Efforts to diversify state, labor force in Illinois to share house listening Government and Politics

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House of Commerce and Commercial Committee heard Friday's evidence about the importance of investment in education and infrastructure on employment rates and economic development.

In a hearing at the Michael A. Bilandic building in Chicago, representatives of state agencies, labor unions and other organizations gave evidence of their efforts to better encompass minority workforce populations and what could be done to diversify barriers to participation.

Committee chairman Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, said he would like to see “the best results not only good results” in reducing the unemployment rate in Illinois, particularly in minority communities.

Marc Poulos, executive director of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa Fair-Contracting Foundation, spoke about the importance of building apprenticeships in the Illinois teams for the unions, but noted that only about 16,000 apprentices were active in the 102 counties of Illinois. Those entering the workforce through apprenticeships have more skills and make better money, he said.

He said that these programs come with no debt from individuals, and that, on average, they will do more than college graduates for the first 10 to 15 years after graduation.

Efforts to achieve students to promote trade unions are beginning as early as fifth grade. This is necessary to avoid a “culture shock” when it relates to long hours of trade, as well as removing the stigma associated with a job or union apprenticeship instead of a four-year college, he said.

Frank Manzo, policy director of the Illinois Institute of Economic Policy, told the committee that apprenticeship enrollment in Illinois has increased by 34% since 2011. He added that every $ 1 billion of state infrastructure expenditure generates 11,000 jobs and places around the country. $ 1.6 billion to the economy.

Alison Howlett, executive director of the Chicago District Council Labor Management Cooperation Committee, brought together Councilors, and Charise Williams, director of external affairs at the Chicago Workforce Federation, evidence of efforts to increase the inclusion of minorities and women in these programs.

“Historically, the workforce has not done a great job in recruiting minorities and women,” said Williams, noting that his organization is working on partnerships with contractors and developers to increase recruitment in these areas.

This included teaching efforts, and Williams said that his organization would lobby legislators to invest more in recruitment programs.

Howlett said that his organization is working with legislators to set aside part of the motor fuel sales tax to go to a nationwide network of community organizations for pre-apprenticeship program training and to remove barriers to minority and female inclusion in the country. trades.

The Illinois Department of Transport, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities, the Tollway and other groups also indicated their efforts to increase minority participation.

Brad Tietz, DCEO's director of legislative affairs, said his office was working on his first economic development plan since 2014, and was seeking capital bill funding for projects such as broadband expansion and water and sewerage lines to help to expand businesses downstate.

Dave Comerford, the Illinois Teachers Federation legislative director, gave evidence about Grow Your Own Teacher, a recruitment program in the field of education.

This program aims to recruit potential teachers from low income communities to teach at “hard to provide” school areas, said Comerford. This fills staff gaps and benefits students by employing more transferable teachers, he said.

Growing Your Own Teacher began in 2005 and at one time there were 16 consortia from Carbondale to Chicago, but state funding was not made available for the program in 2016 and 2017, Comerford said. Funding was returned for this fiscal year at $ 1.4 million, and is also included in the next year's proposed budget, he said. Comerford stated that there are vacancies in 527 of the 852 school areas in Illinois.

Evans stated that he intended to host further hearings to discuss specific plans and ideas to increase minority participation in the labor force and to stimulate economic growth in Illinois.

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