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Partnership News
July 25, 2014
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Rural Partners is a member-driven forum that links individuals, businesses, organizations and communities with public and private resources to maximize the potential of rural Illinois.

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Recognizing the week of August 25 through 31, 2014, as
"Workforce Development Week" in Illinois.


WHEREAS, Recognizing that work remains to be done to aid the high number of unemployed and underemployed individuals, the State of Illinois and the Federal government have announced major initiatives to promote workforce development activities; and
WHEREAS, these activities are primarily aimed at helping individuals acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in today’s competitive job market; and
WHEREAS, as part of these efforts, the State will be promoting a new initiative to increase the work readiness of individuals by obtaining a college degree or career certificate; and
WHEREAS, at the Federal level, major efforts are being made to review the nation’s workforce and training system to make it more job-driven, integrated and effective; and
WHEREAS, a key aspect in the State and Federal efforts is the active involvement of the private business sector; and
WHEREAS, Workforce Investment Boards provide businesses with an important  forum to inform training providers, including the public education system, community colleges, State University system and proprietary schools, of the needs of the local business community; and
WHEREAS, Workforce Investment Boards were established by federal law to serve as a vital provider of information, programs and services to individuals seeking employment, employers and training providers; and
WHEREAS, Under the authority provided to Workforce Investment Boards, opportunities and funds are available for individuals to enroll in training programs and services at Job Centers throughout the State that give priority to the local business community’s current and future needs; and
WHEREAS, It is fitting that the Illinois General Assembly support the role that Workforce Investment Boards play in providing important programs and services that help strengthen our local communities and by extension the State of Illinois and the nation; and
WHEREAS, From August 25 through August 31, 2014 will be an opportunity for Workforce Investment Boards to highlight and promote the many ways in which they are undertaking this important work.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Illinois General Assembly recognizes the week of August 25 through August 31, 2014, as "Workforce Development Week" in Illinois and encourages individuals, businesses and governmental organizations to visit and promote the programs and services offered through local Workforce Investment Boards.
 

 
New laws for Farmers Markets

On June 21st, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law HB5657, an important new piece of legislation that sets in motion a number of reforms that support farmers markets and Illinois farmers. HB5657 was unanimously approved by both the Illinois State Senate and House of Representatives this Spring. Local farmers market managers are applauding this legislation that will establish uniform guidelines governing markets around Illinois. The new law is a major step forward in creating risk and scale appropriate regulations for farmers’ markets that will improve consumer access to locally produced food, support farmers’ markets as a whole and the farmers and entrepreneurs that call them home. Most of the changes will not be effective until the administrative rules are established and effective next year. However, two changes listed below are effective immediately, including new product origin requirements to foster transparency and help consumers identify “re-sellers” at farmers’ markets, and a $25 cap on registration fees for cottage food operations.
 
Investment in Rural U.S

U.S.D.A.'s newest funding model promotes private investment as the way to spur economic growth in rural communities. The growth goes beyond agriculture, and targets infrastructure and other key industries as well. "The investment is significant, but there is more opportunity than there are federal dollars," said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack said this new method of funding rural development, in addition to standard loans and grants, will go a long way toward replacing economic activity displaced by streamlined farming operations. "We have become so efficient with farming that we don't need as many people to do what used to be done by millions of people — it's now done by thousands of people," Vilsack said. "What we need to do is complement that production agriculture economy with companion economies."
 
Local Government Information and Education Network

The Illinois Budget Policy Toolbox is a collection of essays that assess policy options that help to frame the issues surrounding Illinois’s precarious budget situation.  Leading policy experts from the University of Illinois provide a nonpartisan overview of the state’s fiscal situation and evaluate the pros and cons of a variety of revenue and spending options.  Please join us. Registration is required.

Important Questions about Redistricting in Illinois:
Brian Gaines, UIUC Public Policy
Chris Mooney, Director of IGPA
Rick Winkel, Director of IGPA Office of Public Leadership

A project by the Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs
Presented in partnership with University of Illinois Extension

Noon/Tuesday
September 9, 2014
Rural Partners welcomes your comments and feedback. If you have information to share with the
members of Rural Partners, send comments and/or press releases to info@ruralpartners.org
Statements of opinion in this newsletter are not necessarily endorsed by Rural Partners.