On the Shriver Center's blog yesterday, Dan Lesser noted a bright spot in Illinois' otherwise dismal economic environment:
Three months have now passed since the Put Illinois to Work program began, and it’s fair to say that it has been a monumental success in solving our state’s #1 problem--getting people in Illinois back to work. It has done so at little cost to the state by creatively harnessing a federal funding stream created as part of the 2009 economic stimulus legislation. Illinois has done what the anti-government chorus considers the impossible, working closely with the private sector to get a large-scale government program up and running quickly and efficiently.
Put Illinois to Work (PITW) provides jobs that pay $10 per hour for 30-40 hours per week of work. As of today, there are over 18,000 people in PITW jobs. Employers have created 35,000 work slots (the state’s original goal was 15,000), and the state has had to close intake to the program with over 60,000 applicants.
The bad news? As Lesser points out, a one-year extension of that federal funding stream was included in the jobs bill that Republicans and conservative Democrats blocked in the Senate last week.