"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Pritzker Kicks Off Pre-Apprenticeship Program ‘Illinois Works’

Pritzker Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) have joined forces with Rebuilding Exchange to kick off the “Illinois Works” pre-apprenticeship program. Over 1,000 participants in 23 partner organizations will benefit from the nearly $10 million investment into the program.

Currently, grantees are in the process of recruiting diverse candidates and making preparations to officially launch programming. Illinois Works is an innovative initiative designed to create a qualified talent pipeline into the construction trades while leveling the playing field for underrepresented populations, including people of color and women.

Earlier in the month, the governor’s administration announced they had a $9.6 million aim “to help break barriers for more people of color to take advantage of the thousands of jobs created by our infrastructure investments, while simultaneously creating a sustainable pipeline of qualified workers,” stated Pritzker.

He continued on by saying that his administration wants to support “wrap-around pre-apprenticeship programs that help workers turn aspirations into apprenticeships, and in turn, careers.”

Courtesy of buschap (Flickr CC0)

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton explained that Illinois Works “is about equity and opportunity, about preparing people from every community for in-demand careers in the growing field of construction.” She added that the program is the administration’s way to continue investing “in people as we utilize the historic Rebuild Illinois capital plan to create jobs and invest in vital projects throughout the state.”

Acting DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia and Governor Pritzker kicked off the program by visiting the nonprofit organization participating in the program, Rebuilding Exchange. Here training is provided to give individuals hands-on experiences and wrap-around services to help them qualify for a Department of Labor registered apprenticeship. Many places are expecting to launch the programming in the coming weeks.

Some of the organizations chosen for the grant are:

  • Bethel Family Resource Center will receive $400,00.
  • Chicago Women in Trades will receive $500, 437.
  • Children First Fund will receive $250,000.
  • Community Assistance Programs will receive $493, 794.
  • Community Development Institue will receive $500,000.
  • EDDR Foundation Chicago is slated to receive $500,000.
  • EDDR Foundation Rockford is expected to receive $400,000.
  • Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse will receive $535,514.
  • HIRE 360 is slated to receive $550,000.
  • Hispanic American Construction Industry Association will receive $500,000.
  • Illinois Foundation of SkillsUSA-VICA is set to receive $500,000.
  • Lumity will receive $170,673.
  • Macon County will receive $499,832.
  • Metropolitan Family Services is set to receive $500,000.
  • Quad County Urban League will receive $397,978.
  • Revolution Workshop will receive $400,777.
  • Safer Foundation will receive $500,000.
  • Sista Girls & Friends, Inc. will receive $500,000.
  • South Suburban Community Services will receive $436,000.
  • Southwestern Illinois College is receiving $240,000.
  • St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Ministries is receiving $250,000.
  • Tools Up Foundation will be receiving $326,587.
  • YBLC, Inc. is receiving $250,000.

The Illinois Works pre-apprenticeship program is a step in the right direction in helping individuals and families get their lives back on track. Giving people an opportunity to better their careers is always helpful.

Written by Sheena Robertson


Heart of Illinois ABC: Gov. Pritzker announces about $10 million to support construction pre-apprenticeship programs including one in Central IL; by Jessica Cook
Effingham Radio: Governor Pritzker Kicks Off ‘Illinois Works’ Pre-Apprenticeship Program To Prepare Students For Jobs In Construction Trades

Top and Featured Image by SecretName101 Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of buschap’s Flickr Page  Creative Commons License

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