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Illinois Governor Pritzker & The State Department Of Commerce And Economic Opportunity Announce Nearly $10 Million In Grants For Construction & Building Trades Apprenticeships

Published Tuesday, January 18, 2022
by Shepard Price/www.thetelegraph.com
Illinois Governor Pritzker & The State Department Of Commerce And Economic Opportunity Announce Nearly $10 Million In Grants For Construction & Building Trades Apprenticeships

(SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS) - Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and the State Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have announced $9.6 million in grant funding to support Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs, which is aimed at creating a qualified talent pipeline of diverse candidates as part of the Illinois Works initiative.

The grant is being awarded to 23 organizations - including the Southwestern Illinois College of Belleville, that will provide Pre-Apprenticeship training and wraparound supportive services to more than 1,000 participants, the majority of whom are Members of underrepresented groups in the Construction Industry. 

"My administration is committed to supporting Workforce Training Programs that are equitable and accessible for all Illinois residents, regardless of their background or what neighborhood they call home," Pritzker said in a statement. "This ($9.6 million) investment in the Illinois Works program will support nearly one thousand Pre-Apprenticeships, giving participants the skills they need to earn family-sustaining wages and succeed in the jobs of tomorrow." 

Comprehensive Pre-Apprenticeship Programs can help participants gain admission to Apprenticeship Programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the Construction Trades.

According to a 2020 report from the Illinois Department of Labor, only 4% of Illinois Apprentices are Women and only 29% are People of Color.

By supporting Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs that primarily serve these groups - while also providing the wraparound supports the state says are needed for participants to succeed - these grants will try to help participants break barriers to enter into Apprenticeships, while simultaneously aiming to create a sustainable pipeline of qualified, diverse candidates for the future economy.  

The program is funded by the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act, as part of Rebuild Illinois - which is aimed at granting more Illinois residents access to jobs created by State capital projects.

The program aims to open doors to career opportunities in the Construction and Building Trades, including those who have been historically underrepresented in this industry.

Through this model, the grantees will offer structured pathways to help graduates transition from the Pre-Apprenticeship Program to a full Apprenticeship Program in Construction and Building Trades.

"Under Governor Pritzker's leadership, DCEO is more committed than ever to growing a diverse workforce that will boost local economies while creating sustainable career paths for all Illinoisans," DCEO Acting Director Sylvia I. Garcia said. "Women and People of Color face significant barriers to good-paying construction jobs and we’re proud to invest in Pre-Apprenticeship Programs that will create a more dynamic and inclusive workforce."

The average grant size awarded is $417,000, with all projects focused on supporting workforce priorities, such as equity and inclusion, and creating a qualified talent pipeline in construction and the Trades.

Recipients include non-profits, community-based organizations, industry associations, community colleges and more.

In addition to delivering technical instruction and industry-recognized certifications, these programs include transition services to help participants enroll in Department of Labor Registered-Apprenticeship Programs.

All programs also include stipends for participants in the program and workplace experience that provides them with hands-on exposure to construction job sites.

To Directly Access This Apprenticeship And Training Labor News Story, Go To: www.thetelegraph.com/news/article/Pritzker-DCEO-announce-nearly-10-million-in-16776076.php

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