CHICAGO – June 16, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that in less than two months more than 10,600 workers have been hired through the Put Illinois to Work employment program. Since the program’s launch in late April, 2,600 employers have signed up to participate.
“In less than two months, we have created jobs for more than 10,000 people who did not have jobs before Put Illinois to Work,” said Governor Quinn. “I am proud to be here with Secretary Sebelius at Christy Webber Landscapes, a business that demonstrates the strength and determination of Illinois workers.”
Governor Quinn and Secretary Sebelius visited Christy Webber Landscapes, a woman-owned business enterprise that currently employs 11 Put Illinois to Work employees.
“Illinois – like more than 30 other states – has used creativity and ingenuity to use Recovery Act funds to create real work for people who need jobs,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These jobs help families make ends meet and bring the dignity that comes from an honest day’s work. These jobs promote opportunity, help people acquire new skills, build their resumes, and lend a helping hand to families struggling in an economy that still lacks jobs for those who need them. Congress is currently considering critical legislation that will allow employment programs like these to continue in 2011 when, unfortunately, they will remain needed."
What began as one woman cutting grass in Chicago’s Wicker Park, Christy Webber Landscapes is now a full-service landscape company with over 250 employees and a fleet of trucks and equipment. Christy Webber Landscapes provides design, construction and maintenance services to residential and commercial clients throughout Chicago, including projects at Millennium Park, O’Hare and Midway Airports, and McCormick Place West.
Through Put Illinois to Work, eligible Illinois residents are placed in subsidized employment positions with participating worksites for up to six months, learning valuable skills and supporting their families. The program will help stimulate Illinois’ ailing economy and develop a healthy workforce by providing meaningful work experience for participants. Put Illinois to Work is expected to create more than 15,000 jobs statewide.
Private, public and non-profit businesses are encouraged to sign on with Put Illinois to Work. Eligible participants are matched to subsidized employment opportunities with these worksites. The hope is that when the program concludes, many employers will permanently hire the workers they have trained.
Put Illinois to Work is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Human Services and Heartland Human Care Services. Funding is provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund, which was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Eligible worksites and participants must meet program criteria and agree to adhere to specific program requirements. Participants must be age 18-21, or 18 and older and the parent (custodial or non-custodial) of a minor child. All participants must have a household income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($2,428 per month for a family of two) and be legally authorized to work.
For eligibility criteria and additional information on Put Illinois to Work, visit www.PutIllinoistoWork.Illinois.gov.