Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship NOFO 2021

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

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This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) sets forth the requirements for funding pre-apprenticeship programs as specified by the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act ("Illinois Works Act"), 30 ILCS 559/20-1.  It is in the public policy interest of the State of Illinois (the "State") to ensure that all Illinois residents have access to State capital projects and careers in the construction industry and building trades, including those who have been historically underrepresented in those trades. To ensure that those interests are met, the General Assembly created the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program, the Illinois Works Apprenticeship Initiative, and the Illinois Bid Credit Program.

The goal of the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program is to provide grants to community-based organizations or coalitions throughout the State that will recruit, prescreen, and provide pre-apprenticeship skills training. Successful grantees will also be expected to provide pathways and manage the transition from the pre-apprenticeship program to a full apprenticeship program in construction and building trades. In the first round, DCEO through its Illinois Works Office will award approximately $10 million dollars.

Program Design
​The Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship grants will be awarded to community-based organizations and coalitions that demonstrate that their pre-apprenticeship programs contain program design elements from pre-apprenticeship construction and building trades programs that reflect researched best practices nationally, and meet Illinois Works program requirements and standards.  The overarching focus of these grants is to fund programs that help underrepresented populations successfully transition into full apprenticeship programs in construction and building trades. These program elements include outreach and recruitment to bring participants into programs but also include program elements specifically designed to increase the probability of success for historically underrepresented individuals.

"Community-based organization" means a nonprofit organization, including an accredited public college or university. To qualify as a "community-based organization", the organization must demonstrate the following:

  1. the ability to effectively serve diverse and underrepresented populations, including by providing employment services to such populations;
  2. knowledge of the construction and building trades;
  3. the ability to recruit, prescreen, and provide pre-apprenticeship training to prepare workers for employment in the construction and building trades; and
  4. a plan to provide the following:
    1. preparatory classes;
    2. workplace readiness skills, such as resume preparation and interviewing techniques;
    3. strategies for overcoming barriers to entry and completion of an apprenticeship program; and
    4. any prerequisites for acceptance into apprenticeship program. 

Specific project outcomes, goals, and deliverables must be included in the proposal.

Funding Information
​This grant program is utilizing: state funding appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly under the Illinois Works Act.  It is anticipated that the Department will award $10,000,000 for grants under this NOFO and that each individual grant should range between $200,000 to $550,000 depending on the number of cohorts the program proposes to deliver for one year.  The Department will consider grant requests for less or more of the above-mentioned range when adequate technical arguments and reasonable outcomes are presented. Allowable costs must be necessary, reasonable, and allocable based on the activity or activities contained in the scope of work.

Anticipated Number of Grants: 20 to 25

Funding Range: $200,000 to $550,000

Anticipated Total Award: $10 million

Anticipated Grant Start Date: January 1, 2022

Submission Details
​Applicants must submit a project narrative that answers the questions for the Pre-apprenticeship Program grant as outlined in the NOFO.  The project narrative must include enough information for the Department to understand the scope of the project. For detailed information about the funding opportunity and instruction on how to submit an application, see the full NOFO, as well as required documents, linked under NOFO Materials.

Award Timeline
​Applications are due by October 4, 2021 at 5:00 pm. The grant term/performance period is determined on a project-specific basis. It is anticipated that most grants will be awarded for 12-24 months.

Informational Sessions
Time​Registration/Recording Link
​GATA Pre-Qualification
August 12​
10:00 am - 11:00 am​
​Introduction to Illinois Works and Its Programs
August 19​10:00 am - 12:00 pm​
​Bidder's Conference
August 26​10:00 am - 12:00 pm​
​Developing Partnership for Effective Program Outcomes
September 16
10:00 am - 12:00 pm​


NOFO Materials


Construction and Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Related:

Equity and Apprenticeship Related:

Additional Resources: