CHICAGO – September 28, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the extension of the Put Illinois to Work (PIW) program for up to two months to serve as a bridge until Congress votes on an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund (TANF/ECF). The federal program, which supports Put Illinois to Work, is set to expire on Sept. 30 unless Congress acts to extend the effective job creation measure. More than 26,000 workers have been hired since Put Illinois to Work was launched last April.
“The best way to make our economy stronger is to put people to work – that is why we are temporarily continuing this successful program until Congress acts to extend the program. It is good for families, small business owners and communities,” said Governor Quinn. “We cannot afford to lose momentum as we continue our economic recovery. Quick action by Congress will keep thousands of people at work in Illinois and will continue to build on the progress we have already made.”
Putting people back to work is a key priority for Governor Quinn, and strategic programs by the Department of Transportation (IDOT), Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and the Department of Human Services (IDHS) have supported continued improvement in the state’s economy.
The August statewide unemployment rate of 9.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted) is in single digits for the first August since 2008, offering additional trend data that shows the Illinois economy is steadily improving. Illinois has added more than 37,000 jobs this year, including more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs. Since Jan. 2009, DCEO has put together 93 business investment packages that have created and retained nearly 20,000 jobs and leveraged $2.38 billion in private investment.
In addition, IDOT is currently leading Illinois’ largest road construction program in state history through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. From 2009 through the end of this year the state will have invested approximately $8 billion to repair or rebuild 4,800 miles of roads and 566 bridges, creating an estimated 155,000 short-term and permanent jobs.
“Put Illinois to Work is a statewide subsidized employment program designed to provide individuals facing barriers to employment the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, and to earn a wage,” said IDHS Acting Secretary Grace Hong Duffin. “Put Illinois to Work has placed over 26,000 trainee-workers with over 5,000 private, not-for-profit and government employers across Illinois. With the experience and skills gained through Put Illinois to Work, these individuals are better equipped to enter the workforce, and to compete for better paying jobs.”
Put Illinois to Work is a collaborative effort of IDHS and Heartland Human Care Services and over two dozen partner organizations across the state. Funding was provided through TANF/ECF, which was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.