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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – In an effort to provide support to small business owners facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) announced 34 local businesses will receive over $500,000 through the Business Interruption Grant program.

“The small business community in our area and across the state    are the backbone of the economy,” Gillespie said. “As legislators,    it’s our job to do everything we can can to assist them.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to businesses hit particularly hard by pandemic-related closures and restrictions.

First round grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities and any other pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, new technology and training. To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding.

“COVID-19 has effected minority-owned businesses especially hard,” Gillespie said. “They need this grant money, and I’m pleased that the state is doing what’s necessary to help our small business community stay afloat. That’s also why this program helps ensure that businesses in disproportionately affected areas take priority when grants are being awarded.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.

Category: News

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CHICAGO – Standing with essential workers, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) commended a labor package signed into law on Friday that will increase first responder benefits, protect retail employees and expand collective bargaining rights.

“Essential employees and first responders have been on the front lines fighting for us, and we need to look out for them,” Gillespie said. “A workplace free from harassment, with livable wages and time to recuperate from injury are all rights that every employee should have.”

This historic labor package expands paid disability leave for first responders by 60 days due to decreased access to rehabilitative services. It also elevates the charge of battery of a retail employee to aggravated battery if the incident took place during or up to six months after a declared public health emergency. Aggravated battery charges would also apply to incidents that occur while an employee relays directions for health and safety precautions, among other duties.

Senate Bill 471 also requires existing racetracks with 10 or more employees to engage in collective bargaining if the track wishes to expand to include a casino. While the horse racing industry is excluded from federal collective bargaining laws, Illinois has extended similar protections to most businesses. The new law is effective immediately.

Category: News

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – To assist students wanting to become future educators, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) announced Northwest Suburban schools will receive a grant to develop Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs focusing on teaching.

“CTE programs aren’t just for those entering the trades but can prepare students for careers in a variety of fields,” Gillespie said. “There is no better investment than developing the professional    skills of our future generation of educators.”

The Illinois State Board of Education awarded the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success a grant of $249,000, which will be distributed to nine high schools in the Northwest Suburbs to develop CTE programs focused on careers in education. Two of the nine schools are in the 27th District — Palatine High School and Rolling Meadows High School. 

“The CTE programs at High School Districts 211 and 214 represent the best our state has to offer in preparing young adults for long-term career paths,” Gillespie said. “Congratulations to Palatine and Rolling Meadows High Schools and the other recipients. I am eager to see the progress students make in these role model programs.” 

CTE programs help students develop technical and employability skills to enable them to pursue higher education opportunities and enter the workforce. Students in CTE programs may also earn dual credit or credentials and certifications from partner institutions prior to high school graduation. The programs will emphasize recruiting underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois.

Nearly $2 million in total funding has been awarded to 11 Education for Employment Systems statewide to recruit and support future educators at 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state. For a full list of grant recipients or to learn more about career and college readiness programs in Illinois, visit www.ISBE.net/CTE.

Category: News

Safety-net hospital tourCHICAGO – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) welcomed legislators and staff to tour two safety-net hospitals on Tuesday. Attendees included members of the bipartisan Legislative Medicaid Working Group and Senate leadership.

“Our working group and Senate leaders were able to see first-hand the important role of safety-net hospitals and the work they do for underserved communities,” Gillespie said. “The patients served by safety-net hospitals are largely uninsured or are covered by Medicaid or Medicare; as a result, safety-net hospitals often look beyond traditional health care to addressing social determinants of care to better serve their communities.”

The group toured St. Bernard Hospital and St. Mary and Elizabeth’s Hospital in Chicago. Representatives from eight other safety-net hospitals joined the group to answer questions on the essential services they provide. Safety-net hospitals serve low-income communities where a majority of patients receive coverage from Medicaid. A study by a consumer advocacy group found that an additional 5.4 million laid-off workers became uninsured this year, making safety-net hospitals more vital than ever.

“Communities served by safety-net hospitals lack not just access to quality health care, but also resources such as food and housing,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) said. “This tour highlighted those needs and gave our group a better perspective into the services that safety-net hospitals bring to the areas they serve.”

During the special session lawmakers passed the Hospital and Health Care Transformation Program. The $150 million program will fund individual projects to improve health equity and address systemic health disparities across Illinois.

Category: News

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
108D Capitol Building
Springfield IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-4471

Arlington Heights Office:
171 W. Wing St., #202
Arlington Heights IL 60005
Phone: 847-749-1880