SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Community colleges, high schools and major regional employers would be able to apply for state funding to create and operate new job training programs under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, which passed both houses of the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support and is expected to arrive on the governor’s desk.
“Illinois has a serious shortage of skilled workers for jobs that pay $35 an hour or more,” said Halpin. “This legislation gives employers the resources they need to create customized job training programs that keep pace with quickly-evolving technology, therefore preparing the next generation of workers for long-term, high-wage jobs.”
Halpin’s Senate Bill 1919 brings together community colleges, high schools and employers to help grow the economy and prepare workers for high-wage jobs by creating the 21st Century Employment Grant Program. The program would enable employers to enter into public-private partnerships to create customized job training programs specific to skills that are in the most demand and the hardest for businesses to find.
“As business’ demand for skilled workers continues to increase, we need to address the disconnect between what high schools and community colleges are teaching and what skills employers are looking for in workers,” said Halpin. “This means directly involving employers in efforts to expand vocational and technical education, so that their needs are being met and prospective workers are prepared for good-paying jobs.”