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State Rep. Maurice West Celebrates Funding for Two Rockford-Area Jobs Training Programs.

Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program funding will promote diversity in the building trades by reducing barriers to apprenticeship programs


ROCKFORD, Ill. – Today, State Representative Maurice West (D-Rockford) celebrated the announcement of funding for two Rockford-area job skills training programs. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has awarded $500,000 to the Black United Fund of Illinois, Inc./Awaken Foundation and $400,000 to the EDDR Foundation - Rockford through the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program, which creates a talent pipeline of diverse candidates from underrepresented communities to enter the building trades.


“I am thrilled to have assisted these organizations in securing funding to help the next generation of tradespeople enter apprenticeship programs,” said State Representative Maurice West. “The building trades provide good-paying, high-road jobs for so many Illinoisans, but apprenticeship programs are often difficult for many people to access, especially for those from underrepresented communities. The Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program focuses on women, people of color, and veterans, preparing them to enter full apprenticeship programs in the building trades. We must continue to invest in our communities and promote diversity in the trades, which is exactly what this funding will do.”


The Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program launched in 2021 with the goal of increasing diversity and access to apprenticeship programs. Comprehensive pre-apprenticeship programs help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the construction trades and secure long-term employment. 


“We need to do more to reduce the barriers to enter apprenticeship programs, especially for Black and Brown residents who are unfamiliar with how these programs work,” said West. “This grant funding will help guide interested residents through the apprenticeship application process free of charge, ensuring they have the qualifications necessary to enter the building trades and access these great job opportunities.”


Anyone interested in learning more about the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program should fill out the interest form HERE.




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