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Finding Jobs for Mercer County Residents

The next step in boosting the economy of a rural county near the Quad Cities is jobs. Each week an organization called Mercer County Better Together emails a list of job openings collected by a regional group called the American Job Center.

Executive Director Kyle McEwen says Mercer County Better Together was formed three years ago, and after much brain-storming and planning, raised money to improve parks and recreation programs. Now it's turning its attention to finding jobs for the county's 15,600 residents.

"We also know economic development is not just building new brick and mortar. Those projects definitely have their place, but the scope of economic development goes well beyond those. And so the way in which we develop our economy is to put people in positions where their quality of life is raised."

The weekly email goes out to 400 county residents, and the most recent list of job openings ranged from school teacher and meat slicer, to groundskeeper and receptionist.

McEwen says strategic planning is even more important for a county like his, than for larger, more populated counties because there's probably more work to do and fewer people to do it. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.