HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – A recent report has found that automation will pose a risk to 900,000 jobs in the state of Illinois. In response, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Revered Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL) have introduced the Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act.

 It has been estimated that nearly 50 percent of jobs in the United States could be at risk due to automation.  The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these trends, with one recent study by the World Economic Forum indicating that roughly 40 percent of current workers will require reskilling as a result of future automation.  This proposed legislation will support training programs to ensure workers are not left behind as automation accelerates.

“We’re desperately in need of a new workforce,” says Senator Durbin. “The question is, do we have people who are trained and ready to go to work and make good salaries in these fields; and the answer is, not as much as we should be.” He says that although affordable training is available in some parts of Illinois, more is needed for multiple industries.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Senator Durbin also addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee’s planned hearing on book bans that’s scheduled for next week. “I’m really concerned with this movement across the United States to ban books; when you look back at history the governments that start banning books are on their way to authoritarian regimes that aren’t very similar to America’s democracy.” Senator Durbin says the decision to moderate content in libraries should be in the hands of the parents and individuals who use the libraries.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker had signed legislation into law back in June that prohibits book bans. It also pulls funding from libraries that currently prohibits books and requires libraries across the state to adopt a bill of rights that states that books will not be banned based on political or personal reasons. That bill will go into effect on January 1.

When questioned about age in politics, especially in regards to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s recent freeze-up, Durbin says that “voters and the American public have the right to ask whether or not I’m up to the job or anyone is up to the job physically and mentally”, but noted that when he spoke to Senator McConnell, he confirmed that he is in good health.