Illinois’ new governor on Wednesday made one of his first official stops, by going to Belleville to sign an executive order ensuring workforce development funding is directed to growing industries that will create the jobs.
J.B. Pritzker stood with elected officials, educators and students at Southwestern Illinois Community College in St. Clair County.
“My administration is committed to building the workforce of tomorrow and ensuring hardworking Illinoisans are prepared for jobs in growing industries,” he said. “Our economy is changing, and it is critical that state resources are being used to meet the demands of the 21st century. This executive order will help ensure our workforce is prepared to fill jobs in industries with the greatest need and will help us attract new businesses to Illinois. We know there is more work to be done and I look forward to working with bipartisan members of the General Assembly to grow our economy and help working families thrive.”
Executive Order 2019-03 requires a:
• Review of Identified Targeted Growth Industries. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall, within 90 days of the effective date of this Executive Order, deliver a report to the Governor containing a comprehensive review of industries the Department has identified for targeted growth to determine the ongoing effectiveness of investment in those industries and to identify emerging opportunities for investment in growing industries.
• Review of Effective and Efficient Investment in Targeted Industries. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall, within 90 days of the effective date of this Executive Order, deliver a report to the Governor containing a comprehensive review of the return on investment for targeted industries with recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing investment, and best practices and lessons learned for future investment in emerging growth industries.
• Report on Improved Alignment of Workforce Resources for Disenfranchised Communities. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall, within 90 days of the effective date of this Executive Order, deliver a report to the Governor containing comprehensive recommendations for improving alignment of workforce resources for communities that have been disenfranchised, including rural and urban communities.
The governor was joined by his nominee to lead DCEO Erin Guthrie, Sens. Christopher Belt and Paul Schimpf, Rep. LaToya Greenwood, St. Clair County’s Workforce Development Group Coordinator Rick Stubblefield, Southwestern Illinois College President Nick Mance and SWIC student Sonny Wilson.
“The state of Illinois is obligated to ensure that our next generation is ready to start a career and that our current workforce is trained to meet the needs of our growing economy,” said Erin Guthrie, the governor’s nominee to lead the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “Today, Gov. Pritzker is taking an important first step in asking DCEO to identify and review growth industries in our state, ensure workforce development dollars are spent efficiently and effectively, and realign workforce resources for communities that have been disenfranchised, including rural and urban communities.”
“The state of Illinois has not been fully identifying and embracing innovative strategies to focus workforce development dollars on emerging growth industries, and it’s time to change that,” said Sen. Christopher Belt, a Democrat from Cahokia, who now represents the 57th Legislative District. “Gov. Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will direct resources into growth industries like health care, information technology, and green technology to maximize job creation across the state and help us build a stronger economic foundation.”
“I would like to thank Governor Pritzker for coming to Southern Illinois to make this announcement,” said Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo. “I’m hopeful that this executive order will help steer badly-needed workforce development and job training dollars to our region.”
“Right now, the state is lagging behind when it comes to fostering economic growth and creating economic opportunity in communities across the entire state,” said Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-Belleville. “Gov. Pritzker is tackling this failure head on and will get us back to the basics of effective governing and create a plan to move our state forward into a new day.”
“Gov. Pritzker is focused on getting the most return on investment that we can, so every dollar is invested into our future,” said Rick Stubblefield, coordinator of St. Clair County’s Workforce Development Group. “Gov. Pritzker understands the challenges and opportunity facing the business community — and the needs of the workers that drive our economy. His executive action today shows his commitment to building the workforce of tomorrow and revving up our state’s economic engine.”
“As the third-largest employer in Belleville, Southwestern Illinois College is proud to host Gov. Pritzker on his second full day in office,” said Nick Mance, president of Southwestern Illinois College. “The governor is making a statement today by having his first public event outside the capitol in Belleville — that Southern Illinois is a top priority in his administration.”
“As a student here at SWIC, all I want is to build a better future, and today, Gov. Pritzker is helping me and thousands of other students by looking ahead at what it takes to build a 21st century workforce,” said Sonny Wilson, a student at Southwestern Illinois College. “The state needs to look at what industries are growing and prepare students like me to start a career, and that’s what Gov. Pritzker is moving us towards.”
The governor and Guthrie also met with County Board Chairman Mark Kern later for over an hour where economic development and infrastructure was discussed, said Terry Beach, St. Clair County’s head of economic development.
PHOTO: Pritzker, center, at the executive order signing at Southwestern Illnois College, surrounded by local leaders. Photo courtesy St. Clair County.