Pre-Apprenticeship Notice of Funding Opportunity 2021 FAQs

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  1. Can cohorts be measured as monthly registrants? With regularly scheduled, re ocurring sessions we found that open enrollment lets participants attend as soon as they enroll, instead of having to wait until a certain number apply to start a cohort.

    Per the NOFO (Attachment II—Program Planning Tool), we are encouraging prospective applicants to structure their proposal using a cohort-based model. However, we would welcome organizations to propose different models that can meet and exceed the outcomes we are looking for. If different models are proposed, we highly encourage organizations to submit evidence that can speak to the effectiveness of the proposed model.

  2. Can local workforce boards apply for funding under this NOFO?

    ​Yes, local workforce boards can apply as long as they meet the rest of the requirements, as outlined in the NOFO.

  3. Can we use this grant's dollars to cover the required stipends?

    Per the grant NOFO, stipends can be included as one of the expenses allowed for the program. 

  4. Can you please clarify what are the outcomes for the program on Attachment II? Are the outcomes expected that 85% expected to complete & get a credential & 70% are expected to be enrolled in a Registered Apprenticeship Program?

    Yes, per the NOFO’s Attachment II: Program Planning Tool, 85% of participants that enroll are expected to complete the pre-apprenticeship program and receive a credential, and 70% of participants that enroll are expected to be hired by an employer and enroll in a DOL registered apprenticeship program of their choice.

  5. Do curricula have to be approved by NABTU or NCCER? Where can we find the Illinois Works Approved Curricula? Can you provide more clarification here on which criteria our curricula has to meet?

    Per the NOFO, the applicant's curriculum must be based on either NABTU or NCCER curricula and ensure that participants are able to receive, at a minimum, a NABTU certificate or NCCER certification (typically Core Curriculum), plus an OSHA certification, a First Aid/CPR certification, and other relevant certifications for the construction industry. Please refer to Attachment III—Sample Curriculum in the NOFO. The program must also include an employability skills/soft skills component. 

  6. In the NOFO, it stated local workforce areas are eligible to apply for this opportunity. Is a county of government eligible to apply since they a local workforce area & administer the federal WIOA funds?

    The local workforce areas are eligible to apply regardless if they are non-profit or public.

  7. Is there a required payment model for stipends e.g., a minimum % of total hours? Moreover, do stipend payments have to be based on hours completed or can they be based on performance -- e.g., successfully completing various modules within the program?

    Per the NOFO, Illinois Works will accept proposals for stipends that are based on performance (attendance plus academic performance), and the program must develop a policy for implementation once a grant is secured from DCEO. In a performance based model, typically, a certain number of hours need to be attended, requirements about timeliness are taken into consideration, and the participant's ability to pass certain courses/modules is considered. 

  8. On the Certification page of the Budget Worksheet, the signature line is locked and I am unable to apply a signature. I would like to have the ability to insert my electronic signature. Please advise.Thank you,

    Please print the budget with all of its tabs, sign it, and scan it for submittal keeping in mind the submittal requirements outlined in the NOFO.

  9. Per the NOFO, the funding level is based on the number of cohorts served each year. Can you elaborate on how this calculated? To confirm, if we are serving one cohort of approximately 25 students in the first year, would that be a maximum of $200K?

    ​Per the information provided in the TA webinars (the recordings and slide decks are posted on the NOFO's landing page), particularly the Bidder's Conference webinar, we are expecting to provide on average $10,000 per student served assuming adequate amounts and intensity of wrap-around services. If a program proposes to provide a more intense level of wrap-around services we would expect for the costs to be a little higher, and we also expect the costs to be a little lower if the program proposes less wrap-around services.

  10. The NOFO states that school districts are considered eligible to apply. Is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports a school district eligible to submit an application and manage funds on a district's behalf?

    ​Community-based and other non-profit organizations qualify to apply for the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship funding per the Illinois Work Jobs Act. Applicants are encouraged to partner with other organizations in order to leverage expertise and services in order to make their proposal and program model effective to deliver the services as outlined in the NOFO.

  11. When showing matching funds, the excel spreadsheet does not subtract from the total - it is adding it. Can we put in as a negative number in order to "drive down" the total cost of the grant?

    The Budget Template needs to be completed as designed—no negative numbers are needed to "drive down" the total cost if the template is properly filled out. Please notice that your non-state expenses and state expenses in every worksheet tab (personnel, etc.) are separated and then added on the worksheet; however, all state expenses are summarized and aggregated automatically in Section A of the Template, and the non-state expenses are summarized and aggregated automatically in Section B of the template. At the same time, the Narrative Summary of the Template adds up all state and non-state expenses in separate columns and provides an aggregate amount for each in their individual column and then for both in an aggregate one. At the end, we need to know what your state request is (as aggregated in the Template), and what your non-state (leveraged resources) contributions will be as aggregated in the Template. 

  12. Will the 10k/user funding guide apply to a virtual or hybrid learning model?

    ​As discussed in the NOFO, given the limitations resulting from the COVID pandemic to conduct programs that exclusively focus on face-to-face instruction, funding can be used to conduct virtual or hybrid instruction. However, it is important to emphasize the need to propose creative ways for participants to still get hands-on experience both in a construction lab and at job sites. Regardless of the method chosen and proposed, Illinois Works expects high quality programming that can meet and exceed the program’s outcomes.

  13. Will there be a mechanism for graduates who complete IL Works to onboard into union apprenticeship programs? Specifically, will unions be incentivized to onboard graduates into their apprenticeship programs?

    ​The Office of Illinois Works is actively working with union and non-union apprenticeship programs throughout the state to ensure that Illinois Works pre-apprenticeship graduates have an opportunity to be admitted into the programs of their choice. We are paying close attention to when apprenticeship programs plan to accept applicants and the requirements for acceptance. All that information will be shared with the providers that are successful at securing a grant from Illinois Works. It is important to emphasize that providers will also be expected to develop strong and productive relationship with apprenticeship programs in their geographical region and with employers interested in sponsoring students into the apprenticeship programs.

Partnership Agreements/MOUs

  1. For the required MOU/Partnership Agreement between key partners, how is this defined? Do we need to include the program's employer partners in the agreement or is an agreement between the organization providing the program and lead applicant sufficient?

    We consider partners to be formally structured long-term relationships. These are entities that work together with you to address complex issues to achieve your program goals. You and your partners both contribute unique capabilities to the relationship to maximize your program outcomes. If you are able to secure MOUs with employer partners, it would be ideal. However, at a minimum, you need to include an MOU with your key partners including those providing the pre-apprenticeship training.​


  1. Will you be delivering any webinars to guide chambers of commerce through the application process?

    ​Please go to the NOFO website and notice at the bottom a series of webinars that we scheduled in order to inform/educate different types of organizations, including chambers of commerce, on how to go about applying for the program.