Youth Career Pathways Program

​Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

Program Goals

The Illinois Workforce Innovation Board announces the release of the 2018 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Career Pathways Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). With an emphasis on the needs of young people who are not in school and not working, coined Opportunity Youth, this funding opportunity is intended to support effective career pathway practices distilled by the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board.  These practices will have a positive impact on the careers of Illinois’ youth while creating a framework for long term, sustainable capacity building in delivery of those practices throughout the state.

The final date for application submittal for this NOFO is May 1, 2018.  Applications are to be submitted per the instructions in the NOFO.

Program Goal

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in conjunction with the Core WIOA Partners - Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Department of Employment Security, and Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services, will award grants for projects that address priorities identified in the State of Illinois Unified Plan and incorporate the practices identified as effective career pathway program criteria by the Illinois Workforce Investment Board’s (IWIB) Youth Committee. Successful pilot projects will integrate workforce, education and economic development services; break down barriers to accessing job-driven training resulting in employment opportunities; and assist in the effective and efficient implementation of WIOA regulations within Illinois’ economic development regions.

Program Design

The Department of Commerce is interested in pilot projects delivered by regional partnership networks that address youth with workforce, education and economic development services, creating career pathways for youth while responding to the talent pipeline needs of businesses within regions. Applicants must incorporate the program criteria identified in the 2018 Youth Career Pathways NOFO, leveraging co-investment of public and private funds. A full range of approaches and strategies applicants may consider is described in the NOFO.

Eligible Costs

The Department of Commerce - Office of Employment and Training (OET) will provide up to $3-5 million in Youth Career Pathways grants. The estimated maximum award will be $500,000 per project, however, the Department of Commerce may elect to award amounts over this based on strength of application or strength of performance during the grant period.

Funding will support Career Pathways approaches, training, Work-Based Learning, and employment in sectors included in the Illinois Pathways initiative and that align with the targeted sectors identified in the WIOA Regional Plans. See the Illinois Pathways sectors to the right; you can explore each by clicking on them.

The Department of Commerce will place special emphasis on projects targeting youth populations with additional barriers, such as those identified in this NOFO.

Eligible Applicants

The Department of Commerce places special emphasis on partnerships and sustainability within the Governor’s Economic Development Regions (EDRs) throughout the State of Illinois. Applicants should document how the project will impact workforce, education and economic development and be replicated throughout the State (if applicable). Proposals will be accepted from Organizations with the administrative capacity and a history of successfully implementing innovative pilots and other priority projects are eligible to apply for funding.

Informational Sessions

  • Workforce Grants 101 and Overview of Grant Opportunities - Springfield and Naperville Sessions
    • Youth Career Pathways NOFO Presentation (PDF)
    • Grants 101 - Application and Preaward Requierments (PDF)

NOFO Materials

  • 2018 WIOA Budget Template for Youth Career Pathways Initative (Excel)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Grant Application (PDF)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendix A (PDF)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendix B (PDF)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendix C (PDF)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendix D (MS Word)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendix E (PDF)
  • 2018 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendix F (MS Word)

Support Materials


Illinois Pathways