BennettComm4.27.15SPRINGFIELD- This year’s Skills Gap Report by TheManufacturingInstitute.org projects that there will be an additional three and a half million manufacturing jobs by 2025

However, two million of them will go unfilled for lack of qualified candidates.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed Senate Bill 1393 to promote career and technical education to help alleviate workforce shortages in Illinois.

“After meeting with and touring local schools and manufacturing facilities, I know workers and businesses are ready to work.  The major factor missing in this equation is adequate training,” said Bennett.

SB 1393 requires the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Department of Employment Security to work together to identify industries and occupations in Illinois that face workforce shortages or a lack of adequately trained, entry-level workers.

Based on their findings, grants of $1,000 will be awarded per pupil to school districts and community colleges for each student who successfully completes an industry-recognized certification program that was designed to mitigate workforce shortages.

“Our job is to ensure we are meeting the needs of current and future Illinois businesses. If we want to continue to grow as a state, we need to match employers with skilled workers,” said Bennett.

SB 1393 passed the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

educationSPRINGFIELD- Student loans are now the largest source for consumer debt in the United States surpassing mortgages and credit cards debt

More than 20 states including Illinois currently have laws in place that suspend professional licenses and certificates in the event a consumer must default on their student loans.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed an initiative to prevent licensing boards from denying, revoking or suspending individual professional licenses due to student loan default in Illinois.

“Our job is to put more people to work, not keep them from doing their job. Revoking or suspending professional licenses isn’t going to make people pay their loans back faster,” said Bennett. “The fact is if you are unemployed, you won’t be able to pay back your loans and will incur additional debt.”

Senate Bill 454 will put provisions in place to prevent individuals with student loan default from experiencing licenses being denied, revoked, or suspended in 38 professions such as occupational therapists, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

“There isn’t a way for people to escape student loan debt. It is irresponsible to place them in an ineffective cycle that will only hinder their ability to work and develop professionally,” said Bennett.  

Student loan debt is the only type of debt in the U.S. that is not eligible for bankruptcy except in severe instances.

SB 454 passed the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

wave usa flag 1383225090826SPRINGFIELD- Illinois families worried about the financial security of loved ones living with disabilities could soon have another resource to promote their independence.  

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed Senate Bill 1383, which creates a tax exempt plan to assist individuals and families in saving money to cover the expenses for people with disabilities.

“We all want our loved ones to be able to live their lives with respect and dignity. This legislation empowers Illinois residents to provide a stable future to family members with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The flexibility of the plan makes it easier for families to save money and make important life decisions for their future. “

SB 1383 creates the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act), which creates accounts similar to tax-advantaged college saving plans where income earned in the account is not taxable.

This legislation comes after the federal government passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 with bipartisan support. Last week, Virginia was the first state to enact the program since the federal legislation was passed.

The Treasurer’s office would be responsible for creating ABLE accounts in accordance with federal rules and regulations. The accounts can be used to pay for qualifying expenses such as education, health, housing and transportation costs.

"I chose a life of public service to help Illinois families. Today, I am proud of the members of the Senate for passing legislation that helps ease financial strain on these families,” Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. “With the ABLE Account program, we can help individuals with disabilities get the tools necessary to attain financial stability and independence."

SB 1383 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration

pay it forwardSPRINGFIELD- Student loans are now the largest source for consumer debt in the United States.

More than 20 states including Illinois currently have laws in place that suspend professional licenses and certificates in the event a consumer must default on their student loans.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) introduced an initiative to prevent licensing boards from denying, revoking or suspending individual professional licenses due to student loan default in Illinois.

“It is counterproductive and unnecessary to take away professional licenses in cases of student loan default. This simply creates additional obstacles as people attempt to repay their loans and get back on their feet,” said Bennett.

Senate Bill 454 will put provisions in place to prevent individuals with student loan default from experiencing licenses being denied, revoked, or suspended in 38 professions such as occupational therapists, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

“Defaulting on your student loans, doesn’t make you a criminal. We should remove regulations that create a systematic cycle that hinders people’s ability to work and develop professionally,” said Bennett.

Student loans continue to incur interest and charge fees as long as they remain unpaid. Creating additional obstacles make the process even harder. When consumers have to default on student loans it negatively impacts their credit scores.

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