The high demand for engineers
Illinois' infrastructure is a reflection of the innovation and ingenuity of our great state. From the towering bridges over the Mississippi River to the roads and rail lines that tie our nation together, Illinois' richest resources lie in the strength of structures designed by engineers.
At this moment, Gov. Pritzker's Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan and the Illinois Tollway's Move Illinois capital program are improving on and investing in our state's infrastructure to ensure Illinois remains the nation's transportation infrastructure hub for decades to come. Together, these investments are already creating an increasing demand for skilled engineers that the industry has not seen in recent memory.
Unfortunately, in Illinois and throughout the country, the engineering field is experiencing an alarming trend. Nationally, 52% of engineering firms are having difficulty filling open positions with qualified workers. This comes at a time when engineering jobs are projected to grow steadily over the next decade to meet the nation's rapidly increasing infrastructure needs.
That's why the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC Illinois) has enlisted public and private partners to join forces in promoting the tremendous opportunities that a career in engineering presents to students.
For a young person looking to make a difference, a career in engineering provides a lifelong path of opportunity. Ten of the seventeen highest paying careers in the country are in the engineering field with most not requiring advanced degrees.
Through this campaign, ACEC Illinois has organized resources outlining the various opportunities in the engineering field, made available to educators across Illinois as they seek ways to showcase career opportunities to students.
As the state of Illinois' largest infrastructure agencies, IDOT and the Illinois Tollway are proud to join the engineering community in this important effort to develop the next generation of engineers right here in Illinois.
Omer Osman, Illinois Transportation Secretary
José Alvarez, Illinois Tollway Executive Director
Put price on carbon in reconciliation bill
Twenty years ago, in response to the horror of 9/11, Americans became unified over the need to address terrorism. Today we face a number of challenges, including the COVID crisis, climate change and an uneven economy. Instead of coming together to overcome these challenges, we find ourselves fighting each other. We can't seem to agree on what the problem is, and we struggle to make progress because solutions are couched as political hard lines.
When it comes to climate change, there is one solution that actually works and has bipartisan support. Placing a slowly rising price on carbon fuels at their source and returning revenue to consumers has been shown by numerous studies to be effective in reducing our use of fossil fuels without hurting the economy.
Such an option is currently being discussed in the Senate budget reconciliation process. This approach avoids delays and court challenges associated with regulations and standards and is preferred by conservatives because it doesn't interfere with individual choices.
As we live through increasingly severe storms, floods, fires, and droughts we can no longer afford to ignore climate change. All Americans are affected regardless of where we live, and we need to come together in support of an effective, easily understood and easily implemented solution. Please let Senators Durbin and Duckworth and your Congressional Representative know that you support carbon pricing as a key part of the budget reconciliation process.
Getting climate right
The recent op-ed signed by 22 Illinois economists, was spot on. The only way we're going to bring down emissions fast enough to save the planet is by taxing carbon pollution at the source. Introducing the tax gradually, increasing it every year, will give investors and consumers alike time to get used to the idea.
And returning the revenue in equal shares to taxpayers as a monthly cashback dividend is brilliant: It makes sure the changes in our energy systems don't come on the backs of middle- and low-income families, and it ensures that the tax remains popular for as long as it is needed.