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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2001

Ryan Announces $5 Million in Workforce Training Funding
Annual Workforce Conference Discusses Ways to Meet Economic Challenges

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced $5 million in workforce funding to address critical needs in Illinois. The centers, which bring together a variety of state and local workforce development services under one roof, are designed to provide individuals with labor market skills and give employers access to qualified workers. There are 44 comprehensive one-stop centers and 54 satellite centers serving Illinois residents.

"A competitive state economy over the long-term is dependent upon a workforce system that provides individuals with the skills necessary for employment," Governor Ryan said. "During my tenure as Governor, we have established a solid one-stop delivery network that has begun to meet this need.

"However, if we are to realize the maximum potential of these centers and the people they serve, we must continue to make improvements. This funding will fast-track our vision for establishing world-class one stop centers in Illinois."

The funding will be used to support new comprehensive one-stop centers in Harvey, East St. Louis, Springfield, Southern Illinois and in the Quad Cities. The pilot centers will serve as models for designing comprehensive facilities that feature workforce development, human services and economic development functions integrated in one location.

Funds also will be used to provide high-speed Internet access and a connection to the Illinois Century Network to the comprehensive one-stop centers, as well as upgrade the resource rooms so that job seekers can make better informed career choices.

Illinois recently was one of seven states nationally to receive recognition for meeting the performance standards under the Workforce Investment Act. The state also received two out of three national awards for the Skills Match System, the state's online job match system for job seekers and employers. Illinois has been consistently recognized as a leader in implementing a comprehensive workforce development system.

Mandated by the Federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Illinois' Workforce Development System is designed to integrate the services of state and local entities into a single system; to serve the needs of local economies by increasing employment, job retention and the earnings of workers, while enhancing productivity and reducing welfare dependency.

The announcement was made today as more than 1,100 business leaders, educators and government professionals gathered at the second annual Governor's Workforce Conference in Springfield. This year's conference, entitled "Partnering for Success," featured nationally recognized trainers, several dozen widely applicable workshop topics, a model employment and training center resource room and many other exhibits.

Governor Ryan commended the state's workforce development community and called upon everyone to respond to the economy challenges facing the country.

"I am certain the men and women who manage and run the Illinois economic engine will rise to the challenges presented by the adversities now confronting us," Governor Ryan said. "Despite the distractions and hardships thrust upon us by recent events, we will continue to strive toward our goal of increasing employment, job retention and workers' earnings by continuously improving the quality of the Illinois workforce."


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