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    job-searchIn May 2011, Illinois unemployment rate was the same as the national average, that is to say 9.1 percent. However, if you are unemployed and young, your chances of finding employment in Illinois are much slimmer. The Illinois unemployment rate for teenagers is 25.8, 1.6 percent higher than the national average 24.2 percent. The situation is even worse for Illinois black teenagers, which have an unemployment rate of 47.7 percent and Illinois Hispanic teenagers, which have an unemployment rate of 26 percent. White teenagers had an unemployment rate of 24.7 percent.

    What is the cause of this rise in teen unemployment? Unfortunately the situation in Illinois mirrors the situation in the nation as a whole. According to Greg Rivara, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the reason is adults are being forced by into jobs they would have previously not accepted and that would have been open to teenagers in a better economy.

    The good news is the Illinois Department of Employment Security has created a program for teens looking to start work. The program is called Illinois Hire the Future. It started as a summer program for teens looking for a summer job and has now evolved in a year-round program for students.


    The Illinois Hire the Future program provides incentives to employers who give students a chance to start work. It provides employers with low cost workers while giving students a chance to develop their skills and get a feel of what the workforce requires from them.


    To qualify for Illinois Hire the Future you must be between 16 and 21, be attending school, have an 8th grade level in Math and reading, a tardy rate of 10 percent or lower and an attendance rate of 90 percent or higher. Openings are limited in the program, so participants will be elected based on their academic performance, attendance records and the recommendation of principals and counselors.

    Employers are required to pay minimum wage. How long they decide to employ you or if they decide to pay your more than minimum wage is up to each employer.

    Other opportunities for young Illinois workers are the Illinois Department of Employment Security Apprenticeship Training program and the Illinois WorkNet Centers. For more information on these programs click on this link.

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    Illinois Jobs

    When you have a difficult task in front of you, it pays to have the right tools to get the job done. Having the tools is, of course, not enough. You need to know how to use them. Finding work in an economy like Illinois’, with an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, is not an easy task. Illinois Skills Match provides the help, direction and resources you need to improve your chances of finding a new job.

    So, What Is Illinois Skills Match?

    Illinois Skills Match is a free (but powerful) job search and matching system that runs on the internet. It is designed to match job offers with applicants registered in the system. One of the beauties of Illinois Skills Match is that in never stops working. You can use it to search for work any day of the week, any time, regardless of if it’s a holiday or a weekend.

    Okay, But How Does It Work?

    The first step is for employers to register the job opening they need to cover. They must specify with skills each job posting requires.

    The second step is for unemployed workers, you must introduce you skills set, the wages you require and what distances you are willing to travel.

    Step three, Illinois Skills Match will link job openings to employees by their skills, availability and salary requirements.

    Step four. You must check your Illinois Skills Match profile regularly and see what job matches are available to you. You can then apply for job matches.

    Alternatively, the employer may express an interest in your profile and the Illinois Department of Employment Security will send you a message either by phone, email or mail.

    Notice you must make sure your profile is accurate, up-to-date and well written. This is your advert to the employment market. It pays to get it right. Note also you must check Illinois Skills Match’s website regularly, at least once every 45 days, or your account will become inactive.


    Free Service. This premium job search engine is provided at no cost to employers and employees.

    You have complete control over the information you store on your profile and is available to employers.

    You can use it to search for work anywhere with an internet connection at anytime of the day or night.

    You may print a job seeker profile which you can use to create an effective resume.

    Saves you time by matching you with suitable jobs while ignoring posts you are not interested in or not qualified for.

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    The first thing you need to do if you become unemployed in Illinois is ensure you have an alternative income source. If you have savings, a real estate portfolio or have a rich uncle, this may not be a problem. Unfortunately, most of us are rather lacking in the rich relatives and real estate portfolio department. A more common method of ensuring a steady income during periods of financial instability is filing for unemployment benefits. You can do this online or over the phone. If you meet the requirements of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, you will receive a monetary disclosure letter detailing what weekly benefits you will receive and for how long. However, this is only the start. To begin receiving unemployment benefits you must file for your weekly benefits on a bi-weekly basis.

    Illinois Tele-Serve System

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security uses Tele-Serve as its automatic telephone certification system. This process of certification begins only after you prove you are eligible for benefits. After your application has been approved you must certify your weekly benefits either online or over the phone.

    How Do I Call?

    There are two numbers available to Illinois unemployed workers: the Statewide number for all Illinois workers: 888.337.7234 and the number for the hearing impaired (available from 8:30 to 5:00 pm on weekdays): 800.662.3943

    What Will I Be Asked?

    If this is your first time applying for unemployment benefits, you are probably wondering what is the purpose of this certifying process? After all, hasn’t my application being approved? Why do I need to certify every other week. The certification process determines you are still eligible for unemployment benefits. It also determines if you are receiving income from another source that should be deducted from your unemployment compensation. Answering specific questions about your personal and financial life can be difficult, especially if you do not have the information at hand. We have therefore included a list of the questions you will be asked by the Tele-Serve or online certification systems.

    You will also be asked to provide personal details to confirm who you are. Documents requested include your SSN, the PIN provided by the Employment Security Department, your earnings before taxes for the weeks you are certifying and you last certification statement.

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