Winnebago County Designation Celebration

Winnebago County Designation Celebration Main Photo

1 Nov 2022



October 28th: Earlier this summer, the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors met in regular session to approve application to Home Base Iowa and passed a resolution to provide $1,000 in relocation assistance.  This will be distributed through the county’s economic development office Winn-Worth Betco (WWB).  WWB is a 28 E agreement between Winnebago and Worth Counties and will fund $1000 in relocation assistance to a maximum of six veterans per year between the two counties.

Home Base Iowa Program Manager, Jathan Chicoine of Iowa Workforce Development will be back in the county for the Designation Celebration, at 9:00 am Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Boman Fine Arts Center.   Here, Chicoine will share with local businesses the public-private partnership that matches military veterans and their families to employment opportunities and resources in Iowa counties and communities. State Representative Henry Stone will be emceeing the event.

Melissa Michaelis, Executive Director of Winn-Worth Betco spearheaded this designation in hopes that cities would follow suit with the counties. “In order to earn the HBI designation, 10% of a community’s businesses need to pledge to hire veterans.” Michaelis encourages businesses in the surrounding communities to attend this event.  “Once this step is complete, the next step will be to approach the cities and work with each of their councils toward a designation of their own.”

Forest City passed a resolution on January 18th, 2016, in support of the Home Base Iowa Initiative. Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development Director has been working with City Council and to finalize the application. Chicoine will also be designating the community of Forest City as a HBI community.

“This program is all about helping people.” Mary Lou Kleveland, Winnebago County Veterans Affairs Director said. “The sincerest thank you to those who have served is a smooth transition.  That is what we are here for. That is what this program does.” Kleveland encourages any veteran who needs assistance to contact her.  Kleveland helps veterans with disability compensation, pension, VA healthcare as well as state benefits.

Home Base Iowa assists veterans transitioning from military to civilian life by connecting veterans with close to 1,600 businesses, 21 college and university partners and 65 other Home Base Iowa communities statewide.

Home Base Iowa designates qualified communities as centers of opportunity for veterans based on four criteria:

  • 10% of businesses become Home Base Iowa businesses and pledge to hire veterans 
  • Custom incentive package for veterans
  • Home Base Iowa Community designation prominently displayed and
  • Resolution of support from appropriate local governing body

To learn more about Home Base Iowa, visit

End of Release


Winn-Worth Betco is the Winnebago-Worth Counties Betterment Council. Winn-Worth Betco was established in 1991 by a group of forward-thinking citizens to ensure that the area would see economic growth through organizing an economic development office.  Winn-Worth Betco serves the economic development interests in housing, tourism, community development, and business recruitment and retainment for Winnebago and Worth Counties.  The Executive Board is comprised of both the Boards of Supervisors of Winnebago and Worth counties.  The Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from all 14 incorporated communities in Winnebago and Worth counties as well as one member of each of the county Boards of Supervisors in Winnebago and Worth counties.


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