Budzinski Announces $500,000 for Richland Community College 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) announced that Richland Community College will be receiving $500,000 in federal funding. The funding will be used by Richland Community College to house students entering programs at the EV Workforce Academy, Academy and Nursing Program, allowing for the provision of new workforce training programs that will close the skills gap in Illinois.

“I’m proud to have worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a federal spending package that includes $500,000 in federal funding for the EnRich program at Richland Community College,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “This highly successful program is providing students with the skill they need to pursue good-paying jobs in our region, and these funds will help improve access to housing for these students. I look forward to visiting Richland Community College in the coming months to celebrate this project with our community.”

“Richland Community College is extremely excited to receive federal support for EnRich, a program with a ninety percent graduation rate that has placed 2,800 adults into employment. These funds will assist EnRich in continuing to serve the underserved. Overall, ninety-one percent of EnRich’s graduates are from underrepresented groups and seventy-eight percent are Black, demonstrating our continued commitment to equity and strengthening our community,” said Richland Community College President Cristobal Valdez.

The funding was requested by Congresswoman Budzinski during the House of Representatives’ Community Project Funding process and signed into law this weekend in a bipartisan government funding bill. In total, Congresswoman Budzinski secured $136.1 million for projects throughout Illinois’ 13th Congressional District in the package.

The government funding package signed into law over the weekend included six of 12 appropriations bills that need to be passed by March 22nd in order to fully fund the federal government. Budzinski helped to pass the package in the House of Representatives last week. 

In addition to the projects listed above, the legislation also included a bipartisan $120 million Community Project Funding request from U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13), Eric Sorensen (D-IL-17), Darin LaHood (R-IL-16), Sam Graves (R-MO-06) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-03) to upgrade locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Upgrading locks and dams will reduce traffic delays along waterways and increase shipping capacity by constructing new 1,200-foot locks — improving safety, efficiency and getting agricultural goods to the global market more quickly.

$120,000,000 for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Project (NESP) on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers

The funding will be used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for several Mississippi River improvement efforts, including navigation improvements and aquatic ecosystem restoration, ensuring the economic and environmental sustainability of the waterway.

“IL Corn and the farmers we represent are elated to see $120,000,000 allocated for Upper Mississippi River Basin waterways projects. Modernizing this infrastructure will make a significant difference for Illinois farmers competitiveness in a global marketplace and will invest in our downstate Illinois communities. This is important work for our state, and we are very grateful for Congresswoman Budzinski’s request to include this funding in the final appropriations bill,” said Dave Rylander, ICGA President and farmer from Victoria, IL.

“We’re very thankful to Rep. Budzinski for her leadership by achieving this funding. NESP will improve both the nation’s inland waterway supply chain and the environmental health of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers,” said Tracy Zea, President/CEO of Waterways Council, Inc.

“The Illinois Soybean Growers commend the further funding of the NESP program in the FY24 Energy and Water appropriations package. The continued support by Rep. Budzinski and members of the Illinois delegation highlight the importance of the NESP program to maintain a reliable and cost-effective transportation system for Illinois exports. The program also strikes an important note balancing the need to maintain navigation and protect ecosystems along the Illinois waterway. We look forward to continued advancement of the NESP program and progress toward the construction of new 1200-foot lock chambers on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers,” said Director of Government Relations & Strategy for the Illinois Soybean Association Andrew Larson. 

The legislation signed by President Biden also included a number of funding priorities Congresswoman Budzinski championed during the House of Representatives’ appropriations process:

Increased funding for veterans: The bipartisan government funding bill ensures that veterans receive the compensation and benefits that they have earned with increased investments in health care, including targeted investments that support caregivers and advance mental health care, homelessness assistance and improved access to care. By identifying and advocating for local veterans’ needs during the appropriations process, Congresswoman Budzinski helped to secure the following resources: 

  • Full funding for the Toxic Exposures Fund (Honoring Our PACT Act) for fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025.
  • An additional $2.3 billion for veterans’ mental health care.
  • An additional $556 million for veterans’ caregivers in line with the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act. Congresswoman Budzinski has cosponsored the legislation and voted for it to pass the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the full House of Representatives. 
  • An additional $418 million for veteran homelessness prevention programs in line with the Healthy Foundations for Homeless Veterans Act and the Return Home to Housing Act which Congresswoman Budzinski has cosponsored. 
  • An additional $60.6 million in funding requested by Congresswoman Budzinski for veterans’ suicide prevention outreach initiatives. 
  • An additional $17 million in funding requested by Congresswoman Budzinski for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Medical and Prosthetic Research Program. 
  • An additional $5 million for rural health care in line with the Driver Reimbursement Increase for Veteran Equity (DRIVE) Act which Congresswoman Budzinski has cosponsored. 

Increased funding for infrastructure, housing and rural development: The bipartisan government funding bill makes strong investments in programs that fund water system improvements, housing access, law enforcement and energy upgrades that greatly benefit communities in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. By identifying and advocating for local infrastructure, housing and rural development needs during the appropriations process, Congresswoman Budzinski helped to secure the following resources:

Increased funding for nutrition programs: The bipartisan government funding bill includes additional resources for nutrition programs that help to feed hungry families in Central and Southern Illinois and across the country. By identifying and advocating for the needs of local families during the appropriations process, Congresswoman Budzinski helped to secure the following resources:

  • An additional $1.3 billion for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program that served 6.6 million women, infants and children in fiscal year 2023. This increase in funding is in line with a request made by Congresswoman Budzinski and her colleagues for additional support. 
  • Full funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which served more than 42 million people in 2023. Budzinski has advocated extensively for the program on the House Committee on Agriculture and through her Farm Bill 101 initiative
  • An additional $4.7 billion in funding for school meals for all K-12 students through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) within the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Budzinski advocated for additional school meal funding during the 2023 appropriations process.


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