SPRINGFIELD – To offer students more options following graduation from high school, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) advanced two measures out of the Senate Wednesday.

“Many students are pushed toward college from a young age, but it’s important for them to know that there are other options if that’s not what they want to do,” Pacione-Zayas said. “From furthering education in the trades or going straight into a career, these young adults deserve to know what else is out there.”

Senate Bill 3990 requires school counseling services to include Career and Technical Education to help students consider secondary education plans following high school. Notably, provisions in Illinois’ Clean and Equitable Job Act will create new opportunities for technical jobs in the clean energy sector.

Additionally, Senate Bill 3988 passed the Senate, which lowers the age for paraprofessionals in Pre-K through eighth grade classrooms to 18 years old, rather than 19. There are currently 1,242 unfilled paraprofessional positions in school districts across the state, and this legislation would open the door to filling those positions with additional qualified candidates.

“Addressing the teacher and teacher aid shortage is crucial to getting students the individualized support they need,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Aside from giving recent graduates additional options for careers right out of school, this measure will help get more educators into classrooms.”

SB 3990 and SB 3988 passed the Senate Wednesday and moves to the House for further consideration.