October 16, 2008 By News Report
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today unveiled the Serve Illinois Web site -- a valuable new resource for volunteer opportunities statewide. The new Web site will serve as a primary resource for Illinoisans who are seeking information about volunteer agencies, trainings, nonprofit resources and national service programs including AmeriCorps.
"With more than 40,000 volunteer opportunities, the new Serve Illinois Web site is a great way to link individuals to opportunities in their own communities," said Gov. Blagojevich. "It is easy to use and will help make a difference by linking agencies who need volunteers."
The Web site includes a user-friendly volunteer matching portal that acts as a central hub for volunteer opportunities from 16 different state and/or national volunteer opportunity databases. "At Serve.Illinois.gov, you can enter your ZIP code and your area of interest, such as mentoring a child, cleaning up the environment, or adult literacy, and find volunteer opportunities that match your interest, fit into your busy schedule, and are located right in your community," said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.
The announcement was made at the annual ceremony held at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, marking the 14th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. More than 700 Illinoisans were sworn in, dedicating themselves to a year of serving their communities through the AmeriCorps program. In those 14 years, more than 18,500 people have volunteered their time in Illinois through AmeriCorps.
"AmeriCorps is an excellent opportunity for people to volunteer their time and talents and give something back to their communities," said Scott Kimmel, executive director of the Serve Illinois Commission. "Illinois has a strong tradition of volunteerism and compassion for those in need. AmeriCorps volunteers make a real difference in the communities in which they serve."
The Serve Illinois Commission administers the AmeriCorps State programs in Illinois. Serve Illinois is funded by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. The Serve Illinois Commission currently supports 22 AmeriCorps programs throughout the state.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.