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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2001

Governor Signs Bill Creating High Technology School-to-Work Program

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed into law Senate Bill 845, the High Technology School-to-Work Act. The goal of the new initiative is to increase the number of students who choose to enter occupations requiring advanced skills in the areas of science, mathematics and advanced technology.

"This program provides support to the next generation of workers who will play a critical role in the future success of the Illinois economy," said Ryan. "Education has always been the first priority of my administration - whether it is in the classroom or in the workplace - and this program helps ensure we have the best educated and well-trained students and workers in the country."

The High Technology School-to-Work Program will be administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA). Enactment of the legislation formalizes a grant program that DCCA initiated for the first time during the past fiscal year. Grants totaling $2 million were provided to employers and associations from technology-based industries in partnership with local educational institutions.

SB 845 originates out of DCCA's efforts to manage this grant program as part of Governor Ryan's $2 billion VentureTECH initiative. VentureTECH invests in the educational infrastructure, applications and training necessary for preparing Illinois' youth and workforce for the future.

"The availability of a highly skilled workforce continues to be a top priority for businesses," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "Because these projects are directed by employers, we know that the students are being equipped with real-life skills that they can use immediately in today's complex, technically oriented workplaces."

The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Thomas Walsh (R-22, LaGrange Park). House Sponsors include William O'Connor (R-43, Riverside), Karen May (D-60, Highland Park), Dan Rutherford (R-87, Chenoa), Suzanne Bassi (R-54, Palatine), and Karen Yarbrough (D-7, Maywood).


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