IL WorksCHICAGO – State Senator Willie Preston announced that two organizations across his district have received funding through the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

“I remain a huge advocate for investments in our trade programs,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “Last week, I called for the largest modern investment in our trade programs following the governor’s budget proposal. I believe investing in our trades will fill more than just the workforce gaps in trade industries — it will counter disinvestment, giving our young, vulnerable communities the opportunity to build better futures.”

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 $550,000 to the Community Youth Development Institute and $656,639 to Community Assistance Programs in Chicago.

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 trade of construction and securing a lifelong career.

“It is one of my highest priorities to equip our young men and women facing adversity in the Chicago area with the resources and opportunities they need to thrive and succeed,” said Preston. “I am sick of seeing our young people becoming involved in violent crimes and falling victim to their environments. These programs will create opportunities for our young people in construction and building trades, helping them create brighter, better futures for themselves.”

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