Monday, November 20, 2017

Illinois Innocence Project Wins Grant For DNA Testing

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the University of Illinois Springfield, has won a $641,000 grant for DNA testing intended to help exonerate wrongfully convicted inmates.

The grant will be used over the course of two years.

$200,000 of the funds must be used in DNA testing for two types of cases: potential eye witness misidentifications and false confessions.

John Hanlon, Executive Director of the Illinois Innocence Project, says DNA testing is often necessary for the cases he takes on, but also very costly. The most basic test is roughly $1,000.

“The problem is, many of these cases involve evidence that’s degraded," says Hanlon. "It’s very old so it’s degraded. When you’re dealing with degraded evidence you often have to start with the basic kind of procedures to get a DNA profile, but then they often have to go to second and third levels and every level costs more.”

The grant will also be used to pay attorney fees and fund student employment, which is vital for the project.

This story aired on NPR Illinois on November 17, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

New UIS Student Union to host the 2018 Economic Outlook Breakfast

The University of Illinois Springfield Student Union should be ready in 2018 for the annual Economic Outlook Breakfast of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Chancellor Susan Koch told the fall breakfast on Tuesday.

The breakfast traditionally has been held at the campus’ Public Affairs Center.

“That new building down the way is 99 percent complete,” Koch said, referring to the Student Union.

A grand opening for the $21.7 million project is scheduled for Jan. 14.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 18, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Helicopter parents on their child's job hunt

Helicopter parents can be over-protective of their adult children, even as they try to join the workforce.

Some employers say the millennial generation can be hurt by the people who care about them most.

"I have a very active family," says Malcolm Bennett, a senior at the University of Illinois Springfield. "I'm looking for pretty much anything to get started in the workforce," says Malcolm.

With the tight job market since the great recession, young job seekers often have partners: helicopter parents.

"My mom has literally picked out career paths," says Malcolm. "That doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to listen to her."

The Career Development Center at UIS helps students prepare for the job hunt.

"It's great to have the parents help," says Katherine Battee-Freeman, the director of the Center. "But we don't want the students to use the parents as a crutch and not understand how to do it themselves."

Counselors say parents play important roles in helping with documents, building their child's confidence and coaching for interviews but helicopter parents hover too close.

"I've heard horror stories," said Battee-Freeman, "Of parents being the one calling the employer and saying, are you going to hire my student or when are we going to hear back from you."

"Parents can, with the best interests of their child at heart, impact them negatively," said Josh Britton, a staffing expert with Express Employment Professionals in Springfield. He said some parents have done all the phone calling, interview scheduling, even filled out the job application.

"The message that sends to employers is that the parent's going to be involved anytime something of significance happens on the job," said Britton. "Whether it's positive or negative."

Back at UIS, Malcolm Bennett appreciates all the effort and money his family put into his education and job search and says it has added some stress. But he's most thankful for the way they let go. "My family's kind of hands-off," said Malcolm. "After we get you through the door, it's your chance to shine."

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 17, 2017.

Watch the entire story online.