ApprenticeSPRINGFIELD – A study on the expansion of apprenticeship programs in Illinois introduced by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) passed the General Assembly today.

If signed into law, Senate Bill 2024 would require the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to find out where the state could expand apprenticeship programs and issue a report by June 1, 2020.

“Training or higher education after high school is no longer an option, it’s a necessity,” said Gillespie. “Young people in our state are being pushed toward higher education and the incredible amount of debt that comes with it, even when it might not be their best path to success. I want to make on-the-job training programs more available to them so they can find a good-paying job without being saddled with student loans for the rest of their lives.”

A study done by the Institute of Education Science of the U.S. Department of Education found that 91 percent of registered apprentices find employment after completing their program with an average starting wage above $60,000. Additionally, the study found that a majority of apprentices complete their program debt-free.

“Apprenticeships are good for workers and for businesses,” said Gillespie. “Apprentices can get the skills they need to be successful and enter the workforce ready to take on the duties of their job. During my time in the Senate, I’ve made it my mission to expand these opportunities to young people looking for alternatives to higher education.”

Senate Bill 2024 is Gillespie’s first piece of legislation as a State Senator. It awaits the governor’s signature to become law.