CHICAGO (CBS) — The Quinn administration has expanded a job training program that helps people get jobs in the construction industry, on the heels of news the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent in June, its lowest level in nearly six years.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Gov. Pat Quinn said he has instructed the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Toll Highway Authority to use the state’s special training program on as many road projects as possible.

“It’s exceptionally important to make sure that those … who want to work in construction get the kind of training that they need, in order to have the skills to do the job for the people,” Quinn said.

The Employ Illinois program links job seekers with training programs, and provides incentives to contractors who hire program graduates.

“This program Employ Illinois does provide to our contractors who are doing work all across Illinois on our highways and our tollways – our bridges and so on – we’re giving the contractors an increase; now it’s going to be a $15 an hour stipend to the contractors who hire graduates from this program,” Quinn said.

The expansion came the same day the state was touting the sharpest three-month drop in unemployment in Illinois history.

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