SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, recently sponsored legislation which, if enacted, would provide grant funding for more high schools and community colleges to establish collaborative vocational education programs.
“Education has always been a top concern of mine, and that certainly includes vocational education,” Walker said. “We have a real need for skilled workers in the fields of manufacturing, healthcare and technology. Establishing this grant program is a great step toward training the next generation of workers.”
Senate Bill 1919 would create the 21st Century Employment grant program, establishing a public-private partnership between high schools, community colleges and businesses to expand access to valuable vocational training. The measure was originally introduced by state Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, who passed it out of the Senate on April 10. Walker became chief sponsor of the bill in the House shortly after.
“At the end of the day, we need to provide more good-paying jobs and address the needs of future markets,” Walker said. “We have some successful vocational education programs in our state. Now it’s time we make a dedicated investment in these programs across Illinois. Training our students for the next generation of jobs is critical for the development and health of our economy.”