Dick Durbin Visits McHenry County – Part 2

Senator Dick Durbin at NASA Education in Crystal Lake.

Wednesday, United States Senator Dick Durbin came to McHenry County.

He met with employees of NASA Education and related companies at President John Blanchard’s headquarters on Route 31 in Prairie Grove.

The first part of the visit was chronicled here yesterday.

“Last year was a disaster,” the number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate declared, “but for one thing–President Obama jobs bill on helping Veterans.

“Is there any indication that jobs bill has changed anything?” he asked.

“No,” Blanchard replied.

He said hadn’t seen any effect, pointing out that subsidizing a Veterans salary isn’t the problem.

“They can get a job.

John Blanchard answers one of Senator Dick Durbin's questions.

“They just can’t hold a job,” Blanchard explained.

They need to get out of “their homelessness” and get their “responsibility back.”

“Who’s going to hire those with a criminal background?” Blanchard asked.

State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), who arrived after the meeting began, observed that unemployment in McHenry County is above the state average.

NASA Education’s Amy Johnson pointed out that Veterans don’t always want to go to work and have doctor’s appointments that disrupt production schedules.

She said there was a molding firm in Algonquin whose management understood and made allowances for the various problems.

When Durbin asked the wages people helped in their job hunting by NASA Education, Johnson said they ranged from minimum wage to $16-17 an hour at Olson Electric.

Blanchard brought up a problem that Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face.

State Rep. Jack Franks.

“They have difficulty getting Illinois certificates.”

He mentioned nurses and licenses for truck drivers (CDL’s or Commercial Drivers Licenses) especially.

Franks suggested that legislation might be needed to establish reciprocity between Illinois licensing and skills in the Armed Forces.

“There ought to be an equivalency test,” Durbin agreed.

“Amy, you put your finger on it. A lot of them are facing personal issues,” the Senator continued.

What’s needed, Blanchard said was to

  • get them safe
  • get them clean
  • get them going in a different direction

Durbin then launched on a severe critique of private trade schools.

He said he would be holding a Chicago hearing on the subject in about two weeks.

He charged that the for-profit schools were enticing Veterans to enroll using Federal Pell Grants to pay tuition.

Yet, he said, the Federal government is not holding them responsible for educational or job placement results.

He used the phrase “fly by night operation.”

“We should never be giving Pell Grants.”

Rep. Franks agreed, suggesting the results of state financial  assistance be examined as well.

Jack Franks

Dick Durbin

Durbin focused on culinary schools in which TV cooking shows were inspiring people to enroll.

The private schools, he pointed out were self-accrediting.

Not everything was serious, however.

I got a couple of good shots of Durbin and Franks laughing.


Dick Durbin Visits McHenry County – Part 2 — 3 Comments

  1. “Who’s going to hire those with a criminal background?” Blanchard asked.

    Just off the top of my head- the company I work for, the company that built the industrial park Mr. Blanchard is sitting in, the huge steel processing facility just downhill from Mr. Blanchard, and a number of businesses within 2 miles of Mr. Blanchard’s desk… they do.

    A better question for Mr. Blanchad to ask himself is ‘who is going to hire system administrators’?

  2. Dick Durbin is a tool. Him and Harry Reid are ruining..excuse me, running the worst ‘do-nothing’ Senate in history.

    The media likes to accuse the Republican run House as the ‘do-nothing’ Congress…that is misleading.

    The House has passed MANY jobs bills in 2011 that never saw a vote in the Senate.

    The political gamesmanship by Harry-Dick has got America by the cojones.

  3. I would like to talk with anybody who is in charge of the investigation of John Blanchard I worked for John from appr. january 2006- feburary 2009 John and I became very close and I would tink you might find somethings that I know interesting… Ronald Peter Taucher 708-341-1052

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