U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., has introduced legislation for community reinvestment that will offer job training for mature workers, encourage increased programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for teachers and give communities funding to removed commercial blight.
Kelly, whose 2nd Congressional District includes Homewood and Flossmoor, announced the initiative, called Today’s American Dream Act, at a press conference at Governors State University on Tuesday, Feb. 22. She introduced it in Congress as H.R. 1084
“For too many Illinois families, the recovery hasn’t come quickly or completely enough. They are still struggling to make ends meet, let alone live the American dream,” Kelly said.
“We have to act to empower these struggling families with the security of a good job, marketable skills, a quality education, health care and homeownership. We also need to re-invest in our communities so Illinois becomes a place people move to, not away from,” she added.
“While I’m honored to introduce this bill ― it isn’t my bill; it’s your bill,” Kelly stressed. “It’s the product of listening sessions and town hall conversations ― a product of the hardest working hands, the best and brightest minds and the most compassionate hearts of our community coming together to outline a clear pathway that establishes security for all families.”
Dan Swinney, executive director of Manufacturing Renaissance, said, "This bill calls for the kind of investment in the education and training infrastructure that will help close the skills gap in our regional manufacturing sector in a scalable way, getting thousands of people access to career-track jobs and getting companies access to the kind of talent they need to be successful in today's global economy."
Kelly highlighted several several provisions in the legislation, including:
• Allowing states to use Hardest Hit Program funds to remove commercial blight, something that costs local taxpayers millions each year.
• Empowering mature workers with targeted job training programs including computer literacy and resume writing.
• Helping young people launch successful careers through business tax credits for internship programs, apprenticeships, expanded work opportunity tax credits and greater program flexibility to allow for innovation.