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20 ILCS 605/605-415

    (20 ILCS 605/605-415)
    Sec. 605-415. Job Training and Economic Development Grant Program.
    (a) Legislative findings. The General Assembly finds that:
        (1) Despite the large number of unemployed job
seekers, many employers are having difficulty matching the skills they require with the skills of workers; a similar problem exists in industries where overall employment may not be expanding but there is an acute need for skilled workers in particular occupations.
        (2) The State of Illinois should foster local
economic development by linking the job training of unemployed disadvantaged citizens with the workforce needs of local business and industry.
        (3) Employers often need assistance in developing
training resources that will provide work opportunities for individuals that are under-represented and or have barriers to participating in the workforce.
    (b) Definitions. As used in this Section:
    "Eligible Entities" means employers, private nonprofit organizations (which may include a faith-based organization) federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) administrative entities, Community Action Agencies, industry associations, and public or private educational institutions, that have demonstrated expertise and effectiveness in administering workforce development programs.
    "Target population" means persons who are unemployed, under-employed, or under-represented that have one or more barriers to employment as defined for "individual with a barrier to employment" in the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act ("WIOA"), 29 U.S.C. 3102(24).
    "Eligible Training Provider" means an organization, such as a public or private college or university, an industry association, registered apprenticeship program or a community-based organization that is approved to provide training services by the appropriate accrediting body.
    "Barrier Reduction Funding" means flexible funding through a complementary grant agreement, contract, or budgetary line to increase family stability and job retention by covering accumulated emergency costs for basic needs, such as housing-related expenses (rent, utilities, etc.), transportation, child care, digital technology needs, education needs, mental health services, substance abuse services, income support, and work-related supplies that are not typically covered by programmatic supportive services.
    "Youth" means an individual aged 16-24 who faces one or more barriers to education, training, and employment.
    (c) The Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) Grant Program may leverage funds from lump sum appropriations with an aligning purpose and funds appropriated specifically for the JTED program. Expenditures from an appropriation of funds from the State CURE Fund shall be for purposes permitted by Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and all related federal guidance. The Director shall make grants to Eligible Entities as described in this section. The grants shall be made to support the following:
        (1) Creating customized training with employers to
support, train, and employ individuals in the targeted population for this program including the unemployed, under-employed, or under-represented that have one or more barriers to employment.
        (2) Coordinating partnerships between Eligible
Entities, employers, and educational entities, to develop and operate regional or local strategies for in-demand industries identified in the Department's 5-year Economic Plan and the State's WIOA Unified Plan. These strategies must be part of a career pathway for demand occupations that result in certification or credentials for the targeted populations.
        (3) Leveraging funding from a Barrier Reduction Fund
to provide supportive services (e.g. transportation, child care, mental health services, substance abuse services, and income support) for targeted populations including youth participants in workforce development programs to assist with a transition to post-secondary education or full-time employment and a career.
        (4) Establishing policies for resource and service
coordination and to provide funding for services that attempt to reduce employment barriers such as housing-related expenses (rent, utilities, etc.), child care, digital technology needs, counseling, relief from fines and fees, education needs, and work-related supplies that are not typically covered by programmatic supportive services.
        (5) Developing work-based learning and subsidized (or
"transitional") employment opportunities with employers, to support the target populations including youth that require on-the-job experience to gain employability skills, work history, and a network to enter the workforce.
        (6) Using funding for case management support,
subsidies for employee wages, and grants to eligible entities in each region, as feasible, to administer transitional job training programs.
    (d) For projects created under subsection (c):
        (1) The Department shall give a priority to projects
that include an in-kind match by an employer in partnership with an Eligible Entity and projects that use instructional materials and training instructors directly used in the specific industry sector of the partnership employer.
        (2) Participating employers should be active
participants in identifying the skills needed for their jobs to ensure the training is appropriate for the targeted populations.
        (3) Eligible entities shall assess the employment
barriers and needs of local residents and work in partnership with Local Workforce Innovation Areas and local economic development organizations to identify the priority workforce needs of the local industries. These must align with the WIOA Unified, Regional, and Local level plans as well as the Department's 5-year Economic Plan.
        (4) Eligible Entities and Eligible Training Providers
shall work together to design programs with maximum benefits to local disadvantaged persons and local employers.
        (5) Employers must be involved in identifying
specific skill-training needs, planning curriculum, assisting in training activities, providing job opportunities, and coordinating job retention for people hired after training through this program and follow-up support.
        (6) Eligible Entities shall serve persons who are
unemployed, under-employed, or under-represented and that have one or more barriers to employment.
    (e) The Department may make available Barrier Reduction Funding to support complementary workforce development and job training efforts.
    (f) The Department shall adopt rules for the grant program and shall create a competitive application procedure for those grants to be awarded beginning in fiscal year 2022. Grants shall be awarded and performance measured based on criteria set forth in Notices of Funding Opportunity.
(Source: P.A. 102-16, eff. 6-17-21.)