ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is now tasked with studying how best to expand apprenticeship programs throughout the state after Senate Bill 2024, spearheaded by state Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, was recently signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“We’re lucky that our state has such a diverse economy,” Walker said. “Unfortunately, Illinois is lacking skilled workers for good paying, 21st century jobs. More and more apprenticeship programs are being developed throughout the state, but if we’re going to stay on top of our innovative economy, we need to dedicate resources to helping that expansion.”
Senate Bill 2024, also known as the Apprenticeship Study Act, requires DCEO to conduct a study of the potential expansion of apprenticeship programs in the state. The department will submit its results to the Governor and the General Assembly by June 1, 2020. The Apprenticeship Study Act is one part of a broader legislative plan by Walker to improve and expand career and technical education as well as apprenticeships throughout the state.
“This past session, we passed bills setting up the 21st Century Jobs grant program to create a better pipeline from high school to college to employment for those in career and technical education and we created a tax credit for businesses helping educate their apprentices,” Walker said. “We know that college isn’t for everyone. And we know that we need skilled workers trained and working in Illinois. By investing in businesses and policies that invest in our state, we are on track to building a stronger Illinois.”