State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, praised a bill signed last week by Gov. JB Pritzker that expands access to apprenticeship programs and ensures workers have a pathway to high-paying careers.
The law, S.B. 534, creates the Bureau on Apprenticeship Programs within the Department of Labor, which will be responsible for increasing minority participation in apprenticeship programs by identifying and eliminating potential barriers to entry, according to a news release.
“Illinois has a shortage of skilled workers,” Connors said in the release. “This makes us less competitive as a state to those businesses requiring skilled workers, and I want to strengthen Illinois by training Illinoisans for the skilled jobs that lay the foundation for good careers.”
Connor said the program will increase the percentage of state contracts required to go to businesses owned by people of color. He said legislators need to help nurture economic growth in communities of color.
“The cycle of poverty can be broken through education and training, and the opportunity to work a good-paying, practical job should not be a privilege some communities are excluded from,” Connor said. “Right now, some Illinoisans have limited access to the training required for skilled jobs, just because of the color of their skin or their gender.”