The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on us: on our businesses, our schoolchildren and teachers, our seniors and most vulnerable, and our own physical and mental health. When we think we have turned the corner, this disease rears its head again and again.
But I see light at the end of the tunnel. With the proper precautions in place, our schools are back open, our small businesses are getting back on their feet and welcoming customers again, and our government is focused on recovery. It’s my goal to do everything I can to help the people I represent come back stronger than ever.
We just finished applications for the latest round of hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid, through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Back to Business grant program. Awards from $5,000 to $150,000 are helping infuse new life into businesses around the 40th State Senate District and across the state. Watch for more announcements soon for the next round of grants.
As our employers regroup and look to hire during a worker shortage, we know how important it is for them to understand and embrace the critical pieces needed to be successful: having a solid budget, addressing worker’s rights, promoting equity and more. This program from DCEO on Job Training and Economic Development can help, if you apply by Oct. 29: https://www.illinoisworknet.com/jtednofo2021.
Our students have gone through many struggles during the pandemic, and some have fallen behind. The Project Next Generation grants, through the Illinois Secretary of State, that I secured for two area libraries worth more than $24,000 couldn’t have come at a better time to help area youth get the resources and mentoring they need to get back on track.
For those preparing to leave high school and take another important step toward their careers, October is College Changes Everything Month in Illinois. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission offers many great resources to help students and families navigate college and financial aid applications, including tips on filling out the FAFSA and ways to apply for free.
I joined with State Rep. Anthony DeLuca at Prairie State College earlier this month for a socially distanced, in-person Senior Fair. Our area seniors really appreciated the helpful instruction and resources we provided, and some even were able to take advantage of COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
As we head into the final two months and the holiday season of 2021, we will continue to help people bounce back. I urge you to contact me anytime I can help: 708-756-0882, or at http://www.senatorpatrickjoyce.com/. I will continue to share the latest news on my website and on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/senPatrickjoyce40/.
Sen. Patrick Joyce
D-Essex, 40th State Senate District