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NAPERVILLE — A measure that was signed into law last week will help survivors of sexual assault be able to receive medical forensic exams, also known as rape kits, at federally qualified health centers, in addition to hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) is a strong supporter of the new law, which she voted for in May.

“Seeking help after a sexual assault is already difficult. Now that hospitals are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be that much harder,” Ellman said. “Nobody should be forced to make the decision between potentially contracting COVID-19 and seeking justice.”

Senate Bill 557 allows approved federally qualified health centers to perform rape kit examinations and collection during public health emergencies like COVID-19. 

“The reality is, this pandemic hasn’t stopped sexual assault in Illinois,” Ellman said. “It’s critical that survivors have access to medical forensic exams somewhere other than hospitals.”

This measure took effect last Friday.

NAPERVILLE – With millions of Illinoisans facing unemployment, State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) announced the launch of a free online career training program for jobs in the information   technology industry.

“This Initiative can help people develop work skills for careers in the technology field,” Ellman said. “If you’re looking for new employment opportunities, enroll so you can be better prepared for a career this growing industry.”

Partnering with Coursera, an online learning platform, Illinois is one of the first states to make online job   training courses free to residents through their Workforce Recovery Initiative. Now through September,   residents can apply online to enroll in over 3,800 industry-certified courses offered by accredited  institutions. To receive credit, all courses must be completed by Dec. 31.

The state is also partnering with P33 and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) to launch another training program, TechReady Illinois. This program will provide training for in-demand fields in the information technology industry. Upon completion, enrollees will be certified in data and analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity or software development. Residents can apply online for the TechReady program here. TechReady Illinois is not a free program like Coursera, but DPI is working secure discounts for enrollees.

If you are interested in career opportunities outside the information technology industry, Get Hired Illinois is an online job portal that has over 60,000 listings available in a variety of industries.

Outdoor dining

NAPERVILLE – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) urges area residents to support local bars and restaurants, following Gov. Pritzker’s decision to allow restaurants and bars to have on-site dining in outside seating areas during Phase 3 of his Restore Illinois plan.

“This pandemic has impacted nearly every area of our state and local economies, restaurants and bars in particular,” Ellman said. “Help your favorite local eateries recover from this pandemic by patronizing their outdoor seating areas.”

Since Gov. Pritzker’s first executive order was implemented on March 21, dine-in service at restaurants and bars has been prohibited in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Last week, the governor announced that all Illinois restaurants and bars will be allowed to resume on-site service dining in outdoor seating areas on May 29.

“I’m pleased to see the governor decide to allow restaurants and bars to reopen some dine-in service during Phase 3 of his plan,” Ellman said. “If you do go out to eat, please be careful and follow all of the relevant health precautions. If we all work together, we can continue to fight COVID-19 while returning to a more normal way of life.” ​

Ellman does want to remind residents to still consider the risks to themselves or other people in their households if they do decide to expand their activities.

I see the fires in Aurora and Chicago, and this afternoon downtown Naperville is temporarily closing up in response to potentially violent protests. Reports of looting and mayhem, possibly instigated by provocateurs and opportunists and fueled by pent-up frustration, should not distract us from the important work ahead of us. George Floyd’s murder under the knee of a policeman and the COVID-19 outbreak have laid bare an issue that has always been here: racial disparity in America.

Inequities exist in every aspect of American life, including job access, obtaining a quality education, access to food, housing, health care, and unfair treatment by police and courts. In DuPage County, the case rate for COVID-19 is 2.3 times higher for African Americans than white residents, and the morality rate is 1.7 times higher. No camera has been there as witness, but it’s real and it’s heartbreaking.

People of color suffer in Illinois, oppression stops when the oppressor stops. To the African American community, I hear you, I see you and I commit to joining you in the fight to end systematic racism. Do not let rhetoric and misinformation divide us in protecting basic rights for all. Demand the best from your schools, police, community and representatives. Demand it from me.

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District Office
552 S. Washington, Suite 104
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone: (630) 453-5488

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M122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-8192