EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt announced that two organizations in his district have received funding through the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

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“We must remain dedicated to promoting diversity in the trades, which is exactly what this funding will do,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Expanding the reach our trades have will empower individuals with valuable skills while ensuring our workforce is inclusive and representative of our communities.”

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The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded over $18 million in grants to 36 recipients through the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program, including $355,542 to Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville and $440,000 to Teens Against Killing Everywhere in East St. Louis. The program creates a diverse pool of talented and qualified candidates in construction and building trades, and helps participants secure employment and establish a career in the field.

The Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program launched in 2021 with the goal of increasing diversity and access to apprenticeship programs. Pre-apprenticeship programs are comprehensive and help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity for obtaining employment in the construction trades and securing a lifelong career.

“This funding represents a critical investment in the future success of our communities,” said Belt. “We’re creating pathways for our residents to gain expertise and contribute to the workforce meaningfully, helping to create a stronger, more affluent society.”

To learn more about the grant funding and view the full list of recipients, visit here.

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