Gov. Pritzker Announces $20 Million Investment to Boost Equitable Workforce Recovery

CHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker today joined the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), local officials, and workforce partners to announce $20 million in investments for workforce training and wrap-around services that will bolster equitable workforce recovery for those struggling to gain meaningful employment. Through the Job Training and Economic Development Program (JTED) grants, 44 community-based organizations will serve more than 2,500 individuals, with a special training focus on industries hardest-hit by the pandemic. JTED is part of Illinois' workforce recovery efforts funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).   

"I'm proud to support workforce recovery efforts in Illinois with an additional $20 million investment in workforce training for thousands of jobseekers across Illinois," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Investing in our people is how we drive forward an equitable economy and help businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. Thanks to the leadership of our 44 community partners around the state, this commitment will provide participants the skills needed to build a better Illinois for everyone." 

The funding will expand access to workforce training services and supports for Illinoisians in who are unemployed or underemployed, with a special emphasis on individuals living in low- -income communities that have been hardest-hit by the pandemic. All training programs will provide the opportunity to earn a post-secondary or an industry-recognized credential or certification.  The program will also provide resources and support services to reduce challenges low-income job seekers often face. JTED also supports industries that have struggled with labor shortages during the pandemic by offering training with an emphasis on hard-hit sectors – such as construction or IT.   

"DCEO is committed to investing in equity focused workforce development programs that provide job seekers with the training and support and they need," said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. "Under Governor Pritzker's leadership, we are prioritizing investments in people of color, low-income individuals and other underserved and underrepresented communities to increase access to economic opportunity, grow the diversity of Illinois' workforce and support hard-hit industries with their economic recovery."  

"I have long pushed for more resources towards job training so we can set people up for success, especially those coming from neighborhoods where there aren't as many opportunities," said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood). "This funding will assist populations in need across the entire state in addition to the West Side by developing more growth toward economic self-sufficiency.  I look forward to my continuous work with Governor Pritzker to improve equity and accessibility to the State's workforce system."  

"Even as the representative of Illinois' flagship University, I know that college is not the only kind of education that the state should be funding," said Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana). "Training for our youth, especially returning citizens and those with disabilities is an essential part of what it means to support communities and grow our economy." 

"Nearly every day, I hear from employers that aren't able to find candidates to fill the jobs they have open, preventing our economy and supply chain from doing everything it needs to do to move forward," said State Rep. Dave Vella (D-Rockford). "This funding for workforce development will help people not only prepare for those open positions in the 21st Century economy, but also help them complete the training programs by providing help with emergency expenses that get in the way." 

"When we invest in our workforce, we are investing in our communities. We are investing in an educational experience for people that are trying something new so that their family can thrive," said Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). "The gaps we see in our workforce are solvable and this is a great step forward. I look forward to seeing more young people ready to join the skilled manufacturing workforce, and more Spanish-speaking staff at medical offices so families can get the care they need in the language they are most comfortable in."

In addition to providing an opportunity to earn credentials, JTED workforce partners also provide equity-driven services to ensure participants have the support they need to succeed. This includes ongoing career matching support and follow ups after applicants have completed training. Workforce partners will also provide barrier-reducing resources based on the needs of each individual participant. This assistance can include transportation help, childcare support, books, and more.   

JTED funding will be deployed across the state to 44 workforce partners:

A Safe Haven FoundationChicago$600,000
African American Christian FoundationOak Park$525,000
Bella EaseQuincy$425,000
Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois UniversityCarbondale$275,000
Central States SER Jobs for ProgressChicago$575,000
Chicago Women in TradesChicago$450,000
City Colleges of Chicago, Wilbur Wright CollegeChicago$300,000
Community Assistance ProgramsChicago$300,000
Comprehensive Community Solutions IncRockford$300,000
Cunningham Children's Home of Urbana, IllinoisUrbana$450,000
EDDR FoundationChicago$400,000
Evanston Rebuilding WarehouseEvanston$575,000
Governors State UniversityUniversity Park$450,000
Greater West Town Community Development ProjectChicago$600,000
Harold Washington CollegeChicago$475,000
Hope Center FoundationChicago$500,000
Illinois Manufacturers' AssociationSpringfield$500,000
Inspiration CorporationChicago$550,000
Jane Addams Resource CorporationChicago$200,000
Lester and Rosalie Anixter CenterChicago$500,000
Macon County (LWIA)Decatur$575,000
Management Training and Consulting CorpMarion$425,000
Manufacturing RenaissanceChicago$500,000
McHenry County CollegeCrystal Lake$375,000
Metropolitan Family ServicesChicago$625,000
Midwest Asian Health AssociationChicago$500,000
National Able Network, Inc.Chicago$550,000
North Lawndale Employment NetworkChicago$550,000
OAI, Inc.Chicago$600,000
Quad County Urban LeagueAurora$450,000
Revolution WorkshopChicago$600,000
Rincon Family ServicesChicago$575,000
Rome's Joy CateringChicago$425,000
South Suburban CollegeSouth Holland$130,000
Southwestern Illinois CollegeBelleville$400,000
Spero Family ServicesMt. Vernon$600,000
St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries, Inc.Chicago$95,000
The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually ImpairedChicago$400,000
The City of RockfordRockford$300,000
Township High School District 214Arlington Heights$450,000
Youth Job Center, Inc.Evanston$550,000
YWCA Metropolitan ChicagoChicago$400,000
YWCA Northwestern IllinoisRockford$575,000


The Notice of Funding was initially opened in September of 2021 as part of the Governor's workforce recovery program. The applications were evaluated based on the criteria listed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and were reviewed and awarded on a competitive basis. 

For more information about JTED or other Office of Employment and Training programs, visit DCEO's website and follow us on social media @IllinoisDCEO for future updates.