ChildCareGRAYSLAKE — As parents gradually return to work outside the home, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging child care providers to take advantage of the $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program, included in the recently approved state budget. 

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a decreased need for child care, as more parents were forced to stay and work from home,” Bush said. “Now that our state is beginning to reopen and more parents have to return to work, many children will once again need a place to receive care during the day. This grant program will help child care providers stay open and reopen to accommodate the needs of returning parents.” 

The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to support the economic needs of child care providers while the state’s economy reopens in the coming weeks.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is responsible for the development of the grant program for licensed child care providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be overseen by the the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.  

The recently launched “Intent to Apply” online survey can be found here. All information provided will impact the development of the grant program slated for release in July 2020. Eligible providers will receive their first installments later in the summer. The survey will remain open until 5 p.m. on June 19, 2020.

More information can be found here

Category: Press Releases

Mental healthGRAYSLAKE — Gov. JB Pritzker officially signed the new state budget today, and it includes funding to support Illinois seniors, for residents struggling with mental health and substance abuse, and to stabilize the education system, all priorities for State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). 

“We’re facing record unemployment because of the pandemic, and our systems weren’t built to accommodate the number of people needing help all at once,” Bush said. “This budget had to help stabilize our economy and provide support for all struggling Illinoisans. Now was not the time to be cutting back on vital services.” 

The budget preserves P-12 education funding, ensuring that the pandemic doesn’t rob students of the opportunity to succeed in the future. It provides $12.6 billion to P-12 education and $7.2 billion specifically for the state’s evidence based funding model. It also increases funding to support older Illinois residents with additional funding for the Senior Meals Program and a nearly $28 million increase to the Community Care Program, which will help people who might otherwise need to go to an assisted living facility stay in their homes.

The budget also contains an additional $30 million for mental health and substance abuse programs affected by COVID-19 and provides the Illinois Department of Employment Security with $60 million in additional funding to address challenges with the unemployment system. The added funding will help IDES increase the number of workers to help aid residents navigate the unemployment system and process claims faster.

“This isn’t anyone’s ideal budget, but it’s the one we needed right now,” Bush said. “It protects students, seniors, and the unemployed.”

The approved budget is for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1.

Category: Press Releases

021815CM0660GRAYSLAKE – In light of record unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) announced the launch of a free online career training program for jobs in information technology. 

“Job training can be the key that unlocks greater economic opportunity for individuals,” Bush said. “We need to broaden access to affordable educational opportunities so Lake County residents can develop new skill sets and qualify for good-paying jobs.”

Through a partnership with the online learning platform Coursera, Illinois residents can now enroll in free virtual courses to provide training and certification. Illinois is one of the first states in the nation to make free online courses available to unemployed workers through the Workforce Recovery Initiative. Residents will have through September to apply online and enroll in over 3,800 industry-certified courses offered by accredited institutions. To receive credit, all courses must be completed by Dec. 31.

The state has also partnered with P33 and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) to launch the TechReady Illinois training program. This program will provide training for in-demand fields within the information technology industry. Upon completion, enrollees will be certified in data and analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity or software development. Residents can apply online for the TechReady program here. TechReady Illinois is not a free program like Coursera, but DPI is working secure discounts for enrollees.

If you are interested in career opportunities outside of information technology, Get Hired Illinois is an online job portal that has over 60,000 listings available in various industries.

Category: Press Releases

floodingGRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D- Grayslake) is urging all Lake County residents to prepare for possible severe weather by developing an emergency plan.

To help Illinois residents prepare for severe weather season, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that covers flooding, severe weather terms and tips for staying safe.

“Lake County has been particularly vulnerable to flooding,” Bush said. “I highly encourage all residents to sign up for the Lake County severe weather alerts in order to be prepared for unpredictable weather.”

For more Lake County-specific weather preparedness information please sign up for Alert Lake County here or visit the Lake County Flood Preparedness website here.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IEMA recommends a few new items be included in your emergency supply kit, including face coverings for every member of your family, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Other items to include in a basic emergency supply kit include water, food, NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, phone charger and prescription medications. A complete list can be found online at www.ready.gov/kit.

For more information, IEMA offers severe weather preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website, a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters.

Category: Press Releases

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