Eligible applicants can now apply to serve as community partners to improve employment opportunities and combat homelessness.

CHICAGO - Today, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced $5 million in funding for the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program. This program is a partnership between DCEO, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness to Prevent and End Homelessness and is an extension of the Illinois Job Training and Economic Development Program (JTED). Grantees will be selected through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) process.

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“We know that meaningful employment can lead to financial and housing stability,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That’s why the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program is seeking to prevent and end homelessness by helping our most vulnerable residents become career ready.”

“Preventing and ending homelessness takes an all hands on deck approach. The Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program not only provides support for those experiencing homelessness, but it also provides meaningful employment, bolstering our workforce,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “This program is building the groundwork to uplift our most vulnerable Illinoisans.”

The goal of the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot is to support individuals experiencing homelessness by improving employment opportunities, helping them establish financial stability and improving their ability to afford permanent housing in their community. The program is an essential part of the JTED Program. The JTED Program was created to provide workforce training and wrap-around services to bolster equitable workforce recovery for Illinoisans struggling to gain meaningful employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program is essential to DCEO’s continued efforts to support Illinois families who need it most,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “This additional funding will increase job opportunities, providing a pathway to sustainable employment and ensure individuals who are underemployed, unemployed and underrepresented have the support and resources they need to obtain permanent housing.”

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Eligible applicants must be the lead entity of the Continuum of Care (COC) organizations, or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) administrative entities that have demonstrated expertise and effectiveness in administering workforce development programs [20 ILCS 605/605-415(b)]. The program will be implemented in areas throughout the state that connect people who are experiencing homelessness to employment and that demonstrate systemic coordination of the homeless response system and workforce system.

The JTED program regulations require that services be provided to the “target population,” defined as persons who are unemployed, underemployed, or underrepresented that have one or more barriers to employment.

Eligible entities can apply for grants up to $2 million. Applications will be accepted until May 3, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. To view the NOFO and apply for the grant, please visit the DCEO website.

To help applicants prepare to apply for funding, DCEO will hold a webinar from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on March 26, 2024. Interested parties are also encouraged to reach out to CEO.GrantHelp@illinois.gov for application assistance.

“IDHS is excited to partner with DCEO and JTED to bolster efforts connecting people experiencing homelessness to employment opportunities – setting them on the path to financial independence,” said Dulce M. Quintero, IDHS Secretary Designate. “This new program builds upon the critical resources that IDHS and our Illinois Office to Prevent and End Homelessness provide to enhance the lives of all the Illinois residents we serve.”

“Increasing financial stability is one of the pillars of Home Illinois, our State’s plan to prevent and end homelessness,” said Christine Haley, Illinois Chief Homelessness Officer. “Through strategic partnerships of homeless-services agencies and workforce entities, we will support Illinoisans experiencing homelessness with access to meaningful work opportunities, with an eye towards long-term financial and housing stability.”

The Illinois Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) Grant Program is funded by the State of Illinois General Revenue Funds appropriated by the General Assembly in the State Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The requirements of the program follow 20 ILCS 605/605-415 (JTED Act) and the rules adopted in support of the JTED Act, 56 Ill. Admin. Code Part 2660 (JTED Rules).

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