In spring 2018, a group of executives representing Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in Lake County, Illinois, faced a dilemma: Their businesses were hiring, but recruiters couldn’t find enough workers to fill openings in their suburban Chicago offices. In response, the employers hoped to tap into a bigger talent pool by expanding their recruitment target area to include Chicago residents.

Known as Lake County Partners, the group includes big-name corporations such as Abbott Laboratories, Baxter International, Discover Financial Services, Tenneco Inc. and W.W. Grainger Inc. By reaching out to potential workers living in the city, recruiters did find more people interested in job interviews with those corporations.

But once those recruits thought about the commute — the drive between Chicago and the county is about 45 miles — many declined the job offers.

Realizing a hassle-free commute weighs heavily in many people’s decisions about where they choose to work, the Lake County business executives — joined by the Lake Forest, Illinois, mayor — approached the board of Chicago-based commuter railroad Metra to discuss a possible solution. Would Metra be willing to add a train or two to transport so-called “reverse commuters” from Chicago neighborhoods in the morning to jobs in Lake County and then back to Chicago in the evening? Their answer: Yes. Click here to continue reading…

Credit: Julie Sneider | Progressive Railroading

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