SPRINGFIELD — Today, State Sen. Ram Villivalam and State Rep. Justin Slaughter were joined by environmental and labor leaders from across Illinois to announce support for their Clean Water Jobs for All legislation (SB 2146/HB 3349).
Sen. Ram Villivalam, sponsor of SB 2146, said, “With the Clean Water Jobs for All legislation, we aren’t just providing much-needed jobs and infrastructure to my district, but to communities across the state. The next step is ensuring that a capital budget adequately funds water infrastructure and these workforce programs.”
This legislation creates the Clean Water Workforce Pipeline Program, which provides training and resources for careers in water infrastructure and empowers Illinois communities to install and upgrade vital water infrastructure, create good-paying jobs and improve public health.
“Illinois is at an infrastructure crossroads,” said Rep. Justin Slaughter, sponsor of HB 3349, said, “and while the Clean Water Jobs for All legislation moves us decidedly in the right direction, it is past time for dedicated capital funding for water infrastructure to ensure every Illinoisan has access to clean, affordable water. This is a solution that serves everyone, especially communities who have been overlooked too often when it comes to infrastructure projects and economic opportunity.”
“This is an opportunity to build, repair and upgrade our water infrastructure while creating thousands of good-paying jobs throughout the state,” said Lynn Karner, Executive Director of the Illinois Pipe Trades Association.
IEC Executive Director, Jen Walling said, “The program outlined in Water Jobs for All is modeled on the successful job training and creation measures in the Future Energy Jobs Act, which has made Illinois a national leader in clean energy job training programs and diverse workforce development goals. We need to take this opportunity to build on that leadership.”
“Well trained, well paid workers are an asset to all Illinoisans,” said Sean Stott of LIUNA’s Midwest Region. “Everyone benefits when Illinois workers are able to earn a good living and provide for their families by building our state’s infrastructure and, therefore, Illinois’ economy.”
“This bill aims to prioritize investment where it’s needed most: providing equitable training and employment opportunities in the communities that have been most impacted by infrastructure degradation and left out of workforce development,” said Pastor Scott Onque of Faith in Place.
Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter, said “Not only is investing in water infrastructure necessary for public health, but it is an opportunity for economic development. For every $1 billion invested in clean water infrastructure, approximately 11,200 jobs are created.”
Organizations supporting the bills include: the Illinois Environmental Council, the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter, Faith in Place, Laborers’ International Union of North America- Midwest Region, Illinois Pipe Trades Association, International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 150, and the Chicago Laborers District Council LMCC.
The legislation will be heard by the Senate Commerce and Economic Development committee tomorrow.