7/21/20 - A Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: Governor Pritzker and Secretary Hou Highlighting the IDHS Summer Youth Program and Illinois' 2020 Census Efforts

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Dear Partners,

I am pleased to share that over the past week, Governor Pritzker joined me, local leaders and partners in Rockford, Waukegan, Urbana and East St. Louis to highlight the success of the IDHS Summer Youth Employment Program (C-SYEP). We also highlighted the successful and ongoing efforts regarding the 2020 U.S. Census, to ensure that everyone in Illinois is counted.

The C-SYEP program will employ 2,400 young adults statewide through August 2020, helping them train for and find work amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The State has dedicated $9.3 million to support this important initiative.

IDHS exists to assist residents who are in the greatest need and who have not had access to resources and opportunities. In response to COVID-19, we have deployed additional resources to protect and support people who need it most, and to reach marginalized communities during an extremely difficult time.

Young people make up 24% of the overall workforce employed in industries at the highest risk of closure due to COVID-19 and many of Illinois' young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face significant challenges to securing employment.

For the Census, Illinois is at a 66.9% response thus far, is #8 in the country for response rate and the most populous state in the top 10. Chicago's current response rate is also leading all cities in the country with a population of 2 million or more. However, with the deadline for responses extended until October 31st, we can and will do more, to ensure that everyone-particularly our hard-to-count populations--are counted. We appreciate your continuing efforts and support to ensure that Illinois maintains maximum federal resources and representation.

I am energized by this successful summer program and the public events outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. Much has been accomplished, but there is also much work ahead.


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS