By Rebecca Anzel, Capitol News Illinois
Unemployed Illinoisans will soon have access to free, online skills-based training programs.
Beginning in June and lasting through the end of the year, 3,800 courses and 400 specializations will be offered by over 160 universities through the online learning platform Coursera, Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday. Formal certification programs will also be available.
This initiative’s aim is to provide skills training for those who lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Pritzker said that is just one way Illinois officials are helping those suffering economically.
“It’s critical that our state do everything possible to help our residents get back to work, whether returning to positions they once held or with employers who are seeking to hire,” he said.
A “one-stop shop” dedicated to connecting unemployed residents with jobs is now available at illinois.gov/gethired. The governor said it is a “hub” for those looking to participate in online career fairs, for example.
“The financial stability and success of our residents are key to getting Illinois’ economy back on its feet,” Pritzker said. “Illinois won’t be restored until our workers and families have the opportunities and resources they need to build and fill in their lives, and I won’t rest until we see that mission through.”
He added his administration is encouraging employers to use the resource to post jobs.
Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Employment Security received more than 50,000 applications for federal pandemic unemployment assistance in the first three days of the program, although the official number of claims filed will not be announced until May 21, per federal government rules.
The department processed over 1,076,000 other unemployment claims from March 1 through May 9, the governor added. That is “about six times” as many the department processed during the first months of the Great Recession in 2008.