PHOTO Durbin and Cullerton raise awareness for career tech programs RSCAROL STREAM- To raise awareness for vocational and technology careers, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) toured Automobile Mechanics' Local 701 in Carol Stream.

Vocation education is a training program to prepare students for a certain trade, such as auto repair, construction, beautician programs, agriculture, health and engineering.

However at some point over the last 20 years, vocational education became downgraded to a career path for troubled or academically challenged students. These programs become a destination for students who weren’t “college material.” This was a tragic mistake in preparing our middle class for real careers.

“Students should have the opportunity to be educated and trained for careers they enjoy,” Cullerton said. “Vocational programs provide Illinois’ adults and students with vital technical skills to compete in our global economy.”

The societal biases against vocational programs lead to a decline in enrollment and several workforce shortages.

“When I travel around Illinois I often hear how many good jobs go unfilled because employers cannot find workers with the right technical expertise,” said Durbin. “Vocational education programs are uniquely positioned to give students the skills they need to succeed in promising fields like manufacturing, healthcare, automotive repair and more. I will continue to support training initiatives, like Local 701’s apprenticeship program, that help working families gain the skills needed to succeed in our evolving economy.”

Many skills for innovative jobs are technical skills that fall into the category of technical and vocational studies. There are programs training students in biomedicine, energy pathways engineering and advanced manufacturing.

“The days when vocational training was considered less than a college degree are over. Vocational skills help forgotten middle class families who still believe that labor is a necessary and driving force behind our economy,” Cullerton said. “Vocational education leads directly to employment and doesn't saddle students with mountains of debt. These careers lead to healthy incomes, career success and opportunities for entrepreneurship.”

Category: Press Releases

TCCommitteeAprilVILLA PARK- Villa Park Democrat, Tom Cullerton vows to fight the Illinois Policy Institute’s budget plan to raid the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF).

As the former Village President of Villa Park, Cullerton knows the importance of this vital local government fund.

“Local money belongs in local hands,” Cullerton said. "My interest as a former mayor is to make sure our local governments have what they need to keep our communities safe and services running.”

IPI’s proposal would effectively eliminate the LGDF. That’s $1.3 billion in the current fiscal year that goes out to local governments. IPI’s proposal calls for the state to keep the money and spend it.

In addition to funding everyday core services to Illinois citizens, LGDF distributions play a role in keeping the local tax burden low.

“This idea is ridiculous,” Mayor Frank Saverino, Village of Carol Stream said. “Municipalities like Carol Stream rely on the Local Government Distributive Fund to repair potholes, plow our roads in the winter and provide area residents with basic services. We wouldn’t be able to serve the people of Carol Stream without this essential fund.”

Cullerton vows to adamantly oppose any proposal that would eliminate the LGDF.

Category: Press Releases

tcullerton 053116VILLA PARK- The number of seniors, generally age 60 and older, with student loan debt has quadrupled over the last decade to 6.4 percent, and the average amount they owed has also increased to $23,500 from $12,100 a decade ago, according to a new report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), a new member of the Senate’s Committee on Higher Education, is disgusted with the risky and deceptive lending practices by the nation’s student loan providers and money lending companies.

“It’s important we hold these lending companies accountable for loading Illinois residents with mountains of debt,” Cullerton said. “As a father of three sons, I know what parents are going through. Like any other parent, I want my children to graduate college full of opportunities, not burdened with unmanageable amounts of debt.”

Recently, the Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Navient Solutions, Inc. and Sallie Mae. Navient, was part of Sallie Mae before the company was divided into two separate entities.

The lawsuit alleges the two entities offered “designed to fail” subprime loans over several decades to students across the nation, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The loans allegedly carried high interest rates and fees and were mostly given to students at “poorly accredited” for-profit schools.

“No student should be discouraged from attending college due to financial need,” Cullerton said. “I look forward to finding ways to make college more affordable by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at our state and community colleges and protecting Illinois families from outrageous lending schemes.”

Cullerton looks forward to the committee’s first meeting of the 100th General Assembly.

Category: Press Releases

PHOTO Cullerton and Frerichs work to protect Illinois familiesITASCA- The Illinois State Treasurer’s office has found about $500 million in unpaid life insurance benefits.  Soon insurance companies will be required to return this money to Illinois families.

House Bill 302 will require life insurance companies to review their records going back to 1996 to find life insurance customers who died and no benefits were claimed.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) sat down with state Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) and local advocates from the AARP, NAACP and the Illinois Funeral Directors Association to share information on finding ways to return unclaimed life insurance policies to deceased policy owners’ families.

“Insurance companies have a responsibility to pay death benefits,” Cullerton said.  “When your loved ones buy a life insurance policy, they are trying to protect you from financial burdens and hardship. It’s important that we honor their wishes and guarantee that those benefits are given to the family they left behind.”

This new life insurance legislation will protect consumers and put money back in the hands of families, instead of the insurance companies’ bank accounts.  

“I’ve never met a man or woman who purchased life insurance with the expectation that the death benefits would be kept by the insurance company rather than paid to their family,” Frerichs said.

This initiative is the next logical step to bring commonsense change to the life insurance industry.  Insurance companies have acknowledged not paying out death benefits when they knew or should have known a customer died. It has been found that unpaid benefits are often built into the profit plans.

House Bill 302 is currently in committee in the House. Cullerton looks forward to sponsoring this measure in the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

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Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
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Springfield, IL 62706
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