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Registration is now open for Illinois NewsTrain on April 1 in Bloomington-Normal!



The News Leaders Association’s NewsTrain is bringing affordable training in digital journalism and news leadership to Central Illinois on April 1 at Heartland Community College in Normal. 


Register by March 1 to get the early-bird rate of $75 for a full day of training. Digital skills to be taught include data, mobile and verification; other skills include writing short and building trust. A news-leadership track will include how to do more enterprise reporting and stave off staff burnout.


The agenda includes descriptions of these interactive sessions, which were requested by a host committee of journalists led by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Illinois Broadcasters Association. These sessions will be taught by marquee journalists:

·         How to do more enterprise reporting while still feeding the daily beast, with Chris Coates, Central Illinois editor for Lee Enterprises. 

·         Staving off staff burnout and what to do when it happens.

·         Developing a data mindset to improve stories every day, with Brant Houston, Knight Chair in investigative reporting at the University of Illinois.

·         Storytelling on small screens: making smart choices for mobile audiences, with digital strategist Meena Thiruvengadam.

·         Becoming a verification ninja.

·         Writing short AND well, with educator and journalist Rosland Briggs-Gammon.

·         Following “fault lines” to improve accuracy and build trust.

Experience NewsTrain’s highly rated training; attendees regularly judge sessions as 4.5, with 5 as highly useful and highly effective.


 “Loved my time here. I highly recommend this for every newsroom,” said attendee Jeffrey Schmucker, assistant city editor of The Blade, in Toledo.


Along with the early-bird rate of $75 ‒ a $20 savings ‒ the News Leaders Association (NLA) will offer these incentives to NewsTrain registrants:

·         For a group of 10 or more from one organization, $70 registration for each person through March 1. Email for details.

·         For students, free membership in NLA, and for professional journalists, half-price membership in NLA, for one year.

·         For NLA members, $75 registration after March 1.

Competitive scholarships will be offered to journalists, journalism students and journalism educators from diverse backgrounds. Apply by Feb. 13.

Discounted hotel rooms are available at $129, plus tax, a night. 


To safeguard NewsTrain participants, everyone will be required to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and to wear a mask indoors. 


LEARN MORE AND REGISTER: newsleaders.org/illinois-newstrain


In addition to Fresno, other NewsTrains in 2022 will be in Fresno, California; Rochester, New York; and Kent, Ohio. 

Since 2003, NewsTrain has brought affordable training close to home, serving 7,840 journalists in all 50 states and three Canadian provinces.


NewsTrain’s tuition remains low because it relies on generous donors to cover half its costs. Please donate here. Include a note on the payment page to direct your tax-deductible donation to NewsTrain.


#IllinoisNewsTrain will be the 96th such workshop sponsored by NLA or a predecessor organization, Associated Press Media Editors (APME). In 2019, APME merged with the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) to create NLA, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization of newsroom leaders. 


NLA empowers journalists at all levels with the training, support and networks they need to lead and transform diverse, sustainable newsrooms. It fosters the highest standards of trustworthy journalism, advocates for a free and independent press, and nurtures the next generation of news leaders.


Questions? Email Linda Austin, NewsTrain project director.  

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Press Releases

Contact: Alison Maley
Government & Public Relations Director
Phone: 217-299-3122


Illinois Principals Association recognized by
Great Place to Work
® on Certification Nation Day,
a national celebration of outstanding workplaces


SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Principals Association is proud to celebrate Certification Nation Day on May 17, along with the community of Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies across the country. Great Place to Work® has designated May 17, 2022, as Certification Nation Day to salute and recognize the companies working to create great places to work for all. 

“The positive culture at IPA allows our team of richly talented individuals to support one another with a shared mission of developing, supporting, and advocating for innovative educational leaders,” shared Dr. Susan Homes, deputy executive director for professional learning. “To achieve this mission, we serve each other first so we can serve our members. I'm proud to be part of an association that is not only forward thinking but is recognized nationally for our innovative solutions and support for school leaders.” 

Great Place to Work Certification™ is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying outstanding employee experiences. 

“Certified companies put employees first” says Michael C. Bush, chief executive officer at Great Place to Work. “Thriving employees increase revenue, profit and provide market-leading customer experiences. I hope that Certification Nation Day can inspire other executives to create and sustain employee-first cultures." 

“Great Place to Work Certification™ isn’t something that comes easily” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vice president of global recognition at Great Place to Work. “It takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience.” 

“My favorite thing about working for IPA is the team-oriented culture,” said Arlin Peebles, Ed Leaders Network director and IPA staff member. “Our staff motto is ‘Serving each other, serving educators, serving children’ and it is put in that order for a reason. Whenever we need something from another staff member it is immediately prioritized and taken care of. We have a huge amount of respect for each other, and it is always exciting when we get a chance to collaborate on a project to serve our members.” 

“Everyone at IPA works together as a high-functioning team,” said Janice Schwarze, professional learning associate and former principal. “I feel valued as a professional, and I also feel like I am part of a big family who looks out for me personally.” 

According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great boss at a Certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work, and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits and have a fair chance at promotion. 

About Illinois Principals Association 

The Illinois Principals Association is a professional association serving more than 6,000 building-level administrators in Illinois. IPA provides professional learning and advocacy opportunities, supporting principals and other school administrators to lead effective learning organizations. 

About Great Place to Work Certification™ 

Great Place to Work® Certification™ is the most definitive “employer-of-choice” recognition that companies aspire to achieve. It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience – specifically, how consistently they experience a high-trust workplace. Great Place to Work Certification is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified.   

About Great Place to Work® 

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Their employee survey platform empowers leaders with the feedback, real-time reporting and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™.  




Contact: Emily Warnecke
Phone: 217-753-2213


Merger creates Illinois' largest school
energy management group

The Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) and the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) have announced a merger to create the Illinois Energy Consortium powered by Future Green — Illinois’ largest energy management group. The initiative will help member school districts reduce their energy spending, protect them from market volatility and invest in renewable energy. 

“Price volatility, supply disruptions and the transition to lower carbon generation are just a few of the long-term trends facing the energy markets that we are responding to,” said Dr. Michael Jacoby, executive director/CEO of IASBO. “This initiative will provide school districts with much-needed stability and cost certainty through aggregating their respective energy loads to secure lower prices than they could on their own.”

The new entity is a merger of the Illinois Energy Consortium (IEC) and Future Green Energy Consortium (FGEC). The IEC, created in 1997, is Illinois’ largest electric and natural gas pool. More than 30 percent of all Illinois public school districts and colleges are members. The FGEC was created in 2016 as a way to provide members with renewable electric power solutions at no out-of-pocket cost.

“Illinois member schools have saved tens of millions of dollars in the past by joining forces under the umbrellas of the IEC and FGEC,” said Dr. Brent Clark, executive director of IASA. “By merging the two, districts will be able to invest more dollars into the classroom while also exploring green-energy solutions such as onsite solar generation and electrification of bus fleets.”

After the passage of the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021, Illinois school districts are in a unique position to install solar panels on site and reduce their carbon footprint. In addition to saving money, onsite solar provides protection from extreme weather events and can potentially generate revenue for the district in the event it is able to sell excess renewable energy back into the grid.

“In February 2021, there were school districts in Illinois forced to close due to a sudden massive spike in the price of natural gas,” said Dr. Tom Bertrand, executive director of IASB. “That volatility creates stress on the school district, parents and students. Providing more stability with energy costs can allow districts to avoid major disruptions to learning.”

Illinois Energy Consortium powered by Future Green will be actively managed by Econergy LLC, based in Chicago. Econergy has helped more than 2,500 schools and businesses across the country unlock access to renewable energy savings by building energy coalitions.


Contact: Alicia Martin
Phone: 217-523-4692 


The Associated Builders and Contractors
of Illinois endorse Richard Irvin for Governor

SPRINGFIELD – Crime, corruption, taxes, and burdensome regulation have decimated businesses and communities over the past four years. But unfortunately, there is no indication that this will change unless there is a different direction in leadership. After thoughtful deliberation of all candidates, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Illinois is proud to endorse Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and State Representative Avery Bourne for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Mayor Irvin is not a stranger to challenges. Born to a single mother and raised in the projects in Aurora, Mayor Irvin became the first member of his family to graduate college. Mayor Irvin is a decorated combat veteran, former prosecutor, and the first African American Mayor of Aurora. There is no question about his dedication to service and helping others.

Representative Avery Bourne has served in the General Assembly since 2015 and has a proven track record of supporting ABC Illinois issues. Since taking her oath, she has been a strong advocate for fixing education funding disparities, ethics reform, and economic development across the State. In addition, her deep roots in central and southern Illinois will provide a much-needed voice for rural communities.

“While we admire and respect the other Republican candidates for Governor it is the opinion of our Board of Directors that Mayor Irvin and Representative Bourne best represent our state and will help all of Illinois and our members prosper. “As Mayor, Richard Irvin has demonstrated his ability to work in a bipartisan manner to find solutions for his community and small businesses. Providing an environment for businesses to grow and safety for our families are both important for our members”, says Alicia Martin, President of ABC Illinois.

Mayor Irvin responded to the endorsement “I am honored to have the endorsement of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Illinois Chapter. Growing up in public housing surrounded by gangs and crime, I understand the importance of providing opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment by helping them enter the construction industry and getting them on the right trajectory.  ABC's faith in my candidacy due to my proven record on economic 
development as Mayor of Aurora confirms their belief that I am the best candidate to turn Illinois around economically and lift up our communities that have been struggling under J.B. Pritzker's administration”.

About ABC: The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Illinois is the affiliate of the national ABC trade association. ABC of Illinois advocates for the merit shop philosophy within the construction industry and represents a diverse group of businesses across Illinois.




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