pexels cleyder duque 3637834CHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) announced over $1 million in investments for pre-apprenticeship programs on the West Side through the Illinois Works program.

“With this investment, local organizations will create jobs and wealth for the community at large,” Van Pelt said. “I am happy that West Side pre-apprenticeship programs will receive much needed backing for training and wraparound supportive services.”

The following organizations in the 5th District received over $1.4 million in investments:

• Chicago Women in Trades, $500,437
• Revolution Workshop, $400,777
• Safer Foundation, $500,000

Comprehensive pre-apprenticeship programs can help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the construction trades.

“In addition to boosting local economies, I am also glad that this investment will provide underrepresented groups a fair chance at succeeding in the workforce,” Van Pelt said. “Specifically, this is a rare opportunity for women and people of color to flourish in construction trades.”

According to a 2020 report from the Illinois Department of Labor, only 4% of Illinois apprentices are women and only 29% are people of color. By supporting pre-apprenticeship training programs that primarily serve these groups – while also providing the needed wraparound supports for participants to succeed – these grants will help participants break barriers to enter into apprenticeships while simultaneously creating a sustainable pipeline of qualified, diverse candidates for the future economy.

Illinois Works aims to open doors to career opportunities in the construction and building trades, including those who have been historically underrepresented in this industry. Through this innovative model, the grantees will offer structured pathways to help graduates transition from the pre-apprenticeship program to a full apprenticeship program in construction and building trades.

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