skillsusa rPEKIN – Thanks to State Senator Dave Koehler’s support of a multi-year plan to bring thousands of jobs to local communities, SkillsUSA Illinois in Pekin was selected to receive $500,000 to support construction pre-apprenticeship programs that will create a qualified talent pipeline of diverse candidates.

“Honest, good-paying jobs should be available in all fields to anyone willing to put in the work,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “Unfortunately, certain groups may not have the same opportunities as others. This funding will help open doors and break down barriers to welcome people of all demographics and backgrounds into the trades.”

The grant funding for the pre-apprenticeship program comes from the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act as part of Rebuild Illinois, which was supported by Koehler in 2019. The program aims to open doors to career opportunities in the construction and building trades for people who have been historically underrepresented in the industry. Through this model, the grantees will offer structured pathways to help graduates transition from the pre-apprenticeship program to a full apprenticeship program in construction and building trades.

“This grant will create opportunities for students to connect their learning to their future career, which is what SkillsUSA is all about. Our proven model improves college and career readiness, creates employment opportunities, addresses equity in underserved communities, and expands partnerships between the workforce system, education and business,” said SkillsUSA Executive Director Eric Hill. “This program aims to move these students towards the SkillsUSA Illinois Registered Apprenticeship Program.”

The average grant size awarded is $417,000, with all projects focused on supporting workforce priorities, such as equity and inclusion, and creating a qualified talent pipeline in construction and the trades. Recipients include non-profits, community-based organizations, industry associations, community colleges, and more.  

More information on the Illinois Works program can be found on the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s website.

Category: Press Releases

pexels pixabay 159304 rrPEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) wants all Illinoisans to have access to reliable broadband internet, so he’s leading the charge to bring services to rural parts of the state.

“When it comes to internet access and connectivity, rural communities have been left behind,” Koehler said. “This has created an opportunity gap that only widens the longer we wait to implement real, lasting solutions.”

Nearly 1.5 million households across the state do not have high speed broadband, and rural Illinoisans are 10% less likely to have broadband than urban and suburban Illinoisans—an infrastructure gap that has been shown to have serious economic consequences.

Senate Bill 2247 establishes a tax credit equal to 15% of the cost of equipment and materials for businesses that provide broadband internet services in counties with fewer than 40,000 residents, or in townships with a population density of less than 50 households per square mile in counties with less than 300,000 people.

The legislation aims to encourage internet providers to offer high speed broadband in rural parts of the state, creating connections that will lead to more jobs, wealth, and public safety benefits for Illinois as a whole.

“This legislation has the potential to increase broadband access in nearly 70 counties in our state,” Koehler said. “By encouraging this investment in our rural communities, we will bolster local and state-wide economies and create opportunities for all Illinoisans.”

Senate Bill 2247 is assigned to the Senate’s Revenue Committee.

Category: Press Releases

14589622590 ff4254c303 cPEORIA – The City of Peoria is set to receive $1.2 million in grants to to revitalize a commercial corridor on Western Avenue and boost economic development in the community, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced.

“Many of our small businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet after the challenges of the last two years,” Koehler said. “By bringing investment and improvement to our commercial corridors, we are laying a foundation for our businesses as they first recover and then continue to grow.”

The funding comes through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Distressed Communities program. The program is designed to help impacted small businesses repair damages and rebuild or expand, and to deliver long-term improvements along commercial corridors where businesses experienced damages during civil unrest.

These corridor improvements will repair and refresh the surrounding area while increasing economic opportunities for impacted businesses. The projects were evaluated based on project need, capacity, quality, and societal impact.

“When our local businesses thrive, our community thrives,” Koehler said. “This funding will help bring energy and life back to the parts of our city that are hurting most.”

The final round of Rebuild Distressed Communities program provides $976,000 to 26 small businesses and $7.45 million to help revitalize seven commercial corridors located across the state. A full list of grantees is available online.

More information on assistance available for small businesses and ongoing capital programs can be found on DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases

010522CM0332 rPEORIA – A law sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler, a longtime advocate to streamline the FOID card process for responsible gun owners, took effect earlier this week.

“This law will address a years-long backlog of FOID card applications across Illinois while closing loopholes that allow firearms to fall into dangerous hands,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “The modernized system will save time and money for lawful applicants, and will allow the Illinois State Police to more fully dedicate its resources to reducing gun violence.”

Public Act 102-0237 went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and expedites the FOID card renewal process for lawful gun owners in order to reduce hassle and prevent future backlogs.

Under the law, new FOID cards will be issued without expiration dates, and firearm owners who hold valid conceal carry licenses will receive combined FOID and CCL. Residents will also find it easier to keep these cards on them at all times through a new electronic option.

For residents whose FOID card expires during the term of their CCL, the FOID card will be automatically renewed without a fee. The person will then be sent a new combined FOID and CCL. Combined cards will not have printed issuance or expiration dates and will serve as both the cardholder’s FOID and CCL.

“Keeping our families safe from gun violence and removing undue hassle for lawful firearm owners aren’t mutually exclusive goals,” Koehler said. “This law will protect both our communities and our liberties.”

Category: Press Releases

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