Governor Pritzker has announced a new $16.6 million investment to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Two new grants received from the U.S. Department of Labor, and administered through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, will be used to train and hire nearly 1,300 residents for a number of jobs related to the ongoing pandemic response.
Included in the funding is $8.3 million from the federal Disaster Recovery Grant Program as well as another $8.3 million from the federal Employment Recovery Grant. As part of the National Dislocated Worker Program, Illinois will provide training for COVID-19 recovery-related temporary jobs such as contact tracers, COVID-19 protocol workers, building sanitization workers, temperature screeners, and food preparation and distribution workers. The State will distribute funding to 12 Local Workforce Innovation Areas (LWIAs) spanning 7 regions across Illinois.
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, the LWIA for Chicago and Cook County, will receive two grants totaling $8 million. These grants will support a total of up to 700 participants throughout Chicago and Cook County, including those who have lost jobs due to COVID-19.
Training and hiring for new workforce programs are expected to begin this fall. 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.