Senator GillespieSPRINGFIELD – Two measures to assist social workers with earning and paying off their degrees, introduced by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights), passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

“Incentivizing students of social work to start their careers in Illinois will help our local governments recruit the qualified professionals they need, while mitigating the student debt crisis,” Gillespie said.

Senate Bill 3912 expands the Post-Master of Social Work Professional Educator License scholarship to municipal social workers. Recipients would be required to work for an Illinois municipality for at least two of the five years immediately following graduation.

Senate Bill 3761 expands the School Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment Program to include social workers employed by an Illinois municipality. Currently, the program offers up to $6,500 in student loan assistance to borrowers who have been employed at a school for at least one year.

Both measures build on previous laws passed by Senator Gillespie and give priority to individuals underrepresented in the social work field.

Senate Bills 3912 and 3761 passed with no opposition in the Illinois Senate and await consideration in the Illinois House.