Grants to expand job training and placementThe Workforce Development Grants will be used to expand access to training, job placement, and other services that prevent people from gaining employment, the administration said in a news release. Funding is also available for individuals with emergency costs for basic needs that prevent them from participating in training programs or employment. The administration expects roughly 1,500 individuals in areas disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will receive services. “We’re focusing on getting people back to work in ways that build careers that are meaningful and bring home good-paying jobs for their families,” Acting DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia said. “We are also prioritizing equity in this work and making sure everyone has access to opportunity. We’re also helping to provide support for our employer partners to make sure we’re filling the jobs that they need and thinking about what those jobs of the future are.”
Additional training grants available for youth career programsThe youth training grants are being distributed to organizations throughout the state that provide education and training in career pathways for youth who may be at risk of dropping out of school or experiencing violence. “These investments our communities desperately need,” said Manny Ramirez, executive director of Revolution Workshop. “Because of these investments, organizations like mine and our partner BUILD Chicago and others will be able to provide real economic mobility that can truly break the cycles of poverty.” Thursday’s announcement came just days after Pritzker announced that another $327 million would be made available this year to help low-income individuals pay their utility bills and meet other expenses. That includes the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, and the Community Services Block Grant Program, which offers expanded services to help residents pay rent, utilities, food, and other household expenses, regardless of immigration status. In addition to those measures, Pritzker also announced Thursday the formation of a new Commission on Workforce Equity and Access, which will study ways to diversify existing training programs to promote equity and inclusion across all industries. The commission will be headed by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford and Deputy Gov. Andy Manar.
Peter Hancock is the Statehouse reporter for Capitol News Illinois and held that position since January 2019. Hancock previously covered the state government in Kansas for much of two decades, including stints with the Lawrence Journal-World and Kansas Public Radio. He would also report for the Kansas Health Policy Authority and the Kansas Education Policy Report.