Reps push tax credits for apprentice programs

Reps push tax credits for apprentice programs

Gainer said 26 students are on the program now, with a second wave of 26 set to arrive in January. All work Monday through Thursday, but then attend Harold Washington College, where they're obtaining associate degrees in business-related fields, she said.

"At the end of the year, they have a degree and a place in the company, and hopefully it will be a permanent place."

Gainer said participants were recruited through Harold Washington and groups such as the Urban League. Of the 26, 20 are Latino or African-American, and half are women, she said, all making around $30,000 a year, plus full fringe benefits and free tuition.

Kapos: Duncan, Gainer Talk Jobs

Kapos: Duncan, Gainer Talk Jobs

Gainer is behind the Aon Apprenticeship Program that’s connecting City Colleges students to office jobs. She hopes other companies will follow suit.

It’s not about having a fancy degree, she said. “But really, the skills required may just need someone who can be trained and who’s smart and ready to work.”

VIDEO: Delinquent Taxpayers Face Ballooning Interest Payments in Cook County

VIDEO: Delinquent Taxpayers Face Ballooning Interest Payments in Cook County

The sale takes place all week. Properties in townships including Oak Park, Orland, Bremen and Barrington were sold Monday. Other townships, like Palatine, Rich and Hyde Park will be added on Tuesday. Delinquent taxes throughout rest of the city will be sold off Wednesday and Thursday.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer says tax sale system goes back a generation, and should be scrapped.

Cook County to Sell Off Tax Delinquent Properties to Highest Bidders

Cook County to Sell Off Tax Delinquent Properties to Highest Bidders

The owners of tens of thousands of homes and properties in Cook County who’ve fallen behind on their taxes have only a couple more days to settle their debts – or they could wind up paying a lot more.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, 10th District, is working to build awareness about a property tax sale coming up on Monday where delinquent taxes can be sold off to private buyers, who can then charge property owners exorbitant interest rates until their debt is paid off.

How Irish Immigrants Got By in 1950s Chicago

How Irish Immigrants Got By in 1950s Chicago

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and with it reflections on immigration, like this Heidi Stevens piece about Bridget Gainer:

“The real story of St. Patrick’s Day is people were fleeing economic or religious persecution,” Gainer said. “Not long ago, it was ‘Irish need not apply,’ and there are a lot of parallels to what this country is going through right now.”

Gainer, who says her maternal grandmother left Ireland for the U.S., by herself, when she was 19, hopes Chicagoans (indeed, Americans) will spend part of Friday — and beyond — reflecting on the nation’s rich history of welcoming and benefiting from immigrants.

For St. Patrick's Day: Who's the modern version of Irish immigrants?

For St. Patrick's Day: Who's the modern version of Irish immigrants?

"If you just said, 'People left their country for economic opportunities, religious freedom and political security,' Ireland might not be the first place that comes to mind," Gainer said. "But if you back up 100 years, that's exactly why people left. They were starving to death."

It's worth remembering, Gainer said, amid the holiday revelry.

"You don't get to celebrate ancestors who came over during a famine and then ignore immigrants coming over for the same reasons," she said.

Hoping for 'adrenaline boost' in flagging neighborhoods, Cook County selling more than 4,000 vacant lots

Hoping for 'adrenaline boost' in flagging neighborhoods, Cook County selling more than 4,000 vacant lots

The land bank, which owns the properties' tax certificates, has removed the red tape for potential buyers by extinguishing back taxes, liens, unpaid city fines or utility bills.

"We're trying to give an adrenaline boost to development in these communities by eliminating barriers to getting access to the property," said Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, chairman of the 3-year-old land bank.

"The thing we wanted to address ... is to say, 'Look, I can't make someone develop the property, but I can remove the barriers to that decision,'" Gainer said.

Land bank wants to sell more than 4,400 vacant lots

Land bank wants to sell more than 4,400 vacant lots

More than 4,400 vacant lots in Chicago and the suburbs are going up for sale in an effort to attract development to areas that need it.

With the new offering of vacant lots to be announced today, "we're trying to speed up the process of empty land being put back to use," said Bridget Gainer, a Cook County commissioner who chairs the four-year-old Cook County Land Bank.

Kapos: Bridget Gainer and the power of sisters

Kapos: Bridget Gainer and the power of sisters

The women’s marches around the country were all about sisterhood, so it was a natural that Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer would march with all four of hers.

“Each one of my sisters chose a life and work that makes a difference in the world. And now that we’re all working mothers, raising our own kids, we make time to come out and fight for what we believe in, but also to be with each other,” Bridget Gainer told me. “This was not our first protest and it won’t be our last, but to be out there with these women, now truly my best friends, made me proud.”

Illinoisans march in Washington: Their stories

Illinoisans march in Washington: Their stories

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, a Democrat who lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, marched in a noisy, boisterous sea of humanity in the nation’s capital.

Gainer said she and her relatives decided once the D.C. march was being organized that they had to be here.

“As mothers, we need to teach our children you need to stand up for your rights,” Gainer said. “It’s not enough to just talk about it. You need to show up for people.”