CHICAGO – To help build back a better recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and train the next generation of workers, state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, is encouraging local businesses and organizations to join the newly expanded Apprenticeship Illinois program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was not just a health crisis, but also an economic crisis that upended jobs for thousands of workers in local industries, especially those in entertainment and the creative arts,” Collins. “As part of my commitment to building a stronger Illinois, I know we need to help more Illinoisans get back to work.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recently announced $8 million in new funding for Apprenticeship Illinois, including an expansion to train workers for careers in the creative arts and entertainment sector. DCEO will also use this funding to expand pathways in underserved communities for careers in health care, hospitality, manufacturing, technology and transportation.

To help local businesses and organizations take advantage of this expansion, Collins is encouraging them to join Apprenticeship Illinois as a navigator or intermediary grantee. Navigators will work with employers to match residents to skills training opportunities while intermediary grantees will develop industry-aligned curriculum to train apprentices. Interested organizations can apply online at through Sept. 15.

“In order to protect and expand our place as an economic leader, Illinois must prepare and train a diverse and skilled workforce,” Collins continued. “I am excited to see the expansion of apprenticeship programs in Illinois in order to build the best workforce possible and provide more opportunity to families in our community.”

Rep. Lakesia CollinsRep. Lakesia Collins

9th District

Springfield Office:
235-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8116

District Office:
2165 S. Millard Avenue
Chicago, IL 60623
(312) 298-9181