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Murphy highlights local schools selected to receive grants supporting future educators

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 03:55 PM

young teacher 072320DES PLAINES – To encourage more young people to enter the education field, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is proud to announce nine local schools will receive Education Career Pathways Grants from the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Teachers are among the most important members of our workforce—a great teacher can make all the difference in a child’s life,” said Murphy. “The grants will help our schools recruit a diverse, well-trained and passionate team of educators to lead their classrooms.”

The Northwest Education Council for Student Success has been awarded $249,000, which will be distributed to nine high schools in the Northwest Suburbs to assist these schools in developing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to prepare students for careers in education.

CTE programs help students develop technical and employability skills while strengthening their core academic abilities to enable them to pursue higher education opportunities and succeed in the workforce. Students in CTE programs also have the opportunity to earn dual credit or credentials and certifications from partner institutions prior to high school graduation.

The programs will place a special focus on recruiting underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois.

“Students succeed when they can relate to their teachers,” said Murphy. “Investing in our local teacher pipelines encourages Illinois students to return to the communities where they grew up and give back to the next generation.”

Nearly $2 million in total funding has been awarded to 11 Education for Employment Systems statewide to recruit and support future educators at 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state. For a full list of grant recipients or to learn more about career and college readiness programs in Illinois, visit www.ISBE.net/CTE.

Crowe urges fraud victims to come forward, help bring scammers to justice

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 12:41 PM

keybank debit 072320MARYVILLE – Those who haven't applied for unemployment benefits but receive a debit card claiming to provide them could be the target of a scam, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) warned residents.

“It’s beyond disappointing scammers are targeting vulnerable residents and their unemployment benefits during this time of economic crisis,” Crowe said. “In an effort to bring scammers to justice, IDES is aggressively cracking down on fraudsters filing false claims.”

Last week, reports surfaced of individuals receiving KeyBank debit cards and unemployment letters in the mail, despite never having applied for benefits. According to IDES, people who received these erroneous mailings may be targets of fraud.  

After receiving these reports, IDES launched an investigation into what appears to be a nationwide fraud scheme targeting applicants to the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. IDES said ambiguous federal guidelines—developed hastily to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic—leave PUA claimants open to attack. IDES maintains this scheme is not connected to the PUA program access issue experienced in May.

A dedicated team of staffers is now working directly with individuals whose identities are being used or have possibly been stolen. The department is also working with local and federal law enforcement authorities to pursue and prosecute those committing fraud.

Individuals who have received debit cards in the mail without applying for benefits should not activate them, and are urged to call IDES immediately at 1-800-814-0513 to report identity theft. 

Victims of fraud should also check their credit reports for possible suspicious activity, post a fraud alert and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.

Cunningham announces major upgrade to Kedzie Avenue

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 12:19 PM

roadconst 042320CHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is announcing the Illinois Department of Transportation has slated four miles of Kedzie Avenue for major upgrades this year. The more-than-$5 million project includes repaving, safety upgrades, and increased access for people with disabilities.

“Kedzie Avenue is a major artery connecting the city and the suburbs,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “It connects homes and businesses, and we need to keep it in good repair.”

The upgrades will cover two separate stretches of Kedzie – one running from 87th Street to 103rd Street and the other from 115th Street to 131st Street. In addition to repaving, the repairs include better lane markings and divisions, and making street crossings safer and easier for people in wheelchairs or who otherwise have limited mobility.

“I’m happy that whenever the state makes road upgrades, it makes sidewalks and crossings more accessible,” Cunningham said. “Everyone should be able to safely travel through their own neighborhood.”

The Kedzie upgrades are part of IDOT’s multi-year plan to maintain and expand Illinois’ transportation infrastructure. Other area projects scheduled for the upcoming year include land acquisition at the corner of Southwest Highway and Harlem Avenue for future improvements and repainting the Harlem Avenue bridge over the Cal-Sag Channel.

Murphy urges residents to donate at upcoming blood drive

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 11:32 AM

blood donor mask 072320DES PLAINES – Hospitals have experienced a dire shortage of blood donations during the COVID-19 crisis, inspiring State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) to host a community blood drive Wednesday, July 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Prairie Lakes Community Center, located at 515 E. Thacker St. in Des Plaines.

“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many blood drives were cancelled, causing a shortage that put many patients at risk,” said Murphy. “Now that we have the necessary safety protocols in place, I encourage healthy people to make an appointment to donate.”

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