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Hundreds Turnout for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Summer Job Program


On Monday, about 200 or more young people packed the God’s House of All Nations Church, 8409 S. Stony Island Ave., on Chicago’s South Side for the kick-off of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Summer Jobs Program.

Illinois State Rep. Elgie Simms, Jr. (Dist.-34), a member of the Illinois Black Caucus addressed the crowd of young people saying, “I’m pleased to see all of you here. When we’re in Springfield, we’re working for all of you. When you go to work, make a good impression so we can justify this program going forward. You are an example and represent what people think about our community; be prompt and professional.”

Ken Ford of the Public Image Partnership, an employment procurement and job training program located at 8450 S. Stony Island, will work with the South Side youth on job training. “We’ve demanded much of you and have given you little,” Ford said from the podium at the All Nations Church. “It’s not your fault we started to accept the foolishness. “We have failed in helping you develop a moral code.”

Illinois Sen. Donne Trotter speaks to an audience of young people who packed the God’s House of All Nations Church on Chicago’s South Side on Monday for the kick-off of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Summer Jobs Program.

Ford also said he was surprised to see so many young men in the audience. He asked both the young men and women to keep their heads up high and think about the valuable experience they’re going to gain while working their summer jobs.
The Illinois Black Caucus received $10 million dollars from the State of Illinois for the Summer Jobs program that will pay $9.50 an hour to participants.

Illinois State Sen. Donne Trotter (Dist.-17) was involved in the event and said he wanted to be sure the jobs program paid more than minimum wage.“We wanted to pay the young people more than minimum wage because we know you can’t do very much on minimum wage,” Trotter said, adding that he’s hoping Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will provide funds for the program next summer as well “We’re hoping that he’ll see how the program turns out and will say, that’s a great program and support it once again,” Trotter said.

Other districts represented by members of the Black caucus will also have access to summer jobs for youth that will be funded by the $10 million from the governor.
Local businesses throughout the various districts will employ the youth who will be paid from the $10 million fund.
Some of the young people in the audience were college students and said they would use their pay for school expenses while others said they were unemployed and needed the jobs to help make ends meet at home. Ford challenged the young audience members by asking them to be kinder to one another. He also cautioned them about the pitfalls of social media including the obsession of having a large Twitter following.

“Worry about having something of value to follow,” said Ford. “Sen. Trotter and the Legislative Black Caucus fight to make sure you have these opportunities—don’t let us down.

By Deborah Bayliss,Citizen Chatham Southeast Newspaper