SOUTHERN ILLINOS (KFVS) - Southern Illinois will see a spike in job growth in the next coming months. The city of West Frankfort may be a small community, but the town is hoping to be a part of the big new wave of jobs.
The Wisconsin-based company WPS Health Solutions plans to add an upwards of 100 positions in West Frankfort, IL. Currently, the company is located up Interstate 57 in Marion Illinois. In September, WPS opened an office in the city-owned West Frankfort Outlet Mall as a supplement to Marion’s office.
West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan says the benefits of the $2 million purchase of the West Frankfort Outlet Mall years back. He says he traded retail space for job space.
Jordan says it will take a lot of money to start repairing, so that’s why he is seeking grants and is hoping the state of Illinois invest in the city. Jordan says he is on a mission to put his community to work. “We refuse to sit back as a little community and die, and we are going to do everything we can to drag people here,” says Jordan.
WPS plans to add claims processing and management positions in West Frankfort, jobs that the mayor says will bring skilled-workers to the region. “These jobs are high paying jobs, I would consider upper to middle-income jobs. They are great jobs and they are the kind of jobs that bring people to your community to buy homes and make an investment." Jordan says, “Jobs bring people, brings residents, brings retail. This is something we really need.”
Amy Hall recently moved to Carbondale from St. Louis to be closer to her mother. She says even with her experience, finding a job has been challenging. However, now with the surge of opportunities, she has hope. “It’s very reassuring," Hall says. "I actually was starting to lose hope but now that I know that some of the bigger companies are coming through, it makes all the difference because I think that it will help this community thrive.”
With a bachelors degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and experience in the health field, she says she hopes to secure something soon.
Marcy Patterson with the Marion-based employment agency says the company is also feeling the growth. “Our phones are constantly ringing,” Patterson says. “We are always busy, I mean those are good signs. We are seeing these companies come in, we have companies go into the old Maytag building. we see stuff happening in Carbondale and West Frankfort.”
Patterson offers tips for potential candidates seeking job employment in the region. She says:
1. Build a strong resume
2. Research and do your homework on the company before the interview
3. Be the expert and yourself
4. Dress appropriately