New law makes it easier for Illinoisans in criminal justice system to get jobs in health care industry

(Source: Gov. JB Pritzker/Twitter)
(Source: Gov. JB Pritzker/Twitter)
Published: Jul. 31, 2019 at 12:46 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker signed a new law on Wednesday, July 31 that expands access for Illinoisans involved in the criminal justice system to gain employment in the health care industry.

Senate Bill 1965 creates a health care waiver application process, expands the list of eligible organizations that can initiate a fingerprint-based background check and those that can request waivers to include workforce intermediaries and pro bono legal service organization, and allows people with disqualifying conditions to get waivers before receiving a job offer.

“Over 4 million Illinoisans have an arrest or conviction record – that includes over 40 percent of our working age population,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This vicious cycle of poverty, crime and injustice – which disproportionately impacts communities of color – does a disservice to everyone involved, from affected families to employers to taxpayers. I’m so proud that this legislation will dismantle another part of the wall that blocks people with records from living a dignified life. Today, with this action, we’re showing the world that we are building an Illinois that works for everyone.”

It takes effect immediately.

Before the bill, only health care employers who extended a conditional offer to an applicant could begin a fingerprint-based background check.

This new law expedites that process.

“This new law will help many throughout the state get their lives back on track,” said Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). “It will put people back to work and help keep them out of our prison system. By getting these background checks done upfront, we provide a greater level of transparency between applicants and employers, avoid wait times and help Illinoisans with criminal records have a better shot at getting a job.”

By 2026, the Safer Foundation estimates that more than 93,000 jobs will need to be filled in the industry, more than 18,000 health care technicians and more than 74,000 in health care support.

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