Guest Column: Illinois Growth Enterprises Update

November 21, 2012

By Bob Gough and Don Thayer

“It makes me feel good to know that I am a big help to my supervisor, because I know most of the packing jobs here at Illinois Growth Enterprises (IGE),” said Jill Hasemeyer, an IGE client with disabilities who has packaged a wide variety of products for IGE’s corporate customers.

New healthy lifestyle classes for IGE

Jill graduated from Guilford High School and worked at Barber Colman until health issues ended her career there. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19 percent of the U.S. population has a disability.) She has been an IGE client for 16 years. Because her peers regard her as a leader, she was selected to train other IGE clients in a new program called “HealthMatters.” The goal is to help adults with developmental disabilities improve their health in a program designed specifically for them.

As part of the program, Jill attended a training session presented by the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I learned a lot, like how to teach exercises and what food you should eat, how to take better care of ourselves,” she said.

IGE’s LifeSkills curriculum helps clients be more independent

In other services, IGE added a curriculum to its “LifeSkills” program that helps 35 clients lead more independent lives. One example is learning how to create and stick to a personal budget. We are grateful for scholarship donations that allow us to provide this essential program.

Better management of our resources

We are pleased to report that despite the loss of nearly $900,000 in grants from the State of Illinois in 2010, IGE has improved its financial position through better resource management. Our staff has responded very positively to productivity improvements and cost-containment strategies resulting from our 2010 affiliation with Bridgeway, an Illinois- and Iowa-based rehabilitation organization that purchased our building and reduced our overhead.

Corporate contacts help bottom line; must replace Singer cleaning contract

IGE has aggressively marketed its contract packaging, assembly, and electronics recycling services. Our new partnership with the Illinois Tollway created 50 jobs; our clients are paid to review license plate images electronically.

Thermo Scientific of Rockford continues to be one of our largest customers; we are proud to assemble and maintain inventory of all their shipping boxes. Canon USA, Specialty Screw, Rocknel, Estwing and Eclipse are some of IGE’s additional corporate customers.

However, with the recent closing of Singer Zone Center by the State of Illinois, we lost a very large contract for office cleaning services. If you know of potential corporate contracts we could pursue, we would appreciate your assistance.

IGE is ISO 9001 registered and ISO 14001 compliant

We ask for your help in gaining new corporate contracts. Our clients with disabilities are dedicated, skilled and extremely reliable. We are an ideal outsourcing supplier for packaging, electronic recycling, assembly, and fulfillment/shipping services. And, our corporate customers and donors have the deep satisfaction of knowing that our contracting services rehabilitate adults with disabilities.

Thank you for caring and reading

Thank you for letting us update you on how IGE helps adults with disabilities lead more independent lives. Please stay tuned for more news. We are thankful for your interest.

Bob Gough is the chair of the IGE Board of Directors. Don Thayer is the president of IGE.

From the Nov. 21-27, 2012, issue

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