Archived RFA Information

Request for Applications

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released a Request for Application (RFA) seeking projects that connect talent strategies with business strategies.  This is the logical next step as we expand the implementation of the Illinois Pathways model and is based on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation call to action,  "Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap."

As the economic and workforce development agency in Illinois, the Department of Commerce is a national leader in developing employer-driven training solutions that meet the needs of businesses and job seekers.  Through our Office of Employment and Training, the Department of Commerce leverages Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) dollars to fund solutions not only for businesses, but also for local workforce areas, industry associations, economic development entities, and community colleges to create sector-based models and develop career pathways for job seekers including the long-term unemployed,  veterans, people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth.  

Applications for this statewide program are due on February 27, 2015.  Funding decisions will occur in the spring.  On December 18, 2014, there was an informational webinar from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. to discuss the RFA. This webinar is available to view at the bottom of this page. The complete program guidelines are available from this page.

The RFA and Application have been updated to reflect the revised due date of and to clarify information regarding the grant/program term.  If you have already started or completed the original application, you do not have to copy it to the updated application.   The application dated December 2014 is still an acceptable application to use. Use of the December 2014 application will not affect the rating of applications.  

The project period should not exceed 12 months.   A modification to extend a grant may occur, but only at the discretion of the Department.  Under Section 5 of the application, it does state that activities must be completed within the established grant period of 12 months.  

If you require additional information contact one of the Department of Commerce staff below.

Thank you for your support of our program.  It is programs like these that ensure Illinois businesses remain competitive in today's economy. 

Program Goal

The Department of Commerce will award grants for demonstration projects providing Rapid Response services to businesses and workers impacted or at risk of being impacted by company closures or layoffs. The goal of this program is to help businesses avoid layoffs where possible and help unemployed workers re-enter the workforce. Applications for the Program Year 2014 funds will be accepted through January 30, 2015.  Grantees will facilitate or provide skill upgrade training to WIOA eligible dislocated workers or incumbent workers at risk of dislocation as a layoff aversion strategy. The State of Illinois considers a layoff averted when:

  • A worker's job is saved with an existing employer that is at risk of downsizing or closing; or
  • A worker at risk of dislocation transitions to a different job with the same employer or to a new job with a different employer and experiences no, or minimal, unemployment.

By emphasizing the strategy of Incumbent Worker training for At-Risk workers, the Department of Commerce is seeking training projects for existing employees who are at risk of losing their jobs unless they obtain skill upgrades, or to provide training to unemployed individuals who require employer specific training upon being hired or classroom based skill upgrades to be qualified to be hired.

Program Design

Broadening the scope of Rapid Response activities enables the Department of Commerce to work with employers to avoid layoffs.  The Department of Commerce will fund projects that specifically identify employers that serve WIOA-eligible dislocated workers from layoff events; projects for recently separated veterans; projects that connect employers and WIOA-eligible dislocated workers with short-term, on-the job and customized training programs; and registered apprenticeships before or after layoff and prior to new employment.  This RFA will also fund incumbent worker projects to assist with training existing employees who are at risk of being laid off without the training.

Training projects must provide workers with new skills to retain their existing job or quickly transition to a new one and maintain financial stability.  The value for employers is remaining competitive in the global economy and saving operational, overhead and productivity costs by training current, reliable employees rather than going through the process of replacing them.

Department of Commerce RFA Contact for questions about this RFA:
Lorraine Wareham
500 East Monroe Street
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Phone: 217-558-2454

Eligible Costs

The Department of Commerce Office of Employment and Training (OET) will provide up to $3-5 Million in Workforce Investment Act funds to support Illinois Talent Pipeline Management demonstration projects. The estimated maximum award will be $350,000 per project. Grant funds may be used for:

  • Incumbent Worker Training for existing workers;
  • On-the-Job Training for unemployed workers;
  • Class Size Training for unemployed workers;
  • Customized Training for unemployed workers; and
  • Registered Apprenticeships for unemployed and existing workers.

Eligible Applicants

The Department of Commerce will accept proposals from Local Workforce Boards or their designated entities, private sector for-profit and non-profit employers, educational institutions, and private sector for-profit and non-profit training providers or other entities, such as sector employer associations, with the ability to engage employers to facilitate training placements.

  • 2014 Illinois Talent Pipeline Management REQUEST FOR APPLICATION Updated 01/23/2015 (PDF
  • 2014 Illinois Talent Pipeline Management​  FUNDING APPLICATION Updated 01/23/2015 (MS Word
  • Attachment A - Department of Commerce Office of Employment & Training At-Risk Documentation (MS Word)
  • MOU Example Company and School (MS Word)
  • MOU Example Training Program (MS Word)
  • PowerPoint - Illinois Talent Pipeline Management Webinar Dec 18, 2014 (PDF)
  • Registered Apprenticeship Flyer (PDF)
  • On-The-Job-Training Flyer (PDF)
  • Incumbent Worker Training Flyer (PDF)
  • Customized Training Flyer (PDF)

Archived Webinar