vocational training

ELGIN – A new law will create a program to help ensure people enrolled in apprenticeship or work-based learning programs have the financial resources they need to succeed. The law, signed Friday, was supported by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

“This new pilot program will do wonders for encouraging people to get into the trades and helping those already enrolled in apprenticeship programs,” said Castro, a longtime advocate for career training and apprenticeships. “Reducing financial barriers will get more people into these programs and the workforce.”

The new law, formerly House Bill 5225, creates the Job Training Assistance and Support Services Pilot Program through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The program will award grants to organizations to distribute subsidies to individuals participating in an apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, or work-based learning program.

Subsidies may be used for things like transportation, housing, child care, education and other services.

“With labor shortages in almost every sector of the workforce, it’s time we find creative ways to encourage people to get into apprenticeships to get them into high paying, high demand jobs,” Castro said. “This program will help people afford important things while furthering their career.”

The legislation will also require DCEO to file a report evaluating the program’s effectiveness and whether it should continue.

The law was signed Friday.