This NOFO solicits proposals from eligible organizations capable of developing a framework that strengthens career pathway systems. These systems will improve youth college and career readiness, create employment opportunities, address equity in underserved communities, and expand partnerships between the workforce system, education, and business.
Proposals must integrate workforce services, education, and economic development to address the challenges youth face in obtaining marketable and in-demand skills. All projects must include essential employability skills, financial and digital literacy, assessments, and programming. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate how they will implement the program components listed below and address the applicable program requirements/career pathways found in Appendix B.
Illinois is interested in funding projects that highlight underserved populations and increase equity in underrepresented areas. Projects that address youth issues in either regions or demographic areas documented to be higher than the statewide average will be prioritized. These target areas include high school dropout rate, Free & Reduced Lunch Program, homelessness, or regions and demographics highly represented in justice-involved youth. In addressing these issues, the applicant must demonstrate collaboration with the organizations that serve these youth. In developing projects to address the above challenges youth face, we have added the standard definitions list in Appendix C for federal funding. This list incorporates the common language used throughout the workforce system and this Notice of Funding Opportunity.