September 09, 2023

At Parkland College, Duckworth Highlights Efforts to Boost Workforce Development and Aviation Training


[CHAMPAIGN, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with Parkland College leaders, including President Pamela Lau, to discuss her work to help create good-paying, local jobs and stronger support systems for students attending Illinois colleges, including Veteran students. Duckworth, a pilot and member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) as well as Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation, also discussed the College’s Institute of Aviation and the bipartisan Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act she helped introduce. The bill would help address the aviation workforce shortages by boosting resources to help recruit and train pilots, aviation manufacturing workers and mechanics. Photos are available here.

“Serving the people of Illinois provides me the privilege of advocating for the bright minds that attend our state’s colleges and universities as well as working to ensure they have what they need for success,” Duckworth said. “It was great to meet with Parkland College officials about what we can do to support the needs of Illinois students, including those who served, while helping create more good-paying, local jobs and boosting aviation training. Investing in workforce development—and in students—is key to uplifting our state and building a better future.”

Duckworth has continuously worked to increase federal support for higher education and workforce development. The Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act was included in the Senate FAA reauthorization bill and would provide grants for eligible projects to support the education and recruitment of pilots, aviation maintenance workers, as well as the aviation manufacturing workforce of the future.

The FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which the Senator voted in favor of and secured several provisions in, includes several wins for more accessible higher education, including $1.2 billion for the TRIO program, which helps over 800,000 low-income first-generation students get into college and succeed while they’re there. For the 2023-24 school year, the maximum Pell Grant award will increase by $500 or 7.2 percent to $7,395, thanks to the omnibus. This is the largest increase in the maximum Pell grant award since the 2009-10 school year. The omnibus also includes $75 million, an increase of $10 million, for the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) program, which aligns with Duckworth’s CCAMPIS Reauthorization Act, legislation to further increase access to affordable and convenient childcare options for student parents.