Gov. Pat Quinn continued his campaign towards green initiatives, signing legislation on Thursday that furthers Illinois' leadership in the green industry.
The new law helps ensure stronger collaboration between the state and Illinois colleges, universities and research centers on sustainability issues and efforts in green technology.
"The 'green' technology industry is one of the nation's fastest-growing employment sectors. Our investments in this sector are critical to ensuring Illinois' long-term economic growth, and in maintaining our position as a leader in sustainability," said Quinn. "Our partnerships with the high education community, business sector and local communities are critical to those efforts."
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland), creates the Higher Education Green Jobs and Technology Act, which promotes the development of course and initiatives to align green job programs with employers' needs.
The act also mandates that the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board annually publish information relating to new degrees, certifications and courses offered by universities.
"We have to understand that the key to our prosperity in Illinois and in American in the 21st century are green jobs," said Quinn before signing the bill at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus. "This campus is part of the mission of educating our students, far and wide, on what that green future is all about and being ready to fulfill those jobs."
Quinn hopes the new bill will strengthen an existing partnership between the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the state's community colleges. The partnership, known as the Illinois Green Economy Network, is a consortium of 48 Illinois community colleges geared toward advancing career development in energy efficiency and renewable energy.