SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To expand educational opportunities for Illinois students, state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, is sponsoring legislation to create new vocational education academies across the state.
“Vocational education helps prepare students to become an integral part of the modern workforce,” said Gordon-Booth. “Illinois needs a diverse, well-educated workforce to compete in the modern economy and as a former school board member, I know that exposing Illinois students to vocational education will prepare students for a fulfilling career path and make Illinois a destination for employers.”
Gordon-Booth is a sponsor of House Bill 27, which creates two new residential vocational education academies in Illinois located in low-income areas, with one downstate and one in Cook County. Modeled after the nationally renowned, STEM-focused Illinois Math and Science Academy, the vocational education academies would feature high school and college level coursework designed to directly provide technical skills and job training to Illinois students in the 10th through 12th grades. For employers, this would lessen the skills gap, the divergence between the skills businesses require and those currently available by workers, while making Illinois a more attractive place to locate.
“We must ensure students learn the job and career skills they need to succeed,” Gordon-Booth added. “To stay economically competitive, Illinois must make our classrooms responsive to the needs of a modern economy by offering innovative vocational education programs to students across Illinois.”