July 06, 2015

‘Illinois workNet’ website enhanced, expanded

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Recent updates that include easier navigation and responsive design make a website that connects Illinois workers and employers even more valuable. 

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Workforce Education and Development developed, designed and maintains the Illinois workNet Portal System. Utilizing technology and partnerships, the portal centralizes and enhances workforce development resources for individuals, businesses and workforce professionals to expand economic opportunity. 

The website, available at www.illinoisworknet.com, incorporates numerous components, programs and resources under one umbrella to help individuals and companies meet their career, training and employment goals, according to Jeanne Kitchens, associate director of the SIU Center for Workforce Development. The site is constantly updated and enhanced, assuring that it is both accurate and comprehensive. 

“Our overall purpose is to provide individuals, employers and education and workforce partners with an accurate and complete universal portal to all of the programs, resources, training and assistance available in the state,” Kitchens said. 

The website is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which provides grant funding for it through the Office of Employment and Training via federal monies. The website, open to everyone, debuted in 2005 and over the past decade, it has been enlarged and enhanced – including the recently implemented new look and formatting. The changes have made it totally responsive, so users can access all of the components in a format that adjusts to a variety of devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones. English and Spanish translations are incorporated within the website. 

Users can also subscribe to receive free updates and news. They can also set up their own personal “dashboard” account to help them with career plans, training programs and special opportunities. And, they can stay connected to the portal through Facebook, Twitter or various other forms of social media. 

Individuals can explore career options, wages and trends, take skills and interest surveys, participate in online training, locate training programs located near them, create resumes, find resources for laid-off employees and search for job openings in a wide variety of industries and career fields. The site incorporates networking opportunities, webinars and special components to assist veterans and people with disabilities. There is even a “Job Club,” offering employment guidance. 

The site is also a valuable resource for people wanting to start their own business or businesses that have job openings.  It includes labor market information, business financing data, and details about tax credits and available incentives. 

Kitchens said the renovations, updates and additions to the website make it even more helpful, complete and easier to navigate. But, the work is not done, she said, adding that making the Illinois workNet site more comprehensive and user-friendly will be an ongoing process. 

For more information about Illinois workNet visit www.illinoisworknet.com..