March 19, 2021
Fry Foundation Grantee The Chicago Jobs Council Works on Anti-Discrimination Policies
Fry Foundation grantee The Chicago Jobs Council (CJC) actively works at the intersection of policy and practice to reform systems, strengthen organizations, and support frontline professionals. Below are examples of the types of anti-discrimination policies that CJC has worked on. Both have been approved by the Illinois General Assembly and as of late January 2021 are waiting for Governor Pritzker’s signature:
Driver’s License Suspensions: Over 50,000 Illinois licenses are suspended each year because drivers can’t pay tickets, fines, or fees, most of which are not related to unsafe driving (e.g. parking tickets). In Illinois, CJC found that 50% of people who have had their license suspended have lost their job. The impact is disproportionate. Black and Latinx drivers are more likely than white drivers to be ticketed, stopped by the police, to be fined or arrested for traffic offenses, and to suffer undue fines or incarceration. This results in thousands of individuals not being able to go to work and results in a cyclical process: if you can’t work, you can’t pay and if you can’t pay, you can’t work. CJC has been working with its members and organizational partners to end this practice for the last five years and has had some success. Specifically, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3653 that ends license suspension for automated speed and red light camera tickets and restores licenses for unpaid traffic tickets.
Developmental Education Reform Act: Sixty thousand students across Illinois are placed into developmental education at public universities and community colleges annually. These are non-credit classes in English and math that are often paid for using limited financial aid resources. Black and Latinx students are more likely to be placed into non-credit developmental education when enrolling in college and are less likely to graduate when they start in developmental education classes.
- Seventy-one percent of Black community college students are placed in developmental education, and less than 9% will graduate.
- Sixty-two percent of Latinx community college students are placed in developmental education, and less than 16% will graduate.
The Developmental Education Reform Act HB2170 requires institutions to look at a fuller picture of a student’s college readiness by considering their grade point average – a better predictor of college success – rather than solely relying on college entrance assessments. The act also requires public universities and colleges to submit plans for improving developmental education to maximize the likelihood that a student will pass a college-level math or English course within two semesters.