(The Center Square) – A group of state legislators is joining forces with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association to address educational issues involving one of the state’s largest industries.
Lawmakers from the Illinois Manufacturing Caucus, which will highlight the role manufacturing plays in the state’s economy, discussed proposed legislation that would provide students better access to a career in manufacturing.
Other components of their 2024 agenda include changing high school graduation requirements, a daycare pilot program for businesses, a workforce ecosystem and a scholarship program.
“Sarah [Hartwick, vice president of Education and Workforce Policy for IMA] mentioned some of the exciting, unique bills that are being proposed this session and from last session as well, so we can work to get more employees in the skilled workforce,” said state Rep. Amy Elik, R-Alton. “To make sure, as Mark [Denzler IMA president] said, we wrap around and are providing all the needs to stay in their careers in manufacturing.”
State Sen. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, said a strong manufacturing industry means a strong Illinois.
“When we ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to prosper, it will provide our state with economic and workforce stability for generations to come,” Villa said.
According to state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, the newly formed Illinois Manufacturing Caucus will continue its work throughout the year.
“Our state has a robust history of manufacturing, and to build on our successes, we must ensure our policies allow businesses to flourish here,” Rezin said. “This caucus will help shine a light on how we can better support manufacturers in Illinois, including ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy.”
Manufacturers directly provide 650,000 jobs throughout the state, and there are over 10,000 open manufacturing jobs in Illinois.