Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., spent time over the April Congressional recess hosting a youth job expo and putting a focus on training through bills linking youth to job opportunities and training programs with community colleges.
Kelly represents Homewood and Flossmoor in Congress.
“It’s no secret that our community needs jobs, especially our young people. As elected officials, we have an obligation to craft policies that allow businesses, workers and families to thrive,” the congresswoman said.
“Over the last week, I’ve spoken with hundreds of constituents and experts as I’ve put forward real and actionable policy solutions that create jobs, support business needs, empower workers with skills and grow our economy,” she said on April 21.
She joined U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in introducing the Helping to Encourage Real Opportunity (HERO) for At-Risk Youth Act and the Creating Pathways for Youth Employment Act.
“Taken together, these bills create jobs and give young people the opportunity to succeed… I always say: ‘Nothing stops a bullet like an opportunity,’ so let’s create opportunities for our young people that grow the economy, strengthen our communities and stop the violence,” Kelly said.
Kelly, joined by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., highlighted the forthcoming Community College to Careers Act. This bill encourages local businesses, through a competitive grant process, to partner with community colleges.
The goal of this public-private partnership, Kelly said, is to develop better training programs so that, upon graduation, students have the skills that employers need.
“There are thousands of good-paying jobs available in the Chicagoland area, but too many remain vacant because of a lack of appropriately skilled workers,” added Kelly. “By linking our local community colleges and businesses, we can build a pipeline of career-ready students armed with the right skills for a good-paying job and a life-long career.”
This bill has already won the support of the business community, educational associations and non-profits.
Kelly also joined the operators of Blue1647, as it opened a facility in Dolton, the first in the South Suburbs. It is part of an international network of entrepreneur and technology innovation centers focused on education, workforce development and economic development through technology and 21st century skills, she said.
“As the ranking Democrat on the IT subcommittee, I know there is a massive and unmet need for technology professionals, especially in the cybersecurity and program development fields.
“I’m so proud to see Blue1647 come to Dolton because I know this facility will train the current and next generation of cybersecurity experts, computer network professionals and video game developers,” Kelly added.