March 17, 2021
Building on efforts to improve education and career outcomes in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation in March that expands access, equity, and opportunity in the state’s education system. The Education and Workforce Equity Act (HB 2170) strengthens the state’s priorities in delivering high-quality learning from cradle to career and includes a heightened equity focus on communities that have been disproportionately impacted by longstanding disinvestment.
During an event at Parkland College on March 10 celebrating the signing of the bill, RPC CEO Dalitso Sulamoyo was invited to share his thoughts on its impact on Early Childhood Education since the RPC administers Head Start and Early Head Start in Champaign County. Regarding Early Childhood Education, HB 2170:
- Expands access to the Early Intervention program by allowing children who turn 3-years-old between May and August to continue receiving services until the beginning of the next school year
- Requires the Illinois State Board of Education to annually assess all public-school students entering kindergarten to measure their readiness
- Requires that behavioral health providers use diagnostic codes and descriptions that are developmentally and age appropriate for children under the age of 5
HB 2170 also requires the Illinois Workforce Investment Board to conduct a feasibility study of all workforce development programs funded by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (such as East Central Illinois workNet).
Other featured speakers at the event included Governor Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, House Majority Conference Chairperson Carol Ammons from Urbana, and University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones.