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(Beloit, WI) By Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Rock County 5.0 released an Inspire Rock County promotional video during today’s Regional Business Expo in Janesville to alert the public about its new career readiness website.

Inspire Wisconsin-Rock County, a online one-stop-shop at www.inspirerockcounty.org, will allow students, primarily in the middle school through college years, to scout out careers and companies of interest in Rock County.

At the new site students and parents or teachers can search for internship, job shadowing and even employment opportunities for young people. Some companies may agree to have coaches or mentors signed up to answer students’ questions about what courses to take in high school or college and how to be the best in their chosen field.

Otterstein said the portal gives equal access to all students and can give them connections to the work world they may not otherwise have. The connections could lead to internships and eventually full-time jobs.

More than 50 companies throughout Rock County, representing various industry clusters and company ownership structures, already have committed to participate. Nearly 130 work-based learning activities have been entered into the system, and approximately 50 volunteers have stepped forward to serve as virtual career coaches.

More 200 education staff, ranging from guidance counselors to career/technical education instructors, have been trained in using the new platform.

Otterstein said Rock County 5.0’s new business and education strategy will help employers get a better-prepared workforce. And businesses will increase their visibility while informing future workers about local career and job opportunities.

“It provides a win-win for everyone: better information, more interaction opportunities, less info hunting, increased engagement and communication efficiencies which is huge when taking into account staff and resource capacity issues in the K-12 system,” he said.

The project’s sponsors are continuing to recruit businesses, volunteers and mentors, and Otterstein encourages the public to check out the new web site.

Rock County 5.0 is a five-year public/private economic development initiative designed to reposition and revitalize Rock County’s economy. The initiative’s efforts are focused on the following five economic development strategies: Business Retention & Expansion, Business & Investment Attraction, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Positioning and Workforce Profiling. For additional Rock County 5.0 information, visit www.rockcounty5.com .

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