Bill Extending Benefits For Carle Job Trainees Passes State Senate

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)

Mark Schultz/Illinois Public Media

The Illinois Senate has approved a pilot project that lets job trainees stay on public assistance a little longer, so they can manage the transition from dependency to self-sufficiency.

The idea comes from Carle, the Urbana-based healthcare provider. Carle CEO Dr. James Leonard says they had seen people drop out of their entry-level job training program. He says the problem was that workers would lose state assistance they had been receiving due to their new wages --- wages that weren’t enough to cover the loss.

“Things like child care support and different things like that,” explained Leonard, “that may be very important to somebody’s being able to be in the workplace on a daily basis.”

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) says his measure (SB3232) would allow up to 500 Carle trainees to continue receiving state assistance temporarily, despite their new income.

“And see if we can, over time, move them out of poverty into much higher-paying positions within the Carle organization where they don’t have to have any assistance,” said Rose. “And that’s the end goal.”

The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), won unanimous approval Tuesday in the state Senate, and now moves to the House, where it is being sponsored by State Representatives Chad Hays (R-Catlin) and Carol Ammons (D-Urbana).

Leonard says Carle’s training program, called the Job Readiness and Learning Program, combines training in specific job skills while also covering “soft skills” needed in any workplace environment. He says participants in the program will also have family access to Carle’s Healthy Beginnings program , which provides services to new and expectant mothers. Leonard hopes the training model and the state aid exemption can spread to other employers.

Story source: WILL