$50,000 awarded to support recycling efforts

CHICAGO—Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of $50,000 in Opportunity Returns funding to the Barbara Olson Center of Hope in Rockford to expand its existing commercial recycling program in Northern Illinois. With the grant, the Super Shredders division of the Center will purchase an industrial shredder and baler to offer its confidential document shredding services to larger customers. This recycling grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and comes as a part of Opportunity Returns, Gov. Blagojevich’s proactive, regional economic development strategy designed to create jobs and spur growth in the Northern Stateline region.

“This Opportunity Returns grant not only encourages additional recycling in our state, but creates additional opportunity at the Barbara Olson Center of Hope,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “The Center is a wonderful testament to creating opportunity for every resident in Illinois and provides important economic benefits way beyond protecting our environment.”

Since 1948, the Center has provided learning opportunities for developmentally disabled clients through a number of vocations. The Super Shredders division contracts with area small businesses to shred confidential documents before recycling. Larger businesses will now benefit from the expanded shredding services and six new jobs are expected.

DCEO finances the recycling program through funds received from the tipping fee surcharge levied at Illinois landfills. Grant awards are determined on a competitive basis, and the grantee is required to provide an applicant investment of at least 50 percent of the funding required for the project.

“Creating better opportunities for Illinois’ residents is Gov. Blajojevich’s priority. By partnering with the Center of Hope, we are creating opportunity and jobs for residents in the Rockford area,” said DCEO Director Jack Lavin. “This Opportunity Returns grant is an investment in our work force with the additional benefit of improving the environment.”

The Barbara Olson Center of Hope serves individuals with developmental disabilities by empowering them to live as members of the community by providing opportunities for employment, education, habilitation and social interaction. For more information on the Center, visit www.b-olsoncenterofhope.org.

Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions—each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local work force, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.

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