The federal Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) Round I project successfully ended in June 2017, culminating a five year effort to plan, implement and evaluate innovative, multi-partner sector strategies. Illinois was awarded one of twenty-six Round I project grants in the nation. In an effort to generate quantifiable data beyond anecdotal evidence, these projects included an impact analysis, and randomly assigned treatment and control groups if involving services to individuals.
The $12 M Illinois WIF project was branded “Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing” (ATIM), and focused on working with businesses and nascent or established sector partnerships to identify regional needs for specific manufacturing skills and competencies; and then explored various methods to accelerate the time to earnings and full productivity for jobseekers. ATIM involved a cross-cutting team of private sector and State Agencies working on the initial program design and roll-out, plus regional public-private partnerships handling: business engagement, participant recruitment, random assignment, training and preparation for employment. The Department of Commerce was the grant recipient and principal author of the application. In addition, the planning and implementation team included staff from the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association, the Department of Employment Security (IDES), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale Center for Workforce Development (SIU-C) and the project evaluator, Social Policy Research Associates (SPR).