Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton Meets with United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Employment


 Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton Meets with United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Employment

CHICAGO – Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton met with United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Employment, Guy Opperman, and Alan Gogbashian, Consul General of the United Kingdom in Chicago. The meeting’s purpose was to build upon our strong bilateral ties and discuss areas of collaboration and workforce development between the UK and Illinois.

“Illinois has deep ties to the United Kingdom, with our bilateral trade totaling over $270 billion annually. These ongoing conversations with our UK counterparts are an opportunity to build upon our strong trade partnership and share about Illinois’ innovative workforce,” said Lt.


 Governor Juliana Stratton. “I’m confident that our strong relationship with the UK will continue to improve the way we do business in Illinois, thereby benefiting our innovative workforce even further.”

Additional topics of conversation included increasing Illinois’ workforce, addressing skill gaps within our communities and the aging workforce, specifically the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), along with developing strategies for individuals exiting the criminal legal system and re-entering our communities.


This meeting comes as a continuation of Governor JB Pritzker’s initial discussion with Minister Nigel Huddleston during the trade mission to London this past summer. Governor Pritzker’s trade mission laid the groundwork for a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UK and Illinois to foster stronger, bilateral trade and possible investment opportunities.


With the UK being a close ally to the United States, this meeting reflects the strong partnership and economic ties that are a key component to the success of Illinois’ workforce. Illinois is the home to more than 330 UK companies, located in 827 distinct locations and employing over 93,000 Illinoisans, including FirstGroup, Compass Group, National Express Group, PLC, BP, AON, and HSBC.


In addition to Minister Guy Opperman and Consul General to the UK, Alan Gogbashian, Lt. Governor Stratton was joined by the Deputy Consul General to the UK Consulate in Chicago, John Murphy; First Secretary of Trade Policy to the UK Consulate, Freya McKnight; First Assistant Deputy Governor, Teresa Ramos; Senior Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, Robert Baren; Chief of Business Attraction and Development for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Cas Peters; Deputy Director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for Trade and Investment, Margo Markopoulos; Deputy Director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for Workforce Development, Julio Rodriguez, and the Division Manager for the Illinois Department on Aging, Sandra Pastore.

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