SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is set to ensure social service professionals receive student loan repayment assistance to encourage more people to enter this vital field through SB 3925.
“Social service workers must hold specialized academic degrees to better serve vulnerable communities, and while this requirement is necessary, it comes with significant financial sacrifices for workers,” said Senator Fine. “Breaking down the barriers for qualified people to enter this field is essential.”
Employees in the human services industry include social workers, youth service providers, social workers, and many other positions that specialize in working with marginalized communities. However, the industry is experiencing a shortage of employees due to a number of financial barriers. Many of these professions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. Because salaries in this field tend to be less generous than in the private sector, paying off student loans can be difficult and discourage people from entering the field.
Senator Fine’s bill encourages students to enter this rewarding and essential workforce by offering student loan repayment plans to employees of community social service agencies. The legislation combats the critical shortage of workers for the industry and provides assistance to many current social service workers, many of whom are women and people of color.
“Social service workers are heroes who provide vital care to some of our most at-risk communities,” said Senator Fine. “Providing student loan repayment assistance is the least we can do to support these brave workers. »
Senate Bill 3925 passed the Senate on Thursday. It is now sent back to the House for further consideration.