man using computer 1290114 1280CHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is encouraging local businesses and non-profits to apply for newly available Connect Illinois grants to help expand broadband to underserved communities.

“You have to have reliable, affordable internet access to participate in the world we live in today – whether it’s for work, to apply for government assistance, or even to access education or health care,” Villanueva said. “These grants can help make internet more affordable for low-income families who need it to help improve their situations.”

The first round of Connect Illinois grants jumpstarted the process of providing improved access to high-speed internet for approximately 26,000 businesses, households, and other institutions throughout the state.

The second round of Connect Illinois grants will allow for up to $5 million per project and calls for a matching component, which requires companies, non-profits, and local governments that apply to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments. 

Read more: Villanueva encourages local groups to apply for $50 million in Connect Illinois grants to support...

Category: News

Blue Ribbon Schools FB Villanueva CHICAGO — State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is congratulating John Hancock College Preparatory High School for being awarded a National Blue Ribbon by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

“I know how hard John Hancock teachers and students work,” Villanueva said. “This is a well-earned award, and I’m proud to represent this school and so many others in our community.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a U.S. Department of Education Award Program designed in 1982 to recognize high achieving schools on a yearly basis in two categories — Exemplary High Performing Schools and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools. Throughout the state, 21 schools have received recognition this year.

John Hancock was awarded in the Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools category for its efforts to close the achievement gaps between all students over the past five years.

Read more: Villanueva congratulates John Hancock High School on prestigious Blue Ribbon honor

Category: News

OpenCHICAGO – The state released $46 million in Business Interruption Grants to more than 2,500 local businesses in the first round of the program, which is intended to help businesses hit especially hard by pandemic-related closures and restrictions. State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is urging more business owners to apply for the next round.

“I was happy to see more than 50% of this round of grants go to businesses owned by people of color in particularly hard hit areas,” Villanueva said. “These grants will go a long way to help businesses struggling from the COVID-19 outbreak, especially for the many business owners who couldn’t qualify for federal aid in communities like the one I represent.”

In the 11th Senate District, 42 businesses received $770,000 in aid. First round BIG grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be used to help businesses cover payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as masks and other protective equipment, training, and new technology. Recipients were selected via a random lottery.

Before the next round of grants, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is providing technical assistance to support entrepreneurs who need help applying, especially in communities of colors. They will work through community partners, including the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, The Resurrection Project, and the Chicago Urban League.

“We all know the truth is the pandemic has hit Latinx and Black communities especially hard, especially in the city,” Villanueva said. “Businesses in our communities often have less resources and less experience navigating government programs. I urge local businesses who need help to work with these community navigators to apply for the next round of grants.”

DCEO expects to launch the next round of applications soon.

Category: News

essential employeeCHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) celebrated as legislation that will protect essential workers, increase first-responder benefits and expand collective bargaining rights was signed into law.

“First-responders and essential workers have put their lives on the line for us every day,” Villanueva said. “They deserve a dignified workplace where they can be free from harassment and negotiate fair wages.”

Read more: Villanueva: Essential workers, first-responders deserve a dignified workplace

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