(WRXX) Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Thursday opened the application for the second round of Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program funding.
The $15 million in funding will increase training opportunities, expand the talent pipeline, and boost diversity in the construction industry and building trades.
Approximately $8 million in funding will target increased geographic diversity and participation from diverse groups not represented in current programming through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), and approximately $7 million will be available through a contract extension to current grantees who have excelled at key benchmarks.
The Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program launched in 2021 with the goal of increasing diversity and access to apprenticeship programs.
Comprehensive pre-apprenticeship programs can help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the construction trades.
During the first program year, Illinois Works awarded nearly $10 million in funding to 22 organizations, servicing approximately 1,000 participants across the state.
While programming for the first year is still in progress through the end of 2022, preliminary enrollment figures show encouraging representation among key target demographics.