A bill sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign designed to help industries find qualified help has been signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. House Bill 5720 creates the Taskforce on Computer Science Education to analyze the current state of computer science education in Illinois. The bill also includes recommendations to increase computer science education in Illinois schools.

‘’We need to match Illinois residents with high-demand jobs to keep employers and workers in Illinois,’’ said Senator Bennett. The Senator says it while touring industries in Vermilion County that he kept hearing about struggles in finding qualified help.

Watchfire_workfloor1_lge_071213While touring Watchfire Signs in Danville, Senator Bennett was told the company’s continued growth is threatened by the problem. ‘’Watchfire struggles mightily to hire adequate computer science staff every year – so much so that we’ve built an elaborate system of internships, tuition support and staff development programs to grow as many of our own as possible, and to keep every qualified, capable person on staff long-term,’’ says AnnMarie Cross, Director of Human Resources at Watchfire. ‘’Our continued growth is threatened by the struggle to fulfill our needs for software engineering, computer engineering and I.T. talent – with associates’ and bachelors’ degrees and beyond,’’ added Cross.

Bennett believes local employers should not have to look beyond Illinois while making hiring decisions. Watchfire has relocated engineers from as far away as California. ‘’This new law will ensure we continue to work to guarantee Illinois’ workforce meets the demands of our economy,’’ added Senator Bennett.

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