Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain says a recent job fair at East Aurora High School not only provides a great opportunity for young people but can actually help prevent crime.
“I’m left speechless from the incredible turnout at the East Aurora High School Job Fair we hosted today,” Hain said in a Wednesday (May 15, 2019) Facebook post. “Over 470 students were connected to employment before summer begins.”
The timing and the intent was to provide juniors and seniors with full-time, part-time, and summer jobs before the school year ended. City of Aurora elected officials embraced the idea and co-hosted the event.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, along with East Side aldermen and alderwomen — Ted Mesiacos, Juany Garza, Scheketa Hart-Burns, Emmanuel Llamas, and Alderman-at-Large Sherman Jenkins — supported and visited with students and the 24 employers who attended the event.
The idea began in April, when the East Aurora School District reached out to the Sheriff’s Office for additional police support at the high school. A deputy was assigned to the school back on May 9.
The discussion led to officials looking at ways to prevent crime. Hain said he maintains an overarching concept: that providing opportunities is a key factor in preventing students’ potential involvement in criminal activity.
“The mission of the Sheriff’s Office is to constantly support our citizens through any mechanisms available to us,” Hain said. “The absolute last thing we want to do is take them to jail”
Hain credits the Sheriff’s Office new Diversion Department staff, led by Administrative Director Judy Dawson, for pulling together the successful event in a short amount of time.
Assistant Director Corey Dixon, an Elgin city councilman, was recently added to the Diversion Department. With his extensive background in support service connection from his career at the State’s Department of Human Services and his strong connections in the Elgin community, Dixon will lead the Sheriff’s re-entry, homeless, and anti-recidivism programs for northern Kane County.
“By hiring collaborators instead of more enforcers, we are building strong police-community relations and putting people on a productive path in life,” Hain said.
Now that the Sheriff’s Office has a working model, Hain said officials will be offering job fairs to other high schools in the county over the next year.