Mark's News | News
As an alderman, mayor, and now as County Board Chairman, Mark is fighting hard to bring quality jobs to St. Clair County. Mark has always ensured that the citizens of St. Clair County have a strong voice in the political process. Mark is dedicated to making our community a great place to raise a family and build a business.
chairman, mark kern, kern, illinois, government, st. clair county, board member, alderman, illinois chairman
archive,category,category-news,category-119,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,vertical_menu_enabled,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-3.2.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.2.3,vc_responsive
St. Clair County Earns Certification by the USDOL – First in Illinois

“St. Clair County receives approval and designation as the first Local Workforce Development Area in the State of Illinois to be certified as a Registered Apprenticeship Program Intermediary/Sponsor”


Today it was announced the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department (Grants Department) will be the first Local Workforce Development Area in the State of Illinois to be certified by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) as a Registered Apprenticeship Program Intermediary/Sponsor.


This designation will allow the Grants Department’s Workforce Development Group to work with local employers to help them hire and train individuals who will receive occupational credentials from USDOL  after they successfully complete a USDOL Registered Apprenticeship Program.


Signing the Standards of Apprenticeship agreement today in the County Board Office were Kim Jones from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark A. Kern. Ms. Jones is the State Director for the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship. The approved agreement is now registered as part of the National Apprenticeship Program in accordance with the basic Standards of Apprenticeship established by the Secretary of Labor.


“We are very honored to be the first Local Workforce Development Area in the State to receive this designation,” remarked St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark A. Kern. “Our staff at the Grants Department has been working diligently with the United States Department of Labor preparing for this day”, Kern added.


Information regarding the Registered Apprenticeship Program:

There are five core components in the Registered Apprenticeship Program: classroom training, on the job training (OJT), work mentorship, progressive wages, and national occupational credentialing.


The Standards negotiated between USDOL and the Grants Department use a competency-based model which allows expedited advancement based on demonstrated performance rather than a minimum timeframe spent in training. Companies that hire eligible workers are eligible to receive partial reimbursement of wages for up to six months during the training period.


What is an apprenticeship and what is a registered apprenticeship?

USDOL defines an apprenticeship as an arrangement that includes a paid-work component and an educational or instructional component where an individual obtains workplace-relevant knowledge and skills. Registered apprenticeships are high-quality, work-based learning, and post-secondary “earn-and-learn” models that meet national standards for registration with the USDOL.


What’s in it for job-seekers?

A registered apprenticeship program is a great way for job-seekers to start a new career. Here are some great reasons to do an apprenticeship.


  • Begin earning a paycheck from day one (Earn & Learn)
  • Learn a skill or trade through on the job training and have the potential to earn college credit
  • Succeed in a long-term career while earning a competitive salary
  • Increase wages as skill level increases
  • Receive nationally recognized certification
  • Gain valuable skills needed to succeed in your career


What’s in it for participating businesses?

Advantages of registered apprenticeship for businesses looking to recruit new talent and fill open positions:


  • Helps recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce.
  • Reduced turnover rates
  • Improves productivity and the bottom line
  • More diverse workforce
  • New pipeline of workers
  • Creates industry-driven flexible training solutions to meet local and national needs
Heart Health & Air Pollution

February is American Heart month and health officials are offering tips to keep your lungs healthy by reducing exposure to Ozone.

Ozone is air pollution that forms when emissions from motor vehicles, power plants, industrial solvents, and other sources react together.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) research shows that air pollution can trigger heart attacks, strokes and worsen heart conditions, in people who have heart disease. One in three Americans have heart disease.

Air Quality Index forecasts for more than 400 cities are available on a forecast map through a free Air-Now app for iPhone and Android phones or at the Air Now website. The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is the system used to warn the public when air pollution is dangerous.

In addition to the AQI, the St. Clair County Health Department in partnership with Memorial Hospital, the American Lung Association and Channel 4 St. Louis KMOV-TV provide daily ozone reports from May through September. Just call 618-257-6265 to find out the daily ozone report in St. Clair County.

Ozone can present health problems for those suffering from heart disease, but with a few simple steps you can decrease exposure.


On orange or red Air Quality Days, take the following precautions:

  • Take the bus or MetroLink or carpool
  • Limit idling
  • Bring your lunch to work
  • Reduce driving; walk or bike for exercise
  • Keep your engine well-tuned
  • Conserve energy, use a ceiling fan, turn off lights Buy energy-efficient electronics and appliances

For more information about services provided by the St. Clair County Health Department, visit our website.

IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes During February

 Interactive tools identify earthquake hazards in homes and schools, offer methods for reducing risks

SPRINGFIELD – During the winter of 1811-12, some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in North America rocked the Central U.S., including parts of southern Illinois. The series of earthquakes were each estimated to be around magnitude 8.0, strong enough to ring church bells 1,000 miles away in Boston.  While the affected area was largely rural at the time, a similar earthquake today would cause widespread devastation throughout the region.

Recognizing this seismic risk, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today announced it will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February as part of its 2014 preparedness campaign.

 “While it comes as a surprise to many people, Illinois has a very real risk for a major earthquake,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “We’re working to increase awareness of the earthquake potential in Illinois, as well as how people can protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes.”

 Monken said people need to remember to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” when they feel the ground shaking.  The phrase prompts people to “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.

 IEMA has developed interactive tools that identify earthquake hazards in homes and schools and provide information on how to reduce these risks.  The earthquake home and school hazard hunts are available on the Ready Illinois website at

 The website also contains earthquake preparedness tips and information about the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones that impact Illinois. For additional preparedness information, follow IEMA on Facebook ( and Twitter (

January Is National Birth Defect Prevention Month
baby-surpriseEvery 4-5 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 1 in 33 babies are born with birth defects which are often a leading cause of infant death, according to the CDC. Preventing birth defects awareness if a priority program for the St. Clair County Health Department. To that end, the Health Department offers genetic screenings to pregnant women through an Illinois Department of Public Health grant. “Every pregnant woman, who is enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program gets screened for the risk of birth defects,” said Carmoleta Youck, the Community Services Nursing Manager for the St. Clair County Health Department. “If there is a risk for birth defects, the program pays for one visit to a genetic counselor.” 

Birth defects occur before a baby is born. Most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancy, when the organs of a baby are forming. However, some birth defects occur later in pregnancy. During the last six months of pregnancy, the tissues and organs continue to grow and develop, according to the CDC. Factors that contribute to birth defects include genes, behaviors and things in the environment. According to the Adverse Pregnancy Reporting System (APORS), which collects information on Illinois infants born with birth defects, almost 500 babies are born daily in Illinois. Of those, 35 will be reported to APORS and 20 will have birth defects.

While not all birth defects can be prevented, the CDC suggests that there are things a woman can do to in- crease chances of having a healthy baby:

  • Take 400 mcg of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant Don’t drink alcohol or smoke
  • Talk to your health care provider about taking any medications, including prescription and over-the- counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements
  • Learn how to prevent infections during pregnancy
  • If possible, be sure any medical conditions are under control, before becoming pregnant


For more information about the St. Clair County Health Department screening program and to determine eli- gibility, call 618-825-4485. For more information about the Health Department services and programs, visit our website.

“MidAmerica Fresh” Joint Resolution Signed

Visit by Ningbo Officials Strengthens Partnership On Route Coordination and Development

Click HERE for the Full PDF Version

Mascoutah, IL, Nov. 21, 2013… MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV) and Ningbo Lishe International Airport (NGB) made public today a November 14, 2013 Joint Resolution agreement outlining authorization for licensing of the “MidAmerica FreshTM” trademark to shippers of products from MidAmerica to Ningbo, China. The agreement states both parties will “jointly select and license the use of the “MidAmerica FreshTM” to “importers, distributors and retailers in the Peoples Republic of China.” This is another significant step in establishing the unique perishable air commerce trade route between both airports.


With this agreement MidAmerica’s partner in China will ensure the property rights to the trademark are enforced and that all products with the licensed trademark are ones that have been handled on the new trade route linking MidAmerica and China. That trade route is characterized by a closed perishable processing air cargo route aimed specifically at establishing controlled temperature handling and transportation between both airports to connect American fresh product shipments to China. The US trademark is registered with The China Trade Mark Office.

Read More

Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention Council

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently designing the subject project­ two cutoffwalls in the Wood River Levee District. The location of the project is shown in figure 1. The project consists of a shallow cutoff wall extending into a clay layer of approximately 1800 n. in length, and a deep cutoff extending into bedrock of approximately 1900 n. in length, along with a number of associated relief wells and appurtenances.

Read More