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Apprenticeship Expansion Program

Grants to Illinois Private and Public Organizations to Increase Workforce
Opportunities for Underrepresented and BIPOC Communities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

09/15/21 5:00 PM Central Time


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Grants to Illinois private and public organizations to increase workforce opportunities for underrepresented and BIPOC communities. Funding is intended to benefit industries that have been impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by providing training opportunities for apprentices. Applicants are required to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the proposal application and articulate why and how this can be cost-efficient and an effective solution for both the employer and community.

The objective of this NOFO is to fund proposals that will ultimately result in a total of 750 new registered apprenticeship programs by the end of 2024. It is Illinois’ goal to use this NOFO to increase apprenticeship opportunities for historically underrepresented populations, including but not limited to: individuals with disabilities; youth from underserved communities; older workers; returning citizens from incarceration; and workers in jobs that have been severely impacted by COVID, such as the Arts, Entertainment Recreation and Accommodation industry.

The Department and the IWIB Apprenticeship Illinois Committee have determined that the support for apprenticeship intermediaries and regional navigators will build the foundation for apprenticeship expansion in Illinois. Regional apprenticeship navigators and apprenticeship intermediaries represent two important sides of a statewide apprenticeship system: navigators represent the demand side, e.g., businesses who want to host apprenticeships, and intermediaries represent the supply side, e.g., the institutions and/or partnerships that coordinate and/or implement apprenticeship programs, including recruiting potential apprentices and preparing them to enter apprenticeships. This model also facilitates the capacity of both the employer and the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship to administer and expand registered apprenticeship programs.

  • Program Approach #1: Apprenticeship Navigators: The primary objective of the navigators is to expand apprentice sponsorship by employers and intermediaries in existing and new occupations within their region. Navigators support workforce demand by utilizing apprenticeship as a workforce development tool for businesses. This is a formalized approach that enhances existing business practices to support workforce success 
  • Program Approach #2: Apprenticeship Intermediaries: Apprenticeship Intermediaries sponsor and/or coordinate the apprenticeship programs, coordinate with employers to hire and mentor apprentices, facilitate program development and the provision of related technical instruction, and manage other components of the program. They aggregate the needs of employers and coordinate apprenticeship programs with and for them. They ease the burden for businesses, particularly small companies that do not have the personnel to execute such tasks, by performing administrative responsibilities such as registering businesses and apprentices, tracking activities, and reporting results.

More information about the program approaches can be found starting at

Targeted Program Participants: The applications that serve the targeted populations listed below will be given priority in the merit review process:

  • Low-income individuals;
  • Individuals with disabilities;
  • Returning citizens (previously incarcerated);
  • Homeless individuals;
  • Justice involved youth;
  • Youth who are in the foster care system or have aged out of the foster care system;
  • Individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers
  • Eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers;
  • Single parents (including single pregnant women);
  • Long-term unemployed individuals;
  • Older workers;
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals; and
  • Minorities that are under-represented in registered apprenticeships in Illinois

Targeted Program Participants can be found at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 197150

Number of Grants:

Program Approach #1: Anticipated Number of Grants: 10-12; Program Approach #2: Anticipated Number of Grants: 16-20

Estimated Size of Grant:

Program Approach #1:
- Funding Range: $75k-125k
- Anticipated Navigator Projects Total: $750k - $1.5 Million

Program Approach #2:
- Funding Range: $150k-350k
- Anticipated Existing Intermediary Projects Total: $1 - $4 Million

Term of Contract:

The grant term/performance period is determined on a project-specific basis, It is anticipated that most grants will be awarded for 18-24 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This funding opportunity is available to public and private organizations that meet the requirements outlined in the NOFO.

Pre-proposal Conference:

An informational webinar will be held on July 13 and 14, 2021 at 1:00 pm.

More information will be posted on the URL for Full Text, below, closer to the date.

Pre-Application Information:

The application due date for this round of funding is 5:00PM (Central Time) September 15, 2021.

In general, grantees will receive payments on a reimbursement basis and may be subject to proration dependent upon the grantee meeting performance targets

An entity may not receive a grant until the entity has registered and pre-qualified through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal found at

The GATA Grantee Portal will verify that the entity:
- Has a valid FEIN number;
- Has a valid DUNS number;
- Has a current account;
- Is not on the Federal Excluded Parties List;
- Is in Good Standing with the Illinois Secretary of State, as applicable;
- Is not on the Illinois Stop Payment list; and
- Is not on the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Provider Sanctions list.

Matching funds are not required; however, projects that include matching or leveraged funds from multiple funding sources will be given priority consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

apply Online:

Apprenticeship Grant Manager
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois

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