As I begin my leadership and stewardship of the Employers' Association (EA), I'm struck by both the tremendous opportunities and the challenges facing employers today. But that's what makes this an exciting time in EA's long history and why I'm honored and privileged to have been selected to lead at this critical juncture. The outpouring of support, well wishes, and advice from colleagues, members, and community leaders has been overwhelming.
EA is very fortunate to have a committed board of directors. Through their strategic leadership and support, we've become what we are today-a trusted partner for the more than 700-member organizations in 59 counties in Illinois. I'm confident that as a result of the solid foundation John Gibson established during his successful tenure, EA is strategically positioned to serve the human capital needs of employers in Illinois and the bordering states through our broad base of services and collaborative style.
People are at the heart of every organization. Because of this, it's our shared vision that with our mission as our guide, we'll continue to provide employers with practical solutions for current day-to-day issues. In addition, we'll also equip them with the knowledge and resources they need to tackle emerging issues to secure their position as an employer of choice.
What is an employer of choice? There are several possibilities. It could be the employer the best-qualified prospective employees flock to for employment. Or it could be the employer who has lower-than-average turnover and a highly productive and engaged workforce. In other words, they have a reputation-either real or perceived-for providing a great work environment. It's well documented that by the end of this decade, there's going to be a worker shortage even after adjustments for the global and knowledge economy shifts. Employers of choice "get it"-that to succeed in our 21st century knowledge economy, sound hiring practices, prudent training investments, and retention of a qualified workforce will be integral to the execution of their business plans.
At the Employers' Association, it's our mission to inform and advise employers on how to maximize their human resources. It's my intent in 2004 to provide HR-related information-from case studies to survey trend results to recently passed legislation-in InterBusiness Issues to inform and educate employers on the issues essential to their management practices.
Today, more than ever, employers of all sizes can rely on EA for timely, reliable, and accurate information to help them better handle their management and human resources needs. We have a saying at EA: "None of us is as smart as all of us." This echoes our sentiment about our continued philosophy of teaming and collaboration to not only serve member organizations, but to use our expertise for the greater good of the communities we serve. IBI