Press Releases

“This plan helps our state fill the skills gap in our workforce. It comes at no cost to tax payers and helps produce jobs that average annual salaries of $50,000 or more.” - Sen. Melinda Bush

040214 cm 1321RSPRINGFIELD - Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) intensified her efforts to improve the Illinois economy today by shepherding a workforce-training program through the Senate designed to have long-term benefits for employers and employees.

The Illinois State Training and Employment Program – otherwise known as I-STEP – would allow community colleges to provide free job training for new hires at companies that are adding to the Illinois workforce.

“This plan helps our state fill the skills gap in our workforce,” Bush said. “It comes at no cost to tax payers and helps produce jobs that average annual salaries of $50,000 or more.”

Businesses can receive customized training of new employees through I-STEP. Funds to cover the costs of training are attained by diverting the cost of the withholding taxes generated by the wages earned by the new employees to the community college providing the training.

“Training of new employees is essentially paid by dollars that would otherwise have been paid to the state for withholding taxes – no new additional dollars are expended to cover the costs of training,” Bush said.

The plan is expected to produce thousands of jobs and millions in additional wages. Enrollees would be trained for hire in newly created positions.  Employers who hire and train new employees would receive a 75% tax credit certificate to cover the training costs. The tax credit would remain available to the employer until the cost of training was recovered.

Other states that have implemented similar programs saw an immediate economic benefit. Michigan estimated over $76 million in additional earnings and over 2,200 additional jobs in their programs first year.  The state expects the program to continue to grow to produce $143 million in additional annual earnings and nearly 5,000 additional jobs.

“Creating a strong Illinois economy is the long-term solution to our budget problem,” Bush continued. “By developing a highly trained workforce, deserving of good paying jobs, we will continue to make strides in improving our state’s economic condition.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 217, passed the Senate 50 to 6 on Wednesday. It will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

opioid crisis button