fine powerfulSPRINGFIELD –State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is one step closer to ensuring human services professionals are provided student loan repayment assistance to encourage more people to enter this essential field through SB 3925.

“Employees in human services are required to have specialized college degrees to best serve vulnerable communities, and while this requirement is necessary, it comes with large financial sacrifices for workers,” Senator Fine said. “It is essential to break down barriers for qualified people to enter this field.”

Employees in the human services industry include welfare caseworkers, youth service providers, social workers, and many other positions specializing in working with marginalized communities. However, the industry is experiencing a shortage in 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 challenging and discourage people from entering the field.

Senator Fine’s legislation encourages students to enter this rewarding and essential workforce by providing student loan repayment plans for employees of community-based human services agencies. The legislation combats the critical worker shortage for the industry and provides assistance to many current human services workers, many of whom are women and people of color.

“Human services workers are heroes providing vital care for some of our most at-risk communities,” Senator Fine said. “Offering student loan repayment assistance is the least we can do to support these brave workers.”

Senate Bill 3925 passed the Senate Thursday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.