This electronic newsletter is an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’ve accomplished in Illinois government, and how you can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering in a Serve Illinois volunteer project, receiving state services, or learning about new laws and programs, I want to ensure that you know what’s happening in your government.
If you have ideas for improving any State service, program, or this very newsletter, please click here and let us know.
Connecting Job Seekers to Employment Opportunities
On April 4, Governor Quinn announced a new system that connects job-seekers with jobs while making hiring easier and more cost-effective for businesses. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (DES) created Illinois JobLink which allows businesses to post job ads while individuals can post multiple resumes for free. As of April 4, there were nearly 92,000 job postings and 51,000 resumes posted on the JobLink system statewide. For more information, visit ides.illinois.gov.
Expanding Trade with Europe
On March 21, Governor Quinn visited Brussels, Belgium in an effort to expand Illinois trade, tourism, and business opportunities. While on the trip, Governor Quinn spoke with the European Union (EU) to strengthen ties between Illinois and Europe. This trip marks another effort to double exports by the end of 2014 and is the first gubernatorial trade mission to Europe in 13 years. European companies’ investments in Illinois are the largest from any region in the world and the EU has 723 firms with 3,476 locations in Illinois, employing more than 183,137 Illinois residents.
On May 10, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (DOA) will open its annual farmer’s market at the Illinois State Fair. Products ranging from produce, meat, poultry, eggs, honey, pasta, baked goods, jams, salsas, Illinois wine, herbs flowers, and plants will be available for purchase. Guests will also be able to enjoy musical entertainment, fitness activities, cooking demonstrations, health screenings, and lawn/gardening advice. The weekly Thursday event will run from 4pm-7pm through October 18. Illinois has over 300 farmers’ markets statewide and is fourth in the nation for number of markets per state. For more information on the DOA Farmer’s Market, visit http://www.agr.state.il.us/nightmarket/. To find a Farmers’ Market near you, visit http://www.agr.state.il.us/agrihappenings/farmers.php.
2012 Travel Guide
On April 2, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Tourism (DCEO/IOT) announced the availability of the 2012 Illinois Travel Guide. Features include: Illinois By the Numbers, Happy Trails, Let’s Eat!, Steps Through Time, and Presidential Path. The new guide highlights top attractions across the state so visitors and residents may plan their ideal Illinois getaway. Visit enjoyillinois.com or call 1-800-2CONNECT to order a copy.
School Nominations for National Green Ribbon Award
On April 13, Governor Quinn announced that three Illinois public schools were nominated for a new US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award program. The program recognizes exemplary achievement in environmental impact, student and staff health and the environmental literacy of graduates. Illinois is one of 33 states to participate in the Green Ribbon program. The three Illinois schools nominated are Thomas J. Waters Elementary School in Chicago, Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago, and Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake. Visit www.ed.gov for more information.
Autism Awareness Training for First Responders
On April 16, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) partnered with the Illinois Fire Service Institute and Giant Steps to announce new training for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) to help better protect individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders. The new, free online program helps first responders to recognize autism disorders during an emergency response while improving communication methods. Fire departments who participate in the program with a personnel completion rate of 75% or greater will receive recognition by Giant Steps through both a plaque for the fire station and a logo magnet to affix to a fire truck. Anyone interested in participating must register for free through the Illinois Fire Service Institute. Visit www.sfm.illinois.gov or www.fsi.illinois.edu for more information.
30th Annual Governor’s Hometown Award
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is asking communities across Illinois to submit their entries for the 2012 Governor’s Hometown Award (GHTA) competition. The GHTA recognizes volunteers whose hard work and dedication greatly improve their communities in services and mentorship, beautification and sustainability, parks and recreation, memorials and monuments, history and historic preservation, and general projects. Applications may be submitted by a variety of community representatives while a team of impartial judges will evaluate the applications on need, use of resources, and impact. 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the GHTA. Visit www.ildceo.net/HometownAwards for more information.
Chicago River Cleanup
On April 12, Governor Quinn announced $10 million in state funding for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) of Greater Chicago to improve water quality in Chicago area waterways. The $10 million funds are provided by the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program as part of the $21 million in total project cost. The money will support design and engineering of new facilities to disinfect discharges into the Chicago River and the Chicago Area Waterway System and two wastewater treatment plants resulting in healthier, cleaner water. Construction begins this fall and the project will continue until implementation prior to the 2016 recreation season. Visit www.epa.gov for more information.
Headquarters moving to Illinois
On April 17, Governor Quinn announced that Lafarge North America is investing approximately $10 million to relocate its U.S. headquarters from Virginia to Chicago, Illinois. Lafarge is one of the largest cement, aggregate and concrete manufacturers in the world. More than 90 jobs are going to be created in Illinois. Visit www.illinoisbiz.biz for more information.