Sen. Celina Villanueva

CHICAGO – Members of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus (Senate) joined the call from business and industry partners, including the Illinois Restaurant Association and Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to streamline work authorizations for eligible asylum seekers who are ready and eager to work in Illinois.

“I am proud that in Illinois, we step up for those in need and live out our values as a welcoming state,” said joint Latino Caucus Chair Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago). “I am happy to see Senator Durbin fighting for this much-needed measure to provide our new neighbors with the resources they need to support themselves and their families.”

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin joined Illinois’ congressional delegation, alongside Governor JB Pritzker and industry partners Wednesday, to urge the Department of Homeland Security to use its authority to streamline the work authorization process for new arrivals and undocumented immigrants. If granted, states could be allowed to sponsor asylum seekers for employment in industries facing labor shortages such as hospitality and manufacturing.

“Sustainable job opportunities are available in every corner of our state with folks who are ready to work and contribute to our economy,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “When people can provide for themselves and their families, everyone wins. I echo my colleagues’ calls for this process to begin so that those seeking asylum finally have this opportunity.”

Read more: Senate Latino Caucus joins call for federal government to expand work authorizations for asylum...

Category: News

011023HAO00062CHICAGO — State Senator Celina Villanueva announced that school districts across the Chicago area will receive over $23 million in funding to help address the financial challenges of recent years.

“This funding is a commitment to ensure underrepresented students are supported and can become lifelong learners,” said Villanueva (D-Chicago). “Through the evidence-based funding model, great strides are being made in addressing inequity in funding public schools in high-need areas.”

The funding comes from the 2017 Illinois Senate Democrat-backed evidence-based funding formula — an overhaul of the way the state funds K-12 education. The law made school funding more equitable by calculating the needs of individual school districts and basing its state revenue on those needs. The formula takes into account a district’s total enrollment, poverty rate and number of special education or English language learners, among other factors.

This year, a combined $23,357,289 will go to Chicago School District 299 — the district that serves CPS — benefitting hundreds of schools across the city and in the 12th Senate District.

The Fiscal Year 24 budget invested $350 million in funding into students’ success through the evidence-based funding model.

For more information on the FY 24 evidence-based funding distribution, visit the Illinois State Board of Education’s website.

Category: News

030723KP0230CHICAGO – With support from State Senator Celina Villanueva, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recently announced the latest round of Back to Business grants awarded to businesses in the restaurant industry.

“Local businesses are still working to bounce back, and opportunities like the Back to Business grant program will allow them to maintain a place in their communities,” said Villanueva (D-Chicago). “With these grants, our communities have the chance to grow and thrive.”

The Back to Business grant program provides recovery grants for small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on businesses in the hardest hit industries. Through the Back to Business and Business Interruption Grant programs, DCEO has provided over $535 million to more than 15,000 businesses since the start of the pandemic.

Twelve restaurants in Villanueva’s district will receive a combined total of $440,000 through this round of Back to Business grants.

“Local restaurants are necessary for every community,” said Villanueva. “This program allows neighbors to continue supporting one another, ensuring our businesses stay open for years ahead.”

For more information about the Back to Business grant program, visit DCEO’s website.

Category: News

041923KP1774CHICAGO – Deceptive, misleading for-profit, post-secondary institutions will be required to pay back Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding under a new law championed by State Senator Celina Villanueva.

“It is a shame these for-profit organizations utilized MAP funding dishonestly,” said Villanueva (D- Chicago). “These practices have left graduates from for-profit institutions with an average of 12% more student debt than those from private nonprofit colleges.”

Villanueva joined Partnership for College Completion in its initiative to bring House Bill 2898 to life. Since 2014, more than 2,000 for-profit campus locations around the country have closed due to fraudulent activities, including 68 campus closures in Illinois.

Villanueva’s law requires for-profit, post-secondary institutions that have been found committing unfair, misleading or deceptive practices to repay MAP funds to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

“It is imperative for-profit institutions are held accountable for their deceptive practices,” said Villanueva. “Students should not have to enter the ‘real world’ worrying about significant debt.”

House Bill 2898 was signed into law Friday and is effective immediately.

Category: News

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Office Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 11th District
623 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

District Office:
2501 S. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623