Onward & Upward: Growth Dimensions Holds Annual Reception

Onward & Upward: Growth Dimensions Holds Annual Reception Main Photo

30 Sep 2021

Growth Dimensions Economic Development recently held their 2021 Annual Reception at the Community Building Complex of Boone County. The event drew nearly 200 guests from Boone County and across the region, while focusing on measures to keep guests safe.


Growth Dimensions would like to thank the following sponsors for making the event a success:

Presenting Sponsor: OSF HealthCare

Wine Sponsor: General Mills

Speaker Sponsor: SwedishAmerican – A Division of UW

Centerpiece Sponsor: Northwestern Illinois Building Trades Union

Premier Sponsors: ComEd, Enbridge and Magna

Supporting Sponsors: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Nicor Gas


Pamela Lopez-Fettes, Growth Dimensions’ Executive Director, highlighted Boone County’s accomplishments over the last year.

Growth Dimensions and Forward Boone County partners continued their commitment to provide COVID-19 resources to Boone County, by volunteering more than 1,000 hours towards COVID-related matters. These efforts allowed the County to hold 18 webinars, focused on business revitalization, COVID-19 information, vaccine updates, and many other topics, garnering more than 3,000 video and webinar views. Other efforts included providing support for funding options, which allowed Boone County businesses to receive more than $3.2 million in much needed financial assistance.

Fettes then focused on business project requests for new and existing businesses looking to expand their footprint and bring additional investments into the community. Additionally, the Belvidere-Boone County Enterprise Zone continues to be utilized and has resulted in nearly $7.1 million in capital investments in 2020 and 2021.

She continued by highlighting Growth Dimensions’ involvement in collaborating with local and state elected officials, to make Illinois a more competitive option for businesses, specifically manufacturing. This partnership continues to make strides towards presenting a bill to the Illinois House of Representatives that would make Illinois more attractive for new businesses and expansion.

Fettes then focused on their Venture Program and the traction it has gained as a result of partnering and collaborating with numerous local and regional organizations. You can learn more at www.growthdimensions.org/business-resources/venture-program.

Fettes also focused on the job market, highlighting the substantial decrease in Boone County’s unemployment. Unemployment was at 16.0% in 2020, dropping to 8.8% in 2021. In tandem, Fettes, discussed the key drivers in Boone County that will aide in increasing the local talent pool, to help keep driving down unemployment; Rock Valley College’s Advanced Technology Center and the 60 by 25 Network. 


As a tie-in to the job market and employment, the evening’s keynote speaker was James Ellis, keynote speaker for the recruiting and employer brand set. With businesses feeling the impact of the worker shortage, Ellis’ presentation, “The War for Talent Starts on Your Job Postings,” was timely and relevant.

Presenting virtually, Ellis provided tips and examples of how to make business job openings appealing to prospective employees. He stressed the importance of crafting job postings as a marketing piece, in contrast to how they are typically a Human Resources document.

He noted that a job posting should not alienate talent by listing job duties/tasks, requirements, etc. Rather the structure should include who the company is, describe the team and how they support the company, highlight the role and how it will support the team, and portray the culture of the company. This structure, according to Ellis, creates “a clear link between what the organization is doing and that the person is doing.”

Additionally, Ellis stressed the importance of not outline duties, tasks and requirements within a job posting. Rather, describe what a typical day would look like and what tasks will be performed. Ellis says, “This opens up your talent pool to people who might not meet every single criteria or requirement.” Criteria and requirements can deter prospects from applying, as they feel they are not qualified.

Ellis went on to show examples of job postings, as well as answered questions from the audience.



Fettes closed the evening, by providing final remarks on Growth Dimensions ongoing outreach efforts, promoting Boone County as a great place to Live, Work and Play, ending the evening with Boone County’s latest video, Boone County, Illinois: A Place Where Business Makes Sense.