Illinois extends jobs for 26,000, but thousands more Americans could get pink slips


For many Americans, today is a sad day. For 240,000 people, it might just be their last day on the job. Why?  They're employed through the TANF emergency fund - a government subsidized jobs program that's put 26,000 people to work in our state. Governor Pat Quinn announced Tuesday that he'll use state funding to extend the program in Illinois another two months, but unless Congress acts, prairie state workers soon could be getting their pink slips.

Workers held a rally Wednesday at Daley Plaza, attended by Quinn, where they spoke in support of Put Illinois to Work. The program pays low-income people to work at local businesses, subsidizing their wages. Listen to one single mom talk about her experience on the job:

The emergency fund has been one program that both social welfare advocates and members of the business community have supported. Debra Thompson, executive director of GenTech, a company that teaches young people to use technology to get jobs, says her business wouldn't have survived the recession without Put Illinois to Work.

Finally, the governor shared why he used $75 million of his discretionary funding to extend the program for two more months. That money will maintain the program's 26,000 jobs through Nov. 30.

But a Democratic aide told Huffington Post Tuesday that the TANF emergency fund was "dead in the water." Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin tried to add a three month extension, but the move was blocked by Republicans who said the program was not "sound welfare policy."

What's more "sound" than an actual job? I bet there will be 240,000 Americans asking that same question by the end of the workday.

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