The Fund was created by the 21st Century Workforce Development Fund Act (30 ILCS 787) in 2009.

According to the Act, the Fund "is to promote the State's interest in the creation and maintenance of a diverse and skilled workforce for the economic development of the State. The Fund is intended to support integrated, innovative, and emergency workforce development strategies that promote local economic development and a continuum of workforce and education strategies, including workforce development activities to prepare individuals for occupations in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, as well as other occupations that are created or transformed by the implementation of policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to prevent and remediate pollution, and to promote energy-efficient, healthy, and lead-safe homes in Illinois" (30 ILCS 787/10).

Furthermore, "resources from the Fund are intended to be used flexibly to support innovative and locally-driven strategies, to leverage other funding sources, and to fill gaps in existing workforce development resources in Illinois. They are not intended to supplant existing workforce development resources" (30 ILCS 787/15(a)).