CHICAGO – The Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program, which creates a qualified talent pipeline of diverse candidates in construction and the building trades, will see a $13 million expansion thanks to support from the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

“A strong and just economy is built on ensuring all Illinoisan have real opportunities to secure good-paying jobs,” said Senator Mike Simmons (D- Chicago), who kicked off the announcement at a press conference Friday. “By expanding the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship program and making it more accessible to communities of color, we are addressing systemic inequities and creating a more diverse and skilled workforce in Uptown and across the state.”

The Works Pre-apprenticeship Program’s second year will expand access to the program across the state and will serve up to 1,400 people. This is a 40% increase from the program’s first year. The Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program launched with the goal of increasing diversity and access to apprenticeship programs. Comprehensive pre-apprenticeship programs help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the construction trades and secure long-term employment.

“We’re thrilled to have Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship programs continue in the Metro East region through Southwestern Illinois College and a new program administered by Teens Against Killing Everywhere,” said State Senator Christopher Belt (D- Swansea). “By providing people with support and training, we’re opening the door for Illinoisans to secure stable, good-paying careers in a high-demand industry.”

“Investing in pre-apprenticeship programs provides an opportunity for Illinoisans to secure good-paying jobs, especially for people of color,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).  “Organizations like HACIA help Illinoisans gain the skills, training and support they need to excel in DOL-registered apprenticeship programs and beyond.”

The program was designed to increase access to good-paying jobs in the trades for historically underrepresented populations. Participants of the program attend tuition-free and receive a stipend and other supportive, barrier reduction services to help enter the construction industry. Upon completion of the program, pre-apprentices receive industry aligned certifications which will prepare and qualify them to continue to a registered apprenticeship program in one of the trades.

“Growing diversity in the building trades is not just a Chicago issue: we are charging forward like never before with three programs between Decatur and Springfield,” said State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “I look forward to seeing the graduates of these programs working on projects across our region for decades to come.”

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The 2023 Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program recipients and their grants are as follows:

  • Associated Builders & Contractors, Illinois Chapter, Inc. - $239,802.50
  • Bethel Family Resource Center - $400,000.00
  • Black United Fund of Illinois, Inc./Awaken Foundation - $500,000.00
  • Chicago Women in Trades - $500,352.44
  • Children First Fund - $250,000.00
  • Community Assistance Programs- $580,637.25
  • Community Development Institute - $500,000.00
  • Danville Area Community College - $302,000.00
  • EDDR Foundation - Chicago - $500,000.00
  • EDDR Foundation – Rockford - $400,000.00
  • HIRE360 - $550,000.00
  • Hispanic American Construction Association - $551,612.90
  • Illinois Foundation of Skills USA-VICA - $600,000.00
  • Impact Global Inc - $400,000.00
  • Lumity Maywood - $200,000.00
  • Macon County - $450,000.00
  • Metropolitan Family Services - $500,000.00
  • National Latino Education Institute - $480,000.00
  • Project Hood Communities Development Corporation - $500,000.00
  • Rebuilding Exchange - $549,999.65
  • Revolution Workshop - $200,000.00
  • Richland Community College - $450,000.00
  • Rincon Family Services (Northside of Chicago & Cicero)- $500,000.00
  • Sista Girls and Friends - $550,000.00
  • Southwestern Illinois College - $295,071.82
  • Augustine College – Aurora - $500,000.00
  • Augustine College – Grayslake - $500,000.00
  • Teens Against Killing Everywhere - $400,000.00
  • Tools Up Foundation, INC - $264,000.00
  • YouthBuild Lake County - $300,000.00