Congresswoman Kelly Caps Off ‘Week of Jobs’
Matteson, IL – This district work period, Congresswoman Robin Kelly hosted multiple events focused on creating jobs and empowering workers with the skills employers need. She also announced the introduction of three jobs bills to spur growth, create good-paying jobs and train workers for the careers of the 21st century.
“It’s no secret that our community needs jobs, especially our young people. As elected officials, we have an obligation to craft policies that allow businesses, workers and families to thrive,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “Over the last week, I’ve spoken with hundreds of constituents and experts as I’ve put forward real and actionable policy solutions that create jobs, support business needs, empower workers with skills and grow our economy.”
Tuesday, Congresswoman Kelly, joined by Senator Dick Durbin, announced the introduction of the Helping to Encourage Real Opportunity (HERO) for At-Risk Youth Act and the Creating Pathways for Youth Employment Act.
"I recently hosted my 4th annual youth job expo and I saw hundreds of young people hungry for the opportunity to find a job and work. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough jobs available. Taken together, these bills create jobs and give young people the opportunity to succeed… I always say: 'Nothing stops a bullet like an opportunity,' so let's create opportunities for our young people that grow the economy, strengthen our communities and stop the violence."
The HERO for At-Risk Youth Act supports businesses who are hiring at-risk youth (16-25) with a tax credit up to $2,400. It also doubles the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for summer youth jobs programs for youth (16-17) enrolled in school and living in highly distressed urban areas.
Similarly, the Creating Pathways for Youth Employment Act is focused on youth job creation. This legislation would decrease the burden on local government and community organizations when applying for federal grants. It also expands summer and year-round youth (14-24) employment programs two, five-year competitive grant programs totaling $3.5 billion.
Wednesday, Congresswoman Kelly, joined by Senator Duckworth, highlighted the forthcoming Community College to Careers (CC2C) Act. This bill encourages local businesses, through a competitive grant process, to partner with community colleges. The goal of this public-private partnership is to develop better training programs so that, upon graduation, students have the skills that employers need. It’s modeled on the successful programs being operated at Olive-Harvey Community College and the City College of Chicago.
“There are thousands of good-paying jobs available in the Chicagoland area, but too many remain vacant because of a lack of appropriately skilled workers,” added Congresswoman Kelly. “By linking our local community colleges and businesses, we can build a pipeline of career-ready students armed with the right skills for a good-paying job and a life-long career.”
This bill has already won the support of the business community, educational associations and non-profits including the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Skills Coalition, the National Tooling and Machine Association, Opportunity Nation, the Precision Machined Products Association, the Precision Metal Forming Association, Third Way, the United States Student Association and 20 other organizations.
Kelly also joined Blue1647 in opening its new training location in Dolton. Illinois-based Blue1647 operates an international network of entrepreneurship and technology innovation centers focused on education, workforce development and economic development through technology and 21st century skills. This is the first training center to be located in the South Suburbs.
“As the ranking Democrat on the IT subcommittee, I know there is a massive and unmet need for technology professionals, especially in the cybersecurity and program development fields. I’m so proud to see Blue1647 come to Dolton because I know this facility will train the current and next generation of cybersecurity experts, computer network professionals and video game developers,” said the Congresswoman.
Rep. Kelly also met with Cook County Housing Authority, Illinois International Port District and healthcare providers represented by SEIU.