WIOA Youth Career Pathways

​This funding opportunity has closed. Visit the Funding Opportunities page to learn about current opportunities.

​Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)


The Illinois Workforce Innovation Board Youth Committee announces the release of the 2017 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’s Youth Task Force. 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 was February 1, 2017. Applications are no longer being accepted.

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 2017 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.

Archived RFA Webinar & Upcoming Dates

Topical webinars relating to the Youth Career Pathways NOFO and application process will be ongoing. Times, instructions, and recorded webinars will be posted in this space. See archived sessions and presentations below.

  • January 24, 2017 - Supplement to 1/24 Youth NOFO Q&A Session (PDF)
    • This document contains additional answers to fiscal questions asked during the Youth 2017 NOFO Webinar held on Tuesday January 24, 2017.
  • January 24, 2017 - WIOA Youth Career Pathways TA - Strengthening Business Engagement (SlideShare)
  • January 18, 2017 - Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Overview for Workforce Grants (SlideShare)
  • December 16, 2016 - WIOA Youth Career Pathways 2017 (SlideShare)

NOFO Materials
  • ​2017 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF)
  • 2017 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Grant Application (MS Word)
  • 2017 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Budget Proposal (MS Excel)
  • 2017 WIOA Youth Career Pathways Supplement Appendices (MS Word)

Support Materials
  • ​2016 Illinois Youth Task Force Report (PDF)
  • Supplemental Data for the Illinois Youth Task Force Report (PDF)
  • Distribution of Opportunity Youth in Illinois Map (PDF)
  • University of Illinois Extension - What We Do (Website)
  • 2 CFR 200 (Website)

Illinois Pathways