2020 Illinois Senior Hall of FameCHICAGO – The Illinois Department on Aging recently announced the 2020 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame inductees, and State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is sending his congratulations to Vivian Mitchel of Morton Grove. 

“Inductees like Vivian Mitchel have made important contributions to our communities,” Villivalam said. “I want to congratulate Vivian for being this year’s Labor Force inductee and I want to thank her for her hard work and dedication to uplifting the spirits of those at the North Shore Senior Center by planning fun and engaging activities for everyone.” 

Vivian Mitchel has served in a variety of professional roles throughout her life. She spent years working at Oakton Community College, where she founded the Emeritus Program, an umbrella for multiple senior programs and services with the motto “Older people are healthier when they have a purpose.” She also worked tirelessly at the North Shore Senior Center planning and executing memorable day trips, play-acting classes, entertainment luncheons, and the Super Senior Day.  

The Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1994. It contains four separate categories that honor residents ages 65 and older for their personal achievements. Since its inception, 125 people, including the 2020 class, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The ceremony took place during the department’s one-day virtual symposium focused on COVID-19 and its impact on older adults and the Aging Network.

Category: Press Releases
small business tax creditSmall businesses in many industries are struggling and as a result, have no choice but to layoff valued employees. Entrepreneurs and independent contractors in the fields most impacted by the pandemic are also losing their businesses.  The COVID-19 pandemic is not relenting and this winter, more businesses may fail, causing more jobs to be lost. 
The Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) and Senator Ram Villivalam have worked to file legislation that will provide a tax incentive to businesses that retrain and hire new employees.  Technology, medical and manufacturing companies, and other small businesses may be in the position to train and hire unemployed individuals.  This proposed tax incentive will help small businesses transition potential employees into new fields.
"During this pandemic, the different levels of government have worked to provide assistance to those who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. While that has been helpful, it cannot and will not replace the desire and need for quality, high paying jobs. I am proud to be sponsoring legislation and working with the Small Business Advocacy Council to provide tax credits for small businesses that will retrain our residents who have been hit the hardest, including gig workers and independent contractors, to fill the jobs that are readily available," said Senator Villivalam.

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Category: Press Releases

supplier diversityCHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), Chair of the Special Committee on Supplier Diversity, participated in a virtual joint hearing with the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee, Senate Executive Committee, and Senate State Government Committee focused on how the state awards its contracts with businesses.

“Prioritizing equity and diversity in the businesses state government buys from and signs contracts with will help strengthen our economy,” Villivalam said. “This is crucial to the COVID-19 economic recovery process and to Illinois taxpayers. They’re placing their trust in us, so it’s our responsibility to make sure the policies and practices are fair and equitable.”

The committee discussed operational challenges in supplier diversity, the Business Enterprise Program and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise policies.

Villivalam believes that fairness and equity are key to expanding opportunities for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses across the state.

“We owe it to the people of Illinois to ensure every business has access to bid for state contracts and to sell products to the state,” Villivalam said. “It’s taken decades to move toward a more equitable process, and while it’s getting better, minority-and women-owned businesses still don’t receive a fair share of state business. We obviously need to do more.” 

Villivalam, the committee and stakeholders are committed to ensuring the procurement process becomes more diverse and equitable, including legislative changes, if needed.

Category: Press Releases

COVID testing siteCHICAGO – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Chicago, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to utilize free permanent and temporary COVID-19 testing sites. 

“We need to continue our strong testing operations to stay ahead of the virus and keep our positivity rates down,” Villivalam said. “It’s vital to get tested even if you don’t feel sick, because asymptomatic people are still capable of passing the virus on to others. Testing and contact tracing are keys to being able to continue to safely reopen our state and economy.” 

Individuals who believe they may have been exposed to the virus should get tested 5-7 days after exposure – even if they don’t feel sick. Those with symptoms resembling COVID-19 should also get tested even if they deem medical care unnecessary. 

“We have to stay vigilant,” Villivalam said. “Getting a test that is quick and safe will allow anyone who needs to travel, work away from home, or care for children or older adults to make sure they don’t have COVID-19.” 

There are currently nearly 300 testing sites across the state, including 11 state-operated community-based testing sites and 12 mobile testing teams. All state operated testing facilities are free. 

Senator Villivalam also took an active role in coordinating the placement of two free mobile testing centers in West Rogers Park and Morton Grove during the month of August. 

More information about testing locations, times, and requirements can be found at www.dph.illinois.gov/testing

Category: Press Releases

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