KoehlerYouth1 350PEORIA — A task force charged with determining best practices for Illinois with regard to youth who are out of school and jobless hosted a youth employment hearing in Peoria in July, and State Senator Dave Koehler helped moderate the discussion.

Three panels of Peoria-area citizens participated in the July 19 hearing. The youth panel included three young adults — Taryne Gardner, Kira Thomas and Dasontray Keys — who shared their experiences and the barriers they overcame when they dropped out of high school, then chose to earn their GEDs. They cited local programs, including the Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning and Peoria Corps, as instrumental in their success.

A second panel addressed legislative needs for effective programming. Participants included staff from the Peoria Police Department, the Peoria County sheriff, representatives from the Moonlight Coalition, and Rita Ali from Illinois Central College.

KoehlerYouth4 350Finally, a panel of business leaders address legislation that could help meet the needs of employers who have job vacancies and rely on young, working-age people to help fill those positions. Those panelists included Kate Cundiff from the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Illinois Central College President Sheila Quik-Bailey, Kathy Lehmann from Unity Point Health, and Stephanie Price from HGS.

According to statistics, in 2014 nearly 191,000 Illinois youth and young adults 16 to 24 years old were jobless and out of school. Many of these youth and young adults require opportunities to become successful adults.

The State Task Force on Developing Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults Who are Jobless and Out of School is expected to issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the governor and General Assembly by the end of the year.

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Springfield Office:
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120