Spain bill passes committee to attract young professionals back to Illinois

State Representative Ryan Spain passed House Resolution 646 through the House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday, a proposal aimed at creating a joint post-graduation scholarship program funded by the Alliance of Community Foundations and the State of Illinois. Spain says the legislation represents an effort to attract young professionals back to Illinois.

“Illinois must be creative and aggressive in attracting and retaining the next generation of leaders for our state,” said Rep. Ryan Spain in presenting the bill before a unanimous vote of the House Higher Education Committee.  “HR 646 will give our communities additional tools to build a talented workforce with deep roots and long-lasting commitment.”

The Alliance of Community Foundations has created a scholarship program that is aimed to help mitigate the decline in the number of Illinois residents with college degrees by attracting young professionals with expertise in Illinois trades such as agribusiness and food processing, biotechnology, energy, healthcare, professional services, information technology, financial activities, and more.  Community foundations will be able to raise private philanthropic dollars to award post-graduation scholarships.  These scholarships can be used to pay down student loans in exchange for living and working in a local community for an agreed number of years. 

With broad bipartisan co-sponsorship and support, and after unanimous passage in Committee, House Resolution 646 will go before the full House later this month.