hastings 020824SPRINGFIELD – Illinois veterans may soon have a new way to connect with careers in state government, thanks to a measure advanced by State Senator Michael E. Hastings.

“Our nation’s heroes have worked tirelessly to defend our freedoms and democratic values,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “This internship program will serve as another way for veterans to continue their mission after retiring their uniforms by serving our state and engaging in another mode of public service.”

Senate Bill 2769 would require the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to create a Veteran Internship Pilot Program. The program would provide internships to honorably discharged veterans with the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly's legislative staff internship program.

Intern applicants would be required to be honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces and have completed at least 60 hours of college credit to be eligible, among other qualifications outlined by COGFA.

At the end of that two-year period, COGFA will be required to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program and submit a report to the General Assembly with its findings.

Hastings serves as one of the two military veterans in the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

Following his graduation from United States Military Academy at West Point, Hastings rose to the rank of captain while deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. On July 4, 2006, he was deployed to Iraq as a part of “The Surge.”

After ten years of distinguished service Hastings was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army.

“Internships are a vital step in securing a future career,” Hastings said. “My hope is that by welcoming more veterans into state government, we can provide them with another outlet to give back to our communities.”

Senate Bill 2769 passed the Senate’s Veterans Committee with bipartisan support and heads to the full Senate for further consideration.