PLAINFIELD — As many small businesses across the state worry about the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced new funding for small business development centers to help businesses get through this difficult time. 

“Small businesses make up a majority of our state’s private workforce, so investing in these companies is an investment in Illinoisans,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Additional funds for small business development centers will help guide these important parts of our community through this difficult time.”

A $7.3 million investment announced by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Wednesday will flow from the U.S. Small Business Administration to the Illinois Small Business Developmental Center program. The statewide program focuses on supporting Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs in starting, growing and maintaining their businesses. 

The money will go toward additional resources for education, training and professional business advising to small businesses that have experienced supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, a decrease in gross receipts or customers, or a closure as a result of COVID-19.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has played an important role in connecting businesses with support resources and assistance programs designed to help keep them from shutting their doors permanently. 

SPRINGFIELD — The lives of students and teachers were uprooted during the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) recognized the obstacles they face and sponsored the General Assembly’s comprehensive education package. 

“Teachers and students are dealing with a situation they could have never planned for, so it is our responsibility to ensure they get the support they need,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our educators must be equipped with the right tools to give students a quality education — even if they do so from a distance.”

The education package does a number of things to help students and teachers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including extending educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. 

Additionally, relating to higher education, any grade of “pass,” “credit,” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses. 

“Students who worked hard on their classes during unprecedented circumstances should not have to sacrifice that work because they didn’t get a typical letter grade,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Allowing students who have completed the coursework to get the credit is a commonsense practice.” 

Senate Bill 1569 passed the Senate and goes to the governor for final approval.

PLAINFEILD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Friday she supports Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to close in-person classes for the rest of the school year as a way to keep children and families safe from COVID-19.

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“The decision made by our governor Friday afternoon to close schools for the rest of the academic year is best for the safety and health of our community and all of Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Thanks to the hard work and support from our teachers, students will continue education through e-learning and other at-home programs.”

Pritzker announced Friday afternoon that schools across Illinois will remain closed for in-person classes for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The work completed during the suspension of in-person instruction will not negatively impact a student’s grades or otherwise impact a student’s academic standing, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. 

“Students and parents are experiencing varying challenges during this time, and it is my goal that no child’s education is impacted negatively by the closure,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I am committed to helping people navigate this unprecedented time, while ensuring our kids get the best education possible.” 

Parents who might have questions about the governor’s order are encouraged to contact Bertino-Tarrant’s office at 815-254-4211 or here.

The Will County Center of Community Concerns and Community Service Council of Northern Will County were awarded a total of more than $800,000 to help area homeowners with repairs, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant announced Friday.

“Almost everyone has experienced a sudden need for a home repair, but, especially right now, not everyone has the money they need to cover an emergency,” the Shorewood Democrat said. “People should not have to worry about the living conditions they are raising their families in.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors awarded Will County $829,000 to help low- and very low-income homeowners with necessary home repairs. The group awarded $11,000,000 statewide through the state’s Single Family Rehabilitation Program. The lump sum is projected to help at least 326 families. 

The Single Family Rehabilitation Program provides forgivable loans of up to $45,000 per household to assist with necessary repairs to remove documented health and safety hazards. Eligible repairs include roofing, flooring and plumping, among others. 

A roof-only option is also available for people who do not need other repairs. Those recipients are offered up to $16,500 to militate against future roof damage. 

“The money so graciously awarded to Will County will change the lives of some residents who are stressed about paying for repairs — especially at a time where more people are finding themselves on fixed incomes,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I encourage anyone who needs help to apply for funds.” 

Households can apply for grants by contacting the Will County Center of Community Concerns at 815-722-0722 or Community Service Council of Northern Will County at 815-886-5000. The group will walk you through the application process and explain eligibility. 

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Springfield, IL 62706 
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Plainfield, IL 60544 
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