- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A panel convened by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to study issues affecting youth focused its first meeting on how to improve education, health, and safety for children in the state.

Rauner and about 20 leaders from state departments focused on youth issues met to set goals for streamlining inter-department collaboration during Thursday’s meeting.

The Republican governor created the panel last month.

Panel members say they want to see more workforce training in the service industry and technology fields in high schools and colleges. Other members want to maximize federal dollars in areas of Medicaid eligibility and free lunches.

Preliminary data from last year shows the departments collectively spent more than $8 billion in state and federal money on youth programs.

The panel meets again in June.

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