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Not even lip service

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017

* Press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner [yesterday] toured II-VI EpiWorks and reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to fostering innovation and technology in Illinois.

“EpiWorks started at the University of Illinois, and stayed here. Thank you for investing in Illinois, for believing in Illinois and for showing others what can happen here. You are the future and a model for Illinois’ economic recovery,” said Governor Rauner. “Illinois has every resource to be an economic power and lead the nation—except good government. We have got to advocate for real change that fosters innovation and creates good paying jobs.”

As part of his tour, Governor Rauner discussed the administration’s plans to change the broken system in Illinois. The administration is committed to increasing job growth and creating high quality jobs across all sectors to Illinois by making Illinois competitive. One goal is to improve the schools in Illinois including expanding alternative options like apprenticeship programs. The administration has also created the Illinois Competitiveness Council to assist businesses who want to start, expand or stay in Illinois.

EpiWorks is a successful high-tech company founded by Quesnell Hartmann and David Ahmari, along with their University of Illinois faculty advisor, Gregory Stillman in 1997. Hartmann and Ahmari are world renowned experts who have successfully parlayed their expertise to create a thriving semiconductor fabrication company. EpiWorks has maintained a goal to help build a critical mass so UIUC would be a hub for not just semiconductor research, but also for commercialization and production.

There is just so much wrong with this release.

* First, EpiWorks was started at a University of Illinois incubator. One of the founders said in December the company plans to hire 80 employees over three years. It needs engineering and production personnel for its compound semiconductor epitaxial wafer facility.

So, if EpiWorks is the “future and a model for Illinois’ economic recovery,” as the governor says in his release, and those entrepreneurs need high-quality, well-educated workers, then why the heck are we zapping universities in this state?

Look, “expanding alternative options like apprenticeship programs” and creating a Competitiveness Council to help businesses are fine and dandy. But if we want more of these sorts of high tech start-ups, then the best thing we can do is provide them with a higher education system that is second to none, right?

Now, read that press release again and see if you can find any mention of doing that. You didn’t see it? OK, now look for any reference to higher education at all except for a few UIUC name-checks. Nothing?

* Meanwhile, Moody’s announced this week that it could be whacking the U of I’s credit rating in a few months, along with every other public university. But Champaign-area reporters asked only one question of the governor when he did his EpiWorks visit yesterday: “Do you think five weeks is going to be enough to agree on a budget and is bad money better than no money at all?” Click here to listen.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments »
  1. - Annoin' - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    And did you notice this venture began 20 years ago?
    He talked about how much he loved U of I last week and torpedoed the U of I 5 year fundin’ plan by sayin’ it was unconstitutional. What poachin’?


  2. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    “Illinois has every resource to be an economic power and lead the nation—except good government.”

    If only there were a written document somewhere that provides for a system of checks and balances and step-by-step process that corrals various factions and interests together and, more or less, could be the basis of good government.

    If only.


  3. - Scamp640 - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    And just so you can witness the nation-wide disdain Republicans have for higher education, note that the Republican Governor from New Mexico just vetoed their higher education budget to attain political goals.

    http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Next-Higher-Ed-Funding/239826?cid=wcontentlist_hp_latest

    Its almost as though Republican Governors are working in lock step across the nation with guidance from some ultra-conservative billionaire industrialists to dismantle “public goods” for private gain. But I am probably just being paranoid.


  4. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    Media fail. IL media has no idea how to offer a counter-narrative to the Governor’s money and lying.

    Public universities are a utility and are valuable state property. The people of this state are losing a valuable resource.


  5. - illini - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    Rich has been good to provide excellent content for our comments these past two days regarding Higher Education in Illinois. And I have tried to add to the discussion.

    I asked yesterday if we would see yet another story today and here we go.

    What will the news about Higher Ed be tomorrow?

    And if BVR was being at all serious he would make certain that UIUC would get over $750 million that it is currently owed and agree to its proposed 5 year plan.

    I won’t hold my breath.


  6. - Earnest - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:41 am:

    >We have got to advocate for real change that fosters innovation and creates good paying jobs.”

    Question: you can substitute any TA item for the words “real change.” Which one helps the U of I most over the next decade?


  7. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    Agreed, Illini.

    Thanks, Rich, for covering this.

    I wish the media was following this in a more sophisticated way.

    But I see Bears draft picks are top of Sun Times headlines, so priorities I guess.


  8. - Rogue Roni - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    If it doesn’t involve coal mines or bringing our manufacturing jobs back from China or Mexico it’s not on the GOPs radar


  9. - filmmaker prof - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    And you expected more from Champaign media? Come on Rich. They’re busy trying to get their questions ready for Lovie Smith.


  10. - Rabid - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    A non union apprenticeship program doesn’t make you a journeyman


  11. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    Only thing missing is a Madigan connection.


  12. - RNUG - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    == “Illinois has every resource to be an economic power and lead the nation—except good government. ==

    This quote tells you everything you need to know about Rauner. Either he isn’t part of the government, or he is unable to recognize he is. Talk about a cognitive disconnect!


  13. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    RNUG, well said.


  14. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    RNUG, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actual malice, not cognitive dissonance.

    You don’t use the power of the governor’s office for more than two years to advance this destruction unless it’s the plan.

    I don’t understand his personal motivation, but the evidence from his actions combined with his chronic lying and obfuscation is overwhelming.


  15. - Lech W - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    Look the state is a wreck financially that is a well-known fact here, so no need to offer illustrations. The Gov was duly elected in 2014 and he has certain ideas on how to fix things in Illinois. Call It the Turn around Agendas or grand bargain or chopped liver, it is a pro-growth, cost containment, tax reform, term limits framework. Now you may not like his plan or his tactics but they sure as heck are well known and one can easily discern his priorities on union contracts, pension reform ect. Like any politician, he can be moved from his beliefs if he sees good faith bargaining on the other side. Therefore, instead of cursing the darkness his opponents could put pressure on state Gov employee unions and Dem legislative leaders to attempt compromise with the Gov rather than vilifying him. Otherwise just dig in and try to wrest the Governorship from him in 2018.


  16. - Valvino - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    Blah, Blah, Blah. Doesn’t it get old saying the same rhetoric and not know what you say?


  17. - City Zen - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    Where are the NEIU incubators?


  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    ” Thank you for investing in Illinois, for believing in Illinois and for showing others what can happen here.”

    Quesnell Hartmann and David Ahmari, please teach our governor how to invest in IL instead of tearing it apart. Thank you.


  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    City Zen: Being destroyed by the lack of a budget and state appropriation.


  20. - CCP Hostage - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    Why is this blog the only format that is calling out the governor for lying and pretending that he’s not actually part of Illinois government? That’s what I cannot understand now. I believe the destruction of higher ed and social services is intentional. Why is it taking the media so long to ask the right questions?


  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    The omitting of UIUC as part of this release in the cheering and fundamentally understanding the role of higher education here in Illinois should be worrisome to those trying to save higher education in Illinois.

    If Rauner could, the higher education element just ruins Rauner’s opportunity to speech the beast.

    So what did they do?

    Diminish the UIUC element.

    Very telling, and alarming.


  22. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    No quarrel with any of the prior comments about stiffing U of I, but I’m not on board with the capital component of the 5-year plan at all. Why does the UIUC campus need a second “Illini Union South” to pick just one example.


  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    –Call It the Turn around Agendas or grand bargain or chopped liver, it is a pro-growth, cost containment, tax reform, term limits framework.–

    That’s one big word salad.

    Want to give us the specifics on the “pro=growth, cost-containment, tax reform…” parts?

    Be sure to show your work.


  24. - illini - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    — “Very telling, and alarming.” — Indeed.


  25. - peon - Wednesday, Apr 19, 17 @ 11:36 pm:

    Listened to the speech and Q&A at the link. Very alarming indeed, but no Governor can preside over closing or major accreditation issue for a public university (EIU, SUI, UIC, NIU, etc).


  26. - Mimi Alexaki - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 11:28 pm:

    How do I make my own Blogger layout? I already made a header, I want to learn how to make a matching layout?


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