052015CM0953CHICAGO - Programs designed to help businesses and prospective employees alike are facing the chopping block as Governor Bruce Rauner has begun slashing programs and services rather than close corporate loopholes to try to balance the state budget.

On May 31, the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, an organization whose mission is to assist businesses and promote economic development on the West Side of Chicago, received notice that at least two vital programs would no longer be funded by the state.

Grants that would help businesses and those seeking employment to better learn industry standard software, such as Quickbooks, PowerPoint and other business programs, known as “Eliminating the Digital Divide” grants were suspended by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, or DCEO. Also eliminated was the “Employer Training Investment Program, or ETIP, which helped Illinois workers upgrade their skills to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

“My understanding was that we were all working to bring good paying jobs for highly skilled workers into Illinois. With the elimination of these grants, the governor’s office is going in the opposite direction. Without continuous training, our workforce will fall behind other, more technologically savvy nations. That will not help our middle-class and will not help our state,” Senator Van Pelt said. “These are programs businesses want and need to help them stay competitive in the face of global competition.”

The Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago estimates that in 2014, the work of the council, including work made possible by the eliminated grants, helped create more than 110 jobs in the West Side of Chicago, helping to export more than $30 million in goods and services.

“In order for our state and nation to keep up with the rest of the world, we must have the best trained and best skilled workers. Efforts such as the Digital Divide grants and the ETIP program help our workers, our families and communities thrive. I urge the governor to reconsider these cuts and begin concentrating on helping families, not hurting them,” Senator Van Pelt said.

Category: Press Releases


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