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.
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Statewide Veteran’s Job Fairs
During the week of Nov. 4, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) coordinated job fairs throughout the state, which aimed to put Illinois’ Veterans back to work and spread awareness about tax credits for businesses that employ Veterans. The job fairs emphasized services and opportunities that are valuable for Veterans, and featured businesses that could benefit from the vocational and leadership training Veterans receive as part of their military experience. Illinois has recorded steady or declining unemployment - adding 50,700 jobs this year - despite a national recession that caused rising unemployment rates from 2007 through 2009.
Prepare for Winter Weather
In an effort to assist Illinois residents with the hazards of winter weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is highlighting winter storm preparedness as part of its 12-month preparedness campaign. During November, IEMA joined with the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross to develop a Winter Storm Preparedness Guide, which includes information about winter weather terms and tips for staying safe at home, in the car and at work or school. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website: www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9888.
Trade Show to Remain in Illinois, Create Jobs
On Nov. 15, Governor Pat Quinn announced that the National Restaurant Association (NRA) will continue to hold its annual National Restaurant Association, Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event in Chicago through 2016. The event is one of the largest and most successful conventions held in Chicago, during which attendees spend an estimated $108 million in the city each year. The event draws approximately 66,000 U.S. and international visitors to Chicago and McCormick Place each year. The NRA Show produces more than 45,000 hotel room nights annually, generating more than $1.7 million annually in occupancy taxes and more than $7.4 million annually in state and local taxes.
Illinois Resident Awarded Medal of Honor
On Nov. 11, Governor Quinn honored Illinois’ Veterans and service members at a Veterans’ Day ceremony at Wheaton North High School in honor of Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller. Staff Sgt. Miller, a Wheaton native, posthumously received the Medal of Honor earlier this year for his heroics while serving in Afghanistan. Governor Quinn also highlighted a number of programs that benefit Illinois’ Veterans, service members and their families. For more information, visit www.operationhomefront.org or call the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs at (217) 782-6641 or (312) 814-2460.
Illinois Flag Display Act
In the event that a service member within any branch of the armed forces or a firefighter from Illinois is killed in the line of duty, Governor Quinn will order all entities within state and local governments throughout Illinois to lower their flags from sunrise to sunset on the day of, and two days preceding, the funeral of the fallen. Anyone may participate in this observance by visiting www.illinois.gov/news/flaghonors.cfm.
On Nov. 9, Governor Quinn announced that Illinois is providing a more than $1.4 million business investment package to assist Accretive Health, Inc. as they open a new facility in Chicago, which was chosen over Florida and Tennessee. This package will leverage $10 million in private investment and will create 100 new jobs. A total of 650 new jobs are expected to be created in Illinois by the company over the next several years. Investments such as this business package have helped Illinois continue to excel in job creation, leading the Midwest in 2010.
On Nov. 22, Governor Quinn announced a $25 million Illinois Jobs Now! capital grant to build the United Neighborhood Organization’s (UNO) newest charter school, the Gage Park Campus in Chicago, which will create 42 full- and part-time positions and 350 construction jobs. The school will serve approximately 630 K-8 students, helping to relieve overcrowding and will meet green building principles by conforming to LEED Silver Certified Standards.
Additional Resources for Constituents
The State of Illinois offers several resources for constituents who need assistance applying for state programs and services. For information about these important tools, please visit “How Do I?” section of www.illinois.gov to find links to many services available to constituents, including: access to affordable childcare, assistance to find and apply for jobs, aid in tax filing, help with student scholarships and obtaining health insurance counseling, among many others.
Start a Small Business
Did you know that the State of Illinois, in conjunction with the Small Business Administration of America, offers free services to aid small business development? Services include free counseling, training events, special loan programs and assistance in obtaining loans. Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are located throughout Illinois, visit the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website for more information.