Gov. Pritzker announces $16 million investment to connect unemployed Illinoisans with 1,300 COVID-19 response jobs

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Chi Hack Night [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Residents impacted by COVID-19 will be prioritized

Information provided by the Governor’s Office

ROCKFORD, Ill. (September 10, 2020) – Governor Pritzker announced a new $16.6 million investment to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through two new grants received from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to place, train, and hire nearly 1,300 residents for an array of jobs related to the ongoing pandemic response.

The funding includes an $8.3 million grant from the federal Disaster Recovery Grant Program and an $8.3 million grant from the federal Employment Recovery Grant – both part of the National Dislocated Worker Program. The grants will provide out of work Illinoisans with training and employment in jobs that assist local disaster relief programs and industries in high demand amidst the pandemic. Funded positions include COVID-19 recovery-related temporary jobs to help mitigate COVID-19 in communities, such as contact tracers, COVID-19 protocol workers, building sanitization workers, temperature screeners, and food preparation and distribution workers identified by local communities.

The State will distribute funding to 12 Local Workforce Innovation Areas (LWIAs) spanning 7 regions across Illinois. State of Illinois LWIAs represent employers, local government, community colleges, and community-based organizations which partner with DCEO to provide year-round training and support to communities across the state.

DCEO will partner with local workforce agency partners to assist with filling roles in high need industry areas evolving as a result of COVID-19. The 1,300 positions represent a mix of new and existing roles – with Disaster Recovery grants supporting contact tracers, community health coordinators, food distribution and emergency pantry workers, and COVID-19 custodians. Employment Recovery grant funds will be leveraged to seek out low-wage dislocated workers and provide vocational training and work-based learning that provides skills and competencies in expanding occupations and industries connected to the COVID-19 response.

Training and hiring for new workforce programs are expected to begin this fall, with the start time of each program varying by location. Participants will either undergo some form of training and/or receive supportive employment services, with many beginning jobs shortly after training is complete. Local workforce agencies will prioritize applicants impacted by layoff or termination during the COVID-19 crisis at the time of their application.

A full list of COVID-19 workforce training grantees as well as their program offerings is available on the DCEO website as well as Get Hired Illinois – the state’s one-stop-shop portal to connect Illinoisans with available training and hiring opportunities with growing industries during the COVID-19 crisis.