pexels rodolfo quirós 2219024EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) expressed his support for Thursday’s joint committee hearing on increasing diversity in labor unions, apprenticeship programs and the workforce.

“Diversity and inclusion are essential in creating a well-rounded, productive, successful labor force,” Belt said. “Labor unions and apprenticeship programs are enormously helpful to workers entering the industry. When we expand these services to reach people of color, it can enable more Illinoisans to find good-paying, lifelong careers.”

On Thursday, the Senate Executive, Commerce and Economic Development, and Labor Committees held a joint hearing on diversity in labor unions, building trades and pre-apprenticeship programs. The discussion focused on increasing African American participation in trade unions, improving job prospects for union members and participants in apprenticeship programs, and identifying community-based organizations that can serve as pre-apprenticeship practitioners.

In 2019, Belt sponsored legislation increasing minority representation on corporate boards. House Bill 3394, which was signed into law last August, requires all publicly held corporations whose principal executive offices are located in Illinois to submit an annual report with information regarding the gender and racial/ethnic makeup of their board of directors.

Thursday’s hearing was part of a series of discussions prompted by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on eliminating systemic racism in the state. The next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. and will cover police reform. To view virtual committee proceedings, visit and click "Watch Live Virtual Committee Video." The link will become available when proceedings begin.