Workforce Development – Apprenticeship
Program Opportunities in Illinois

Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Apprenticeship programs can be sponsored by individual employers, joint employer and labor groups, and/or employer associations.

In 2016, Illinois launched a comprehensive and integrated apprenticeship system that weaves together several separate efforts and funding sources.  The project will increase training and informational materials to aid state and regional staff in promoting Registered Apprenticeship, funding for expansion of apprenticeship, and support the hosting of statewide and regional roundtables to increase awareness and interest in apprenticeship activities.

A broad cross‐section of apprenticeship stakeholders agreed to serve on a new Apprenticeship Committee of the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board (IWIB) and will drive this important and multi-faceted planning process.  Members of the Apprenticeship Committee include the four WIOA core state agency partners (DCEO, ICCB, IDES, and DHS – Rehabilitation Services), business and industry, training providers, local workforce innovation boards, labor, and philanthropies.  This project is being linked to an initiative by the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth to increase the number of apprenticeships for disadvantaged youth in target areas of the state.

An Apprenticeship State Accelerator Grant was awarded to help the Committee identify effective practices within and outside of Illinois and support outreach, technical assistance, and communication to increase access to a range of high quality apprenticeship opportunities.  The Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University is supporting the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth, the IWIB’s Apprenticeship Committee, and the WIOA Interagency Workgroup.  Key project deliverables include:

     ♦ Develop and refine the Illinois Apprenticeship Plus System
     ♦ Develop and produce marketing and promotional materials
     ♦ Evaluate apprenticeship Accelerator Grant activities and Expansion Grant pilots

ApprenticeshipUSA offers opportunities to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to succeed in high-demand careers and exemplifies high standards, instructional rigor and quality training. The ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion funds are supporting the introduction of the Illinois Apprenticeship Plus System to all 10 economic development regions through a series of Apprenticeship Roundtables.The state will coordinate roundtables in the three regions that are targeted in the first Regional Pilot Grant application.  It is anticipated that additional regional roundtables will be developed in 2017 as the apprenticeship program evolves in Illinois.

Regional Pilot Grants were established to identify and support regional pilots that will expand Registered Apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and customized employer-based training.  This network of pilots will help connect apprenticeship initiatives to growth sectors identified in the State and regional unified WIOA plans; assist in raising awareness of apprenticeship pathways; create new opportunities for Registered Apprenticeships; and, with the Assistance of the Apprenticeship Committee, help build capacity and identify ongoing technical assistance needs.  The launch of the Apprenticeship Plus System will also help businesses use apprenticeships and other work-based learning models as they and local workforce partners seek to establish and implement regional sector-based approaches emerging from the recent WIOA regional planning processes around the state.

Recent outcomes or activities.... (From Diana or Jennifer)

If you would like more information on Illinois Apprenticeship Programs or other workforce development opportunities, please contact NIU Center for Governmental Studies, Diana Robinson (with credentials), drobinson@niu.edu.