BooksDECATUR – The Decatur Public Library is the recipient of a $14,600 mentoring grant from the Illinois secretary of state, State Senator Andy Manar announced.

The grant was awarded through the FY20 Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help with developing life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

Decatur is one of 29 public libraries in the state to receive the grant.

“I’m glad to see that the secretary of state is committed to investing in public libraries and underserved youth in Illinois,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “This grant will help provide at-risk students in Decatur with the tools they need to be successful both now and in the future when pursue a college degree or prepare to enter the job market.”

In all, the secretary of state awarded more than $464,000 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “I established this innovative program when I first became secretary of state to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

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Category: Latest News

Richland Visit 7.24.19DECATUR – State Senator Andy Manar joined Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development Acting Director Erin Guthrie and representatives from the business and labor communities for a tour of Richland Community College’s workforce development facilities Wednesday.

“There’s incredible opportunity in the Decatur area and Richland is doing an excellent job of making sure there are qualified individuals ready to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “And after touring their facilities today, I’m certain that the EnRich program will be instrumental to the economic growth of the community going forward.”

For the past two fiscal years, Manar has helped secure $1.5 million grants through DCEO to help the college expand its workforce development programs.

The additional funds have helped Richland grow its EnRich program, which provides both technical and essential skills training to individuals to help grow the area’s workforce.

“Equipping Illinoisans with the skills they will need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy is a top priority for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,” Guthrie said. “Richland Community College’s workforce development center is ahead of the curve in preparing students for jobs in emerging industries as well as industries that are relying more and more on technology to achieve their goals.”

Data from the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macoupin County currently shows that there are over 1,000 job openings that need to be filled in Decatur.

The workforce development programs at Richland are helping bridge that gap by fast-tracking training for workers to fill these positions.

“Employers in Decatur are struggling to find qualified workers, but, conversely, it hasn’t been easy for workers to gain the skills they need to fill these positions,” Manar said. “The EnRich program is finally changing that narrative and making a needed investment in Decatur’s workforce.”

Category: Latest News

PassengerSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was honored with the Friend of Infrastructure Award by the Transportation for Illinois Coalition today for his leadership in passing a bipartisan $45 billion plan to improve Illinois’ public infrastructure.

“The Rebuild Illinois program will make much needed investments in our state’s roads, bridges, and transit systems and these investments are long overdue,” Manar said. “Investment in infrastructure is a down payment on the future and it creates thousands of good paying Illinois jobs.  I’m glad that we were able to get this done for the people of Illinois and I want to thank the Transportation for Illinois Coalition for honoring me with this award.”

This spring Manar co-chaired the Senate’s Joint Subcommittee on Capital, which was charged with developing the state’s first major infrastructure improvement plan in a decade. The bi-partisan Subcommittee held eight hearings throughout the state this spring to learn about the infrastructure problems facing Illinois communities and potential solutions.

As a downstate member of the Senate, Manar said it was important that downstate’s needs be addressed in both the discussions and the final legislation.

“As we toured this state it became apparent just how great the needs were both in terms of transportation and vertical construction projects,” Manar said. “The comprehensive plan we passed takes into account these needs and allows us to fairly invest in every corner of the state.”

Manar also joined the Illinois Public Transportation Association and Macoupin County Public Transit for a tour of the county’s transit system which was started during his tenure as Chairman of the Macoupin County Board

“Macoupin County’s public transit system is critically important to those who live here – particularly older residents who rely on it for transportation on a daily basis,” Manar said. “Rebuild Illinois will not only invest in roads and bridges, it will guarantee that public transportation for residents and students who need it for essential daily tasks like getting to work or to the doctor.”

Category: Latest News

04102019CW0149SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is calling for a full review of state contracts and funding awarded to Land of Lincoln Goodwill following the nonprofit’s decision to pull paychecks from disabled workers.

The nonprofit recently told dozens of workers with disabilities that they would be laid off due to the state’s increase in the minimum wage even though the one dollar per hour increase doesn’t take effect for five months and it is exempt by the U.S. Department of Labor from paying these employees the minimum wage.

“An organization that eliminates opportunity for the most vulnerable people in the state while simultaneously driving up executive compensation should be ashamed of itself,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “Blaming a minimum wage increase that hasn’t even gone into effect and that does not apply to these workers after receiving an increase in taxpayer funding is unacceptable.”

According to a WCIA report, the executive director of the Land of Lincoln Goodwill is currently making $164,000. Further tax records show that Land of Lincoln Goodwill raised executive compensation for two positions during the height of the budget impasse by $86,155 over 3 years.

Land of Lincoln Goodwill currently receives nearly $400,000 in taxpayer funded contracts and was slated to receive a 3.5 percent funding increase under the state’s new budget.

Manar sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Department of Central Management Services and Governor JB Pritzker this morning asking for a review of all contracts with the nonprofit.

“When I work to craft and vote to support a state budget to increase funding for human services programs to benefit the well-being of the most vulnerable, it is not my intention to line the six figure pockets of executives at non-for-profit entities like Ms. Durbin.  Goodwill’s mission statement explicitly states its intent to enhance people’s dignity by eliminating barriers to opportunity,” Manar said. “There seems to be an abundance of opportunity today for Ms. Durbin but not so much for Goodwill’s now unemployed disabled workers. Unfortunately, local Goodwill executives are on the wrong path and we must now take extra steps to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used properly and for their intended purposes.”

Category: Latest News

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Contact Me

Springfield Office:
119A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228

Decatur Office:
Macon County Office Building
141 S. Main St., Suite 502
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: (217) 429-8110

Bunker Hill Office:
115 N. Washington, P.O. Box 636
Bunker Hill, IL 62014
Phone: (618) 585-4848