Approximately 200 supporters attended the announcement on Aug. 10  to support the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act. Photo courtesy of Rep. Schakowsky's office.

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On Aug. 10,  Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of President Obama’s 18-member Fiscal Commission, announced she will introduce the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act, a plan to put over 2 million people to work for two years.  

 “It begins with this simple idea:  If we want to create jobs, then create jobs.  I’m not talking about “incentivizing” companies in the hopes they’ll hire someone, or cutting taxes for the so-called job creators who have done nothing of the sort.  My plan creates actual new jobs,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “The worst deficit this country faces, isn’t the budget deficit.  It’s the jobs deficit.  We need to get our people and our economy moving again.”

Rep. Schakowsky says, the legislation, if enacted, would create 2.2 million jobs that will meet critical needs to improve and strengthen communities: 

  • The School Improvement Corps would create 400,000 construction and 250,000 maintenance jobs by funding positions created by public school districts to do needed school rehabilitation improvements.
  • The Park Improvement Corps would create 100,000 jobs for youth between the ages of 16 and 25 through new funding to the Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service’s Public Lands Corps Act.  Young people would work on conservation projects on public lands include restoration and rehabilitation of natural, cultural, and historic resources.
  • The Student Jobs Corps would creates 250,000 more part-time, work study jobs for eligible college students through new funding for the Federal Work Study Program.
  • The Neighborhood Heroes Corps would hire 300,000 teachers, 40,000 new police officers, and 12,000 firefighters.
  • The Health Corps would hire at least 40,000 health care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and health care workers to expand access in underserved rural and urban areas.
  • The Child Care Corps would create 100,000 jobs in early childhood care and education through additional funding for Early Head Start.
  • The Community Corps would hire 750,000 individuals to do needed work in our communities, including housing rehab, weatherization, recycling, and rural conservation.  

“Although we are continuing to see signs of economic recovery, it’s difficult for the average person to see because jobs remain at a premium,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley. “This bill would help leverage the work Illinois is doing through the Workforce Investment Act to expand the pipeline of skilled workers who could quickly take advantage of these new job opportunities.” 

“The Jobs Corps as proposed by Congresswoman Schakowsky will give the local governments the opportunity to put our residents back to work on greatly needed projects meaningful to our communities, such as public safety (police, fire, health, public works, and mental health),” said Mayor George Van Dusen of Skokie. “Fulfilling these critical needs will make our communities safer, give a critical lift to the economy, and provide residents with much needed employment opportunities.”

The legislation would give the unemployed priority for jobs, particularly those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits (the “99ers”), and veterans. The bill allocates funding and jobs among states, with targeting based on high unemployment and need. The bill also ensures that jobs do not undercut the rights of other workers, lower wages, displace current workers or take business from small/local businesses, said Rep. Schakowsky’s office. 

The $227 billion cost of the bill ($113.5 billion over each of two years) can be fully paid for through separate legislation and by creating higher tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and eliminating subsidies for Big Oil and tax loop holes for corporations that send American jobs overseas, said Rep. Schakowsky.