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Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
5:55pm
Wed Apr 8

Op-Ed: Thousands Call On Rauner To Undo Pound-Foolish Cuts To Important Investments

The following comes from the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Immigrant women in need of help securing orders of protection against abusive spouses. Elderly people seeking medical treatments. Autistic Illinoisans and their families. The disabled, the addicted, the young. When Governor Rauner took a last-minute knife to social service investments in this fiscal year's budget, he aimed for Illinois's most vulnerable populations--and he hit his mark. That was the message at a Wednesday rally at the Thompson Center, where the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) brought together hundreds of supporters representing a broad array of those who will suffer due to the Governor's suspension of a wide variety of spending that supports investments in some of Illinois's most underprivileged communities.

"What the Governor did, as the clock ran out on the Friday before a holiday weekend, is not just a slap in the face to the immigrant community after he stood with us earlier this year and told us how important we are to Illinois," said Lawrence Benito, CEO of ICIRR. "It's an affront to the millions of Illinoisans who rely on these investments in order to pursue self-sufficiency. These are cuts that enable economic success; cutting them is pennywise and pound-foolish. It's the height of irony: Governor Rauner, who portrays himself as a savvy businessman, seems oblivious to the returns on the state's investment in immigrant and other disadvantaged communities."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:21pm
Mon Mar 16

Illinoisans Speak Out Against Rauner's Proposed Human Services Budget Cuts

A few hundred Illinoisans attended a state Senate appropriations hearing in Chicago on Monday to discuss Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to Department of Human Services programs. Here's a breakdown of what happened at the hearing and what some audience members have to say about the governor's fiscal plan.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:30pm
Wed Nov 19, 2014

Chicago City Council Passes Emanuel's 2015 Budget; Four Aldermen Object

The Chicago City Council voted 46-4 to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2015 budget. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the council debate on the $7.3 billion spending plan.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:04pm
Wed Mar 26, 2014

Report: Youth Unemployment High In Illinois, Chicago & Black Teens Hit The Hardest

Illinois teens are having a hard time attaining work, with the Prairie State being among the top ten states in the nation with the highest teen jobless rates. In 2012, the youth employment rate in Illinois was only 27 percent, a decrease of 10 percentage points from 2006, according to a recent report by the Chicago-based Alternative Schools Network.

The teen employment rate at the national level was also 27 percent in 2012. That figure is also down from 36 percent in 2006 and reflects the lowest employment rate in the nation's post-World War II history, according to the report, which is part of an ongoing series focused on local and national teen employment trends.

As previously noted, Illinois was one of10 states with the highest teen unemployment rate in 2012. And out of all Illinois teens, those in Chicago fared the worst with an employment rate of just 19 percent.

Across all geographic areas, black teens had the lowest employment rates compared to all other racial and ethnic groups, the report showed. In Illinois, only 16 out 100 black teens were employed in 2012, while just 11 out of 100 black teens in Chicago had jobs during that year.

“Every year, thousands of youth apply for jobs and every year there simply are not enough," Alternative Schools Network Executive Director Jack Wuest said in a statement. "The exclusion of teens from the job market is likely to continue and brings with it bleak economic prospects, limited earnings potential and significant taxpayer burden for the magnitude of jobless youth. Job creation for teens and young adults for 2014 has to be an immediate priority.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:56pm
Thu Nov 7, 2013

Austin, Galewood Residents Unveil Community Sustainability Action Plan

Chicago's Austin and Galewood community members unveiled their draft "sustainability roadmap" Wednesday evening, detailing ways in which they will take action to strengthen their neighborhoods.

The new community-based planning initiative on the West Side is taking place in Ald. Deborah Graham's 29th Ward. Prior to Wednesday's meeting, residents and other community stakeholders held two "visioning sessions" where they floated ideas to be included in their plan on how to make their neighborhoods more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Check out Progress Illinois' full coverage of the first visioning meeting here.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:57pm
Fri Oct 25, 2013

Youth Advocates Call For Better Pregnancy, Parenting Student Supports

The rights of pregnant and parenting students in Illinois are often overlooked, and more supports need to be in place to ensure the youth reach their full academic potential, school officials and adolescent health advocates said at a town hall meeting on the topic in Chicago.

The meeting, hosted by the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health's (ICAH) School Network, follows recently-released guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on strategies meant to support the academic success of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX. The department's optional recommendations issued in June were prepared for secondary school administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and students.

ICAH's Executive Director Yamani Hernandez said a "blanket of shame" still shrouds many young people who are pregnant or parenting and, "That’s really a barrier to their success."