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KANKAKEE – As small businesses face financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging business owners to apply for a Business Interruption Grant (BIG). 

“Small businesses form the core of our community, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for some to survive,” Joyce said. “I encourage folks that have suffered significant losses to apply for aid through the BIG program to help them through these challenging times.” 

In this round of grants, $220 million will be allocated to provide relief for all types of small businesses. Funding can be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities and other operational costs.

The BIG program is a $636 million program created to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. The program uses federal funds provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses.
During its first round of funding earlier this year, the program granted more than $49 million to small businesses across the state. Businesses in Will and Kankakee Counties were awarded a combined $420,000 during the first round.

“Even though this funding is available to businesses, it is equally as important to shop local,” Joyce said. “When you buy from small businesses, you’re also supporting jobs and neighbors in our community.”
Applications for the BIG program are open and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria. Businesses in Region 7 that submit an application will be given priority to ensure they receive the support they need to cope with current mitigation efforts.

Category: Press Releases

clean energy 082120JOLIET – To transition Illinois to a 100 percent clean energy economy, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) lent his support to the Climate Jobs Illinois (CJI) 10-point plan initiative, which will create thousands of jobs while reducing the state’s carbon emissions.

“With this plan as a starting point, Illinois moves one step closer toward a clean energy future,” said Joyce, a member of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  “I look forward to continuing to work with the coalition to create more jobs as our state transitions to a clean energy economy.”

The CJI plan comprises four main sectors: clean power generation; just transition and inclusion; building efficiency; and transportation. The plan outlines how the state can invest at scale in clean-energy infrastructure to maximize emissions reductions that will address the climate crisis while creating or sustaining thousands of union jobs and apprentice programs, particularly in areas hit hard by the economic crisis.

Currently, there are 142 coal, oil, gas and nuclear plants operating in Illinois, employing 45,000 workers and providing billions of dollars in tax revenue to local communities. With a shift to 100 percent clean energy, the CJI plan calls on the state to properly fund a just transition for Illinois workers and communities impacted by the shift to a 100 percent clean energy economy, including tax revenue replacement for communities where closures may occur, as well as wage and benefit support and retraining for displaced workers.

“We have to continue to stand up for our working class and ensure these folks have a voice,” Joyce said. “Now is the time to build on the progress we’ve made, especially for those who have been impacted by COVID-19 crisis.”

To read CJI’s full 10-point proposal, visit

Category: Press Releases

1140 female business owners

PARK FOREST - In celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging residents to nominate local female business owners to recognize for their leadership and service to residents.

“This is a great time to celebrate the growth and accomplishments of female entrepreneurs, as well as raise awareness of the importance of women-owned businesses,” Joyce said. “My goal this month is to shine a spotlight on those businesses and business owners.”

Nominations can be submitted to Sen. Joyce’s office by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and providing a name, business title and reason for recognition.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is hosting a series of webinars specifically targeted to female small business owners to offer support and resources for success. For more information, visit DCEO’s website.

“As the holiday season nears, supporting small businesses is a terrific way to find unique gifts while supporting our local economy,” Joyce said.

Category: Press Releases

11122019CM0390PARK FOREST – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced the Godley Public Water District will receive a $500,000 grant to improve water security for Will and Grundy Counties under this year’s state budget for capital infrastructure improvements. 

“Improving our water infrastructure improves the quality of life and public health in our communities,” Joyce said. “I am proud to support these investments as they demonstrate our continued commitment and effort to modernize our local water resources.”

This funding puts the Water District on track to construct a water intake from the Kankakee River to improve water reliability and quality for the entire region.

The Water District secured a permit to construct a water withdrawal from the Kankakee River in 2019.  The withdrawal permit represents the first step of securing a reliable source of water. The next steps which are set out in the permit are:

  1. Gain approval of the plan to protect the fish and mussel population that may be impacted by construction of the intake;
  2. Gain approval of detailed engineering plans for the withdrawal; and
  3. Construct the withdrawal.

The Water District has fully funded step one and expects to receive plan approval soon. Joe Cosgrove, manager of the Godley Public Water District, says the grant will help fund the engineering, planning and other services needed to complete step two.

“The Water District has strived to secure a reliable source of safe, plentiful and affordable water for people living in and to support economic growth of the planning area,” said Cosgrove. “This will allow the Water District to capitalize a decades-long effort to construct and share this vital source of water.”

Joyce advocated for the project during budget negotiations last spring.

Category: Press Releases

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