• Over $200,000 awarded to local adult literacy programs

    Adult literacyARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Potential tutors who are interested in assisting adults with literacy and English language skills have an opportunity to volunteer for a state program that has awarded $235,000 to local adult literacy programs, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) said.

    “These programs help adults learn the language and reading skills needed to enter the workforce,” Gillespie said. “I encourage anyone needing help to connect with these programs so that they can have access to more employment opportunities in the future, and if you have the skills to help them, you should consider volunteering!”

    More than 13,500 students will be served by adult literacy programs throughout Illinois. Supported by $5.6 million in state funds, the programs will depend on nearly 6,000 volunteer tutors to provide skills training for students, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Adult literacy projects are focused on improving reading, writing and math and are targeted at Illinois adults who read below the 9th-grade level or speak English at a beginning level.

    The Center, a local non-profit that assists students and young adults who may be at risk for academic failure, will receive a grant of $85,000 for its Adult Learning Resource Center. Township High School District 214 will receive two grants with a combined value of $150,000 for their Read to Learn program and the Catherine M. Lee Women’s and Children’s Center. The Women’s and Children’s Center last year provided English as a Second Language and family literacy for 50 women and 58 of their pre-school-aged children.

    “These programs are focused on lifelong learning, and these grants will help us continue to ensure the gift of literacy for both children and adults,” said Superintendent Dr. David Schuler. “It is incredibly inspiring to see our students succeed, and it could not happen without support like this.”

    People interested in volunteering as a tutor should contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 800-321-9511.

  • Gillespie: Vote by mail expansion will protect voters

    Vote by mailARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Voters can now safely cast their ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a new elections package supported by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that was signed into law.

    “All citizens have a right to participate in our democracy without fear,” Gillespie said. “Given the public health challenges we face, expanding our vote by mail program will allow citizens to exercise their democratic rights without compromising their health.”

    Senate Bill 1863 will expand the state’s vote by mail program by sending any person who voted in the past two years an application for a ballot in their mailbox. Voters who aren’t sent an application in the mail will have the opportunity to register to vote by mail online. Election Day of this year will also be made a state holiday so schools can be used as polling places without putting students at increased risk for COVID-19. All provisions in this legislation apply to the 2020 General Election only.

    Senate Bill 1863 was signed into law on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

  • Gillespie, Hunter announce commemorative coin celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote

    Commemorative coinSPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs and State Senators Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) announced a new commemorative state coin this week to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

    Senate Joint Resolution 28, sponsored by Gillespie and Hunter, authorized the State Treasurer to issue a coin to celebrate the landmark moment in history. The measure was approved unanimously by the General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session.

    “One hundred years after women secured the right to vote, I am honored and privileged to celebrate the women who dedicated their lives to the suffrage movement, including African-American suffragists who continued to face racial barriers to the ballot box long after the ratification of the 19th amendment,” Hunter said. “Let us always remember and strive to emulate the persistence, courage and grit of these women and all who have fought to give a voice to the voiceless. There is nothing more American.”

    “I am proud to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our hard-fought right to vote with this commemorative coin and by continuing our work to ensure that all people are included in our democracy,” Gillespie said. “We can't take anything for granted and we won't go backward.”

    The coin was designed by Illinois artists Leslie Bodenstein and Jason Pickleman of JNL Graphic Design. They were selected through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The coin is being minted by MTM Recognition out of Princeton, Illinois.

    Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on June 4, 1919. It was ratified by the Illinois General Assembly on June 10, 1919, followed by 35 other states. The 19th amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920.

    The coin can be purchased online here.

  • Gillespie announces free IT career training program

    gillespie 052119ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – With millions of Illinoisans facing unemployment, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) announced the launch of a free online career training program for jobs in the information technology industry.

    “The Workforce Recovery Initiative will develop work skills for high-demand careers in the technology sector,” Gillespie said. “I encourage those seeking new employment to enroll so that they are better prepared for a career in a growing industry.”

    Partnering with Coursera, an online learning platform, Illinois is one of the first states to make online job training courses free to residents through their Workforce Recovery Initiative. Now through September residents can apply online to enroll in over 3,800 industry-certified courses offered by accredited institutions. To receive credit, all courses must be completed by Dec. 31.

    The state is also partnering with P33 and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) to launch another training program, TechReady Illinois. This program will provide training for in-demand fields in the information technology industry. Upon completion, enrollees will be certified in data and analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity or software development. Residents can apply online for the TechReady program here. TechReady Illinois is not a free program like Coursera, but DPI is working secure discounts for enrollees.

    If you are interested in career opportunities outside the information technology industry, Get Hired Illinois is an online job portal that has over 60,000 listings available in a variety of industries.

  • Gillespie announces reopening of local COVID-19 testing site

    rockford test site 042220ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – After the brief closures of Community Based Testing Sites (CBTS) throughout Illinois, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) announced the reopening of the Rolling Meadows testing site.

    “Having a testing site readily available in our community is a valuable service,” Gillespie said. “I encourage anyone experiencing symptoms to please get tested. We all must continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

    The Rolling Meadows location is one of ten CBTS that reopened Wednesday. Anyone with symptoms is encouraged by the Illinois Department of Public Health to seek testing. Essential workers and individuals who were exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patients may be tested with or without symptoms.

    The Rolling Meadows CBTS is located at Rolling Meadows High School, 2901 Central Rd. COVID-19 testing at all CBTS is a free service that can be accessed without a doctor’s referral. While it is a free service, patients will be asked to provide a photo ID or a first-responder ID if applicable. The Rolling Meadows location is drive-through only.

    For additional information on COVID-19 and testing sites, visit, call 800-889-3931 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Seclusion room measures excluded from education legislation

    seclusionroom 052320SPRINGFIELD – As the Senate approved an education plan without addressing the abuse of seclusion rooms in schools, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement:

    “I am incredibly disappointed that the provisions to protect our most vulnerable students were excluded from the final bill. Advocates and I are trying to address the reality of children being shackled in our schools, while the opposition is more concerned with administrative provisions in the legislation.

    “When physical attendance at schools resumes, our children should not fear that their basic dignity will be stripped away. I remain committed to ending the inhumane practices of prone restraint and the abuse of seclusion rooms.”

  • Gillespie votes to expand vote by mail

    vote by mail“No one should have to risk their health to vote.”

    SPRINGFIELD – After co-sponsoring an election package that would send a vote by mail application to registered voters who participated in elections within the last two years, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement:

    “Participation in our democracy is the right of every citizen and must be preserved. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters deserve to be able to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. No one should have to risk their health to exercise our most basic political rights.

  • Gillespie: Utility relief available for working families

    gillespie 032719ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – With utility costs rising for working families as they transition to working and learning from home, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) encouraged residents to participate in the Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) ongoing Virtual Utility Bill Clinic to potentially save homeowners money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Shifting our workplaces from the office to our homes means in some cases shifting our costs home, too," Gillespie said. “Those in need of economic relief should send their bills to CUB to see where they can save.”

    To participate, residents should send a copy of their most recent electric, natural gas and telecom bills to CUB at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Attn: Virtual Utility Bill Clinic.” Participants can remove personal information, but their documents should include the account holder’s name.

    A CUB specialist will evaluate the bill to determine if you are signed up with an alternative supplier or if you are paying for unnecessary products or services. CUB will also let you know if you are eligible for money-saving programs, like financial assistance, and share information about energy efficiency programs.

    Senator Gillespie encourages residents to take advantage of CUB’s free utility bill clinics so they can keep their utility usage and costs in check. For more information on the program, please visit

  • Gillespie: Hate is not welcome in our community

    gillespie 052119ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Seeing an increase in hate crimes and harassment committed against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement:

    “Since the outbreak of COVID-19 there has been a significant increase in crimes committed against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. It is on all of us to stand up against hate – especially in our own community.

    “A welcoming state is more than just the law – it takes each and every one of us to actively call out discrimination when and where we see it. It takes courage to do this, but we must make it clear that hate is not welcome in our community. I urge anyone who experiences or witnesses harassment of any kind to report it to the Attorney General.”

    You can report incidents on the Illinois Attorney General’s website, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by calling 877-581-3692.

  • New law allows earlier access to senior tax break

    homestead exemption 011420A new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would accelerate access to a property tax break for seniors was signed into law Tuesday.

    “This bill is an opportunity to test a more efficient process while still providing the same or better level of service,” Ellman said. “This particular example prioritizes the needs of seniors on fixed-incomes and ensures awareness of relief programs available to our older population. I will continue to seek more efficient processes that serve Illinoisans.”

  • Lawmakers seek answers to abuse of seclusion rooms in schools

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  • Gillespie celebrates increase in skilled job training enrollment

    gillespie 103119SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) celebrated the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) announcement that career and technical education (CTE) enrollment has increased.

    Citing the first funding increase to CTE programs in over five years, ISBE announced that CTE enrollment has increased by nearly 5,000 students since 2016. Gillespie says it is vital to train more Illinois workers for in-demand, specialized jobs.

    “Career and technical education programs offer an affordable alternative to higher education that train students with tangible, hands-on work skills,” Gillespie said. “Increased investments in workforce development will prepare young people for success and ensure that employers have an educated workforce with the skills necessary for their respective industries.”

  • State Senator Ann Gillespie Previews the Fall Veto and Spring Sessions

    In this edition of the "Senate Showcase" podcast, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) reviews some of her accomplishments from the 2019 Spring Session and previews the upcoming Fall Veto and 2020 Spring Sessions.

  • Gillespie streamlines social worker licensing process

    Sen. Ann GillespieARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Students seeking a master’s degree in social work will be able to take their licensing exam sooner thanks to a new law introduced by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights).

    “Students of social work will now be licensed upon graduation and able to apply for jobs sooner,” said Gillespie. “Our state is facing a social worker shortage, so this new law will allow us to mitigate that much quicker.”

    Senate Bill 1888 allows students in a master’s program for social work to take their licensing exam in their final semester. Before this amendment, students needed to wait until after their degree was awarded.

  • Gillespie moves to protect employees, consumers with ban on harmful chemical

    Sen. Ann GillespieARLINGTON HEIGHTS – A harmful chemical found in most common receipt papers is now prohibited from being used in Illinois thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights).

    Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical used in thermal receipt papers to develop color that has been found to have negative reproductive and developmental side effects in animals.

    “Retail employees and consumers are exposed to BPA every time they handle a receipt,” said Gillespie. “We must protect our workers, and ensure a safe work environment free from potential harm.”

  • Gillespie, Walker honored for critical transportation investment

    TFIC Award CeremonyARLINGTON HEIGHTS – For their efforts to finalize the state’s first capital construction plan in a decade, State Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) and State Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights) were given the Friend of Infrastructure Award by the Transportation for Illinois Coalition today.

    TFIC, an umbrella organization of business, labor and transportation groups that have advocated for transportation investment for nearly 20 years, has worked closely with lawmakers in Springfield on the state’s Rebuild Illinois program. Funding shortfalls over the past decade caused many problems with Illinois’ transportation system, including poorly maintained roads and bridges and outdated public facilities.

    “Our transportation system has been neglected for too long,” said Sen. Gillespie. “The capital plan will invest in roads and bridges along with over $1 billion in rail projects that will support commuters. This investment in rail transit will allow commuters to save costs on their personal vehicles, have positive impacts on our environment and give businesses more opportunities to thrive.”

    Rebuild Illinois invests $45 billion into the state’s economy to fix aging infrastructure across the state. According to estimates from the Governor’s Office, the Village of Arlington Heights will receive just short of $3 million in state funds as part of the program.

    “After Illinois’ recent history of dysfunction, the historic and bipartisan vote for infrastructure investment sends a strong and positive message to residents and taxpayers,” said TFIC Managing Director Jennifer Morrison. “Elected officials believe in Illinois and its future and are here to make sure investments that benefit all citizens are made in a responsible way.”

  • Gillespie advances worker protection bill from Senate

    receiptsSPRINGFIELD – A harmful chemical found in most common receipt papers would be barred from use by Illinois businesses under legislation sponsored by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that passed the Senate today.

    House Bill 2076 would prohibit bisphenol-A (BPA) from being used in paper for business and banking records such as cash register, debit card and sales receipts. BPA is present in most thermal receipt papers to develop color.

    “BPA has been proven to cause harmful reproductive and developmental effects in animals,” Gillespie said. “We cannot stand by and wait for BPA’s effects on humans to be seen. We need to be proactive.”

  • Gillespie advances worker protection bill

    receipts 050919SPRINGFIELD – A harmful chemical found in most common receipt papers would be barred from use by Illinois businesses under legislation sponsored by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that was approved by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee today.

    House Bill 2076 would prohibit bisphenol-A (BPA) from being used in paper for business and banking records such as cash register, debit card and sales receipts. BPA is present in most thermal receipt papers to develop color.

    “BPA has been proven to cause harmful reproductive and developmental effects in animals,” Gillespie said. “We cannot stand by and wait for BPA’s effects on humans to be seen. We need to be proactive.”

    The measure is supported by the Sierra Club, Local 881 UFCW, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Environmental Council.

    “Tens of thousands of workers and even more consumers are in contact with these papers every day,” said Zach Koutsky, Legislative and Political Director of Local 881 UFCW. “Whether you are on the job or simply going shopping, you deserve to be safe from harmful chemicals.”

    Similar legislation was introduced in Illinois in 2012 but did not pass the House. In 2011, Connecticut banned BPA in thermal receipt paper.

    The measure now goes before the entire Senate.

  • Senate approves Gillespie’s plan for manufacturing training grants

    gillespie 022119SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved State Senator Ann Gillespie’s plan to establish a statewide workforce training grant that’s modeled after a successful program at a community college in central Illinois.

    Senate Bill 1919 creates the 21st Century Employment Grant Program, which will bring together state and local resources to support career training programs at community colleges and high schools. The measure received bipartisan support and was approved by the Senate with no opposition.

    “Illinois desperately needs to establish a pipeline of skilled workers for manufacturing, health care and technology careers. This measure will help us do that,” Gillespie said. “Career and technical education is a priority of mine, and I am excited to advance this important legislation.”

    Under the plan, participating community colleges or high schools would train students for a career but also teach them professional skills that are needed to be successful in the workplace, such as preparing a resume, effective communication and time management.

    The legislation requires community colleges or high schools to create an advisory board or partnership with local employers and economic developers. Furthermore, it requires state officials to track the progress of each grant recipient, analyze whether the programs are closing the employment or education gap for the labor needs of the region, and offer suggestions for additional training programs to support the labor needs of prospective businesses looking to locate in Illinois.

    The measure is modeled in part after a job skills training initiative at Richland Community College in Decatur, which received a $1.5 million state grant in 2018. The collaboration of state, local and private resources in that community is expected to put as many as 225 people to work.

  • Gillespie honors Sikh Americans

    gillespie 041019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ann Gillespie is honoring Sikh Americans with a Senate resolution declaring April 2019 Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.

    Sikh is a well-established religious, social and ethnic group. It is the fifth-largest religion in the world, with more than 30 million Sikhs worldwide. An estimated half-million Sikhs live in the United States, and Illinois is home to about 25,000 Sikhs.

    “Sikhs are a vital part of Illinois’ cultural and economic fabric, particularly in Chicago and the suburbs. It is important that we make an effort to better understand and appreciate the rich history and shared experiences of Sikh Americans,” Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) said.

    Senate Resolution 209, adopted by the Senate Wednesday, notes that Sikh Americans have distinguished themselves by fostering respect among all people through faith and service.

    On Wednesday, Rajinder Mago with the Sikh Religious Society in Palatine delivered the invocation to the Illinois Senate. The Sikh Religious Society is in the 27th Senate District that Gillespie represents.