Representative Halpin understands the needs of the agricultural industry.
The budget impasse that Illinois grappled with for over two years had a devastating impact, no matter where you lived in our state. With education programs in particular being hit hard, it has been difficult for agriculture educators in Illinois to meet their goals of educating our students for an ever-changing agricultural industry. The budget impasse also made it difficult to recruit and retain agriculture education teachers in our urban and rural districts. The Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers would like to thank Representative Mike Halpin for standing up for agriculture education. Representative Halpin understands the needs of the agricultural industry. With approximately one in four jobs being generated by agriculture in Illinois, the agricultural industry continues to be affected by an agriculture education teacher shortage. Last year, four-year agriculture education programs in Illinois graduated just over 20 students. Yet, agriculture education programs across our state had approximately 80 openings. The agriculture education teacher shortage continues to affect the quality of education in rural and urban school districts. This is why it is so important that Representative Halpin supported funding for support programs and continuing education for agriculture education teachers as well as funding which will ensure that these jobs are competitive with other jobs in the agricultural industry. Thankfully, State Representative Mike Halpin took the tough votes necessary to enact a full budget because he understood the importance of training our agricultural leaders of tomorrow. We cannot forget the economic impact of our agriculture industry. In order for the agricultural industry and employers to succeed in Illinois, we need to make sure that our workforce of today and of tomorrow is trained and well-prepared to meet the needs the agricultural industry. Thank you Representative Halpin for ensuring that Illinois remains a leader in agriculture education and the agricultural industry.