JVS Chicago’s 7th annual Strictly Business event will be an Oct. 21 breakfast at Chicago’s elite Standard Club and will feature an expert panel discussing the Skills Gap Solutions: Aligning Business, Education and Talent.

Stimulate your morning with a delicious breakfast, coffee, and a discussion of the gap between job seekers’ skills and the needs of employers.  The expert panel – moderated by Chicago Public Radio Business Reporter Susie An, who has reported extensively on the subject – includes Anne Edmonds, Midwest Regional Director of Manpower, Inc.;  Dr. Kenneth Ender, President of Harper College and Shelley Stern Grach, Director of Civic Engagement for Microsoft.

The Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court, is one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious private clubs.  Founded in 1839, the club moved into its magnificent building in 1926.  The environment, service and food offered by the historic club are of the highest quality.

The morning’s discussion will be of the same high caliber.  The four participants in the panel discussion are keenly aware of the skills gap in the job market and its impact on employment.

Anne Edmunds, Regional Vice President of Manpower, Inc., leads its Commercial Staffing business in the Greater Chicago Region. Her duties include: strategy development and implementation; employee selection, development and retention; sales and service execution, and client satisfaction/retention. She previously served as Area Manager for the Wisconsin Region. Anne has been featured on ABC News, CBS and in the Chicago Tribune and serves as spokesperson for the highly respected Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. She chairs the Workforce Excellence Committee of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Kenneth Ender is the President of one of the largest US community colleges – Harper College, located at 1200 West Algonquin Road in Palatine.  Serving about 40,000 students a year, Harper is home to innovative programs, including the Advanced Manufacturing Program housed in a Tech building that recently received a $38 million renovation.  Before assuming the presidency of Harper, Ender was an award-winning President of Cumberland Community College in New Jersey. According to the Harper College website, his administration has focused on “increasing the number of students who graduate from Harper with a degree or workforce certificate or transfer successfully to a four-year university.”

Shelley Stern Grach is the Director –Civic Engagement for the Technology and Civic Engagement (TCE) group at Microsoft Corporation. Based in Chicago, Shelley focuses on supporting economic development and STEM skills programs that accelerate the Mayor’s Plan for Chicago. Stern Grach ensures broad community awareness and utilization of Microsoft’s Citizenship and Education programs, including YouthSpark, digital literacy curriculum, grants and software, and invests in programs that assist in providing technology education, stimulating STEM skills and careers for students and entrepreneurs. She leads local policy and thought leadership programs on innovation, responsible business leadership and broad education outreach.

Moderating this panel of experts will be Susie An, Business Reporter for WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio.  An has reported extensively on the job skills gap, the post-bubble housing market, the workforce and risk in business. Her work can also be heard on National Public Radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and British Broadcasting Corporation. Born in San Diego, California, An grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Tickets for the Strictly Business breakfast are $60 until Oct. 15, $75 thereafter. Sponsorships of the event are still available.  For more information, visit or email

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