Sen. Michael HastingsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings passed legislation to help connect veterans with careers in state government on Tuesday.

“Internships serve as a great opportunity to connect our veterans with new perspectives and work opportunities,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “This program will help our nation’s heroes continue to serve our country in another method of public service.”

Senate Bill 2769 would require the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to create a Veteran Internship Pilot Program. The program would provide internships to honorably discharged veterans with the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly's legislative staff internship program.

Intern applicants would be required to be honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces and have completed at least 60 hours of college credit to be eligible, among other qualifications outlined by COGFA.

At the end of that two-year period, COGFA would be required to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program and submit a report to the General Assembly with its findings.

Hastings serves as one of the two military veterans in the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

Following his graduation from United States Military Academy at West Point, Hastings rose to the rank of captain while deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. On July 4, 2006, he was deployed to Iraq as a part of “The Surge.”

After 10 years of distinguished service, Hastings was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army.

“This new program will serve as an opportunity to welcome more veterans into a career in state government and provide them with another outlet to give back to our communities,” said Hastings.

Senate Bill 2769 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and heads to the House for further consideration.