FEJA Multi-Cultural Jobs Program



​​Background

Governor Pritzker has placed a high priority on stimulating job growth in the clean energy economy by making investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Multi-Cultural Jobs Program authorized by the Future Energy Jobs Act under 220 ILCS 5/16-108.12(a)(3) supports this priority by providing access to career-related energy sector occupations for individuals living in disadvantaged communities or in those identified as environmental justice communities.

An initial $4 million investment for the Multi-Cultural Jobs Program was approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission in 2017. As part of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) signed into law on September 15, 2021, this program was transferred to the Illinois Department of Commerce (DCEO) in 2022 [see Public Act 102-662].

With a continued $4 million investment, a funding opportunity is being released by DCEO to continue the creation and enhancement of economic, or career-related opportunities within the clean-energy sector through training and work readiness programs. Community-based diversity-focused organizations with demonstrated attention to equity and inclusion are eligible to apply.


Program Design

Commerce will fund innovative programs from diversity-focused community organizations that have a record of successfully delivering job training. Organizations applying for funding should prioritize women, people of color, persons with a record, former foster care recipients, and other job seekers with specific barriers to employment. Selected grantees will recruit, train, and place participants in clean energy-related occupations throughout the State of Illinois.

Projects funded under this NOFO will provide equitable access to quality training, jobs, and economic opportunities in the career pathway energy sector, with services to be provided across the spectrum from outreach to retention in employment and offered fluidly to allow program participants the latitude and flexibility to participate and succeed in establishing a family-sustaining career.

The Multi-Cultural Jobs Program provides an opportunity to provide innovative, employer-driven training approaches that pair education and occupational training with work-based learning to individuals in need of self-sustaining employment.  It is the goal and objective of the Multi-Cultural Jobs Training program to implement job training programs that:

  • Assist in the development of a workforce with the requisite knowledge, skills, training, experience, and competence to work in the clean energy sector.
  • Identify partnership opportunities within training programs to maximize the societal benefits of the funds provided pursuant to Section 16-108.12(a)(3) of the Public Utilities Act.

Training services are critical to the employment success of many individuals. The Multi-Cultural Jobs Program recommends any of the following types of training be incorporated into the service delivery approach (described more fully in the Notice of Funding Opportunity):

  • Training services leading to industry-led credentials

  • Occupational skills training, training for nontraditional employment

  • Skill upgrading and retraining

  • Entrepreneurial training

  • Job readiness training

  • Adult education and literacy activities

  • Work-Based Learning / Work-Based Training

    • Pre-apprenticeship
    • Apprenticeship
    • Work experiences or internships
      • Transitional jobs
      • On-the-Job Training (OJT)
      • Customized Training
  • Incumbent Worker Training 

To support success in training programs, the Multi-Cultural Jobs Program service delivery design includes the following components:

  • Outreach and Recruitment
  • Employer Engagement
  • Comprehensive Assessments
  • Individual Employment Plans
  • Supportive Services
  • Placement
  • Follow-Up (if appropriate)

The Multi-Cultural Jobs Program will fund one grant for each of the following diversity-focused community organizations that have a record of successfully delivering job training.

  1. CATEGORY A: Community-based civil rights and human services not-for-profit organization that provides economic development, human capital, and education program services.
  2. CATEGORY B: Not-for-profit organization that is also an educational institution that offers training programs approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and United States  Department of Education with the goal of providing workforce initiatives leading to economic independence.
  3. CATEGORY C: Not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing the educational and leadership capacity of minority youth through the operation of schools, youth leadership clubs, and youth development centers.
  4. CATEGORY D: Not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing equal access to opportunities in the construction industry that offer training programs that include Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10 and 30 certifications, Environmental  Protection Agency Renovation, Repair and  Painting Certification, and Leadership in  Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Green Associate Exam preparation courses.
  5. CATEGORY E: Non-profit organization that has a proven record of successfully implementing utility industry training programs,  with expertise in creating programs that strengthen the economics of communities including technical training workshops and economic development through community and financial partners.
  6. CATEGORY F: Non-profit organization that provides family services, housing education, and job and career education opportunities that have successfully partnered with the electric industry on-the-job training.

Only entities that meet one of the categories identified in A – F above and properly operate in accordance with Federal, State, and local law, in the state of Illinois, may submit a proposal for consideration. Organizations are limited to applying for only one category.


Program Funding

It is anticipated that the Department will make six awards under this NOFO for up to $4 million. This grant program is utilizing State funds authorized under the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act as outlined at 220 ILCS 5/16-108.12 and 20 ILCS 3855/1-75(c)(1)(O).

Applicants may only submit one application and are required to select only one category.
CATEGORY A: $1,000,000

CATEGORY B: $500,000

CATEGORY C: $500,000

CATEGORY D: $1,000,000

CATEGORY E: $500,000

CATEGORY F: $500,000


Submission Details

The application due date is 5:00PM (Central Time) on June 15, 2022. Failure to meet the application deadline may result in the Department returning the application without review or may preclude the Department from making the award.

Application materials must be submitted to the Department via the electronic form at: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/445cd5920ba14d63a4bb7ab19be21108. The Department is under no obligation to review applications that do not comply with the above requirements. 

For detailed information about the funding opportunity and instructions on how to apply, see the full NOFO, as well as required documents, linked under NOFO Materials.


NOFO Materials

Additional Resources

FAQs

Information Session

The Department coordinated an information session that reviewed the requirements of this NOFO and answered questions that are also posted in the FAQ section of this web page.  Attendance was not required but was encouraged. The recording of the information session will be available on the web page. 

FEJA Multi-Cultural Project Information Session: May 23, 2022 - 1:00pm (Presentation)