Latino leaders to tackle employment, immigration issues at ILLCF

ROSEMONT, Ill. (WLS) -- Latinos throughout the state will meet this weekend to discuss issues surrounding employment and immigration at the 14th annual Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation Conference.

Michael Gonzalez, the vice chair for the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation, stopped by ABC7 on Wednesday to discuss this year's conference.

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The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation is pleased to announce its 14th annual conference, to take place on Friday, November 18, 2016, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. This extraordinary event, which has been nationally recognized for its impact, attracts 1,500 participants from all over Illinois and throughout the country. The theme for this year's conference is La Presencia Latina: Employment and Career Pathways. The panels, workshops, and sessions will focus on five main topics: Immigration, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Health and Wellness, Education, and Energy Industries.

In all five topic areas, participants will have the opportunity to hear from experts and industry leaders, and to discuss Latino employment pathways and professional access in these growing fields.

The keynote address, delivered by Chief Judge Ruben Castillo, promises to be a highlight of the conference. Castillo has served on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois since 1994 and became the Northern District's Chief Judge in 2013.

He is the first Latino federal judge in Illinois and the first Latino in the state to become Chief Judge of a federal court. To honor Chief Judge Castillo for his service to Illinois and to the Latino community, ILLCF will present him with a special award.

All five of the topic area panels include leaders in business, government, and the nonprofit world. Each will be moderated by a State Representative or Senator who has worked to support the Latino community in Illinois. ILLCF is especially proud to offer its panel on Energy Industries, which will bring together CEOs of the five major energy corporations that serve Illinois: ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, Ameren, and Exelon. Moderated by State Senator Martin Sandoval, a member of the Energy and Public Utilities Committee, this panel will explore the transformative changes in energy technology and delivery systems and discuss the opportunities for employment and growth that they afford to Latinos throughout Illinois.

Another highlight of the ILLCF Conference, this year and every year, is the Scholarship Awards Luncheon. The ILLCF awards over $1 million in scholarships annually. At the luncheon, academic scholarships will be awarded to 25 promising Latino college students from all over Illinois. Lourdes Duarte and Dan Ponce of WGN News will serve as masters of ceremonies, and the luncheon will feature a speech by award-winning film producer and writer Nancy De Los Santos-Reza.

Finally, the ILLCF Conference will provide participants with a unique opportunity to make their voices heard and influence state legislation. At the afternoon Café Con Leche, all of the State Representatives and State Senators who are members of the ILLCF will meet with conference participants in an informal, open setting. Café Con Leche is a powerful way for Latinos in Illinois to participate directly in state government, and for legislators to gain insight into the issues, concerns, and achievements in their communities.

More information on the conference can be found on the ILLCF website at or by calling at (224) 366-8512.
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