ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – A bill passed by state Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, to create a grant program designed to close educational and employment gaps in career and technical education as well as apprenticeship programs was signed into law this week.
“I was proud to join Governor Pritzker and my colleague Senator Gillespie for this bill signing,” Walker said. “With our world-class educational and physical infrastructure, Illinois has an opportunity to capitalize on its strengths, innovate and further grow our economy.”
Senate Bill 1919 creates the 21st Century Employment Grant Program, tasking the Illinois Community College Board to establish an advisory board to analyze gaps in workers and employment opportunities for high-quality jobs in the manufacturing, health care and innovative technology sectors. The board will then work with high schools, community colleges and employers to design up-to-date programs filling the needs of both Illinois’ skilled workforce and the state’s diverse economy.
“This is one of many practical steps we are taking to jumpstart job opportunities and business success across Illinois,” Walker said. “This legislation links our companies, our educational institutions and our job seekers to build futures together. We are turning the corner in Illinois.”
Walker has supported and passed similar legislation dedicated to expanding Illinois’ apprenticeship programs to further boost our innovative economy. Recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker were Senate Bill 1591, creating a tax credit for employers who invest in their workers’ apprenticeship education programs, and Senate Bill 2024, which tasks the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with creating a study on how best to expand apprenticeship programs in the state.