in labor unions.

Unlevel foundation: Constructing a solution

All it takes is a hard hat, work boots and a GED. So why aren't more minorities employed in the construction industry?

Dusty Rhodes/ Parkland College offers a summer course for high-school students interested in construction

Unlevel foundation: Disappointing gamble

Every Saturday, for 20 weeks, 46 men and women reported to the Physical Plant Service Building on the University of Illinois campus at 7:30 a.m. and worked until 3:30 p.m.

Dusty Rhodes/ A man stares up at a construction site. Local state-funded programs aimed to increase minorities in construction trade unions have had limited success

Unlevel foundation: A history of obstacles

CHAMPAGIN -- The construction industry’s history of racial segregation in Central Illinois isn’t a legend or an excuse; among workers themselves, it’s a well-known fact.

Dusty Rhodes/ Historically, the construction industy has excluded minority workers. Across some local unions, little has changed today.

Unlevel foundation: New law, big impact

CHAMPAIGN -- Illinois’ legislative effort to level the playing field for minority- and female-owned businesses comes down to a single sentence, and a simple one at that: “Those who submit bids or proposals for State contracts shall not be given a period after the bid or proposal is submitted to cure deficiencies . . . . ”

Dusty Rhodes/ A construction site at the University of Illinois. A new state law aims to increase the use of minority-and-female-owned businesses.

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