State Employment and Training Programs


Summer Youth Employment Program

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will administer a grant program that provides eligible youth with age appropriate job training, life skills, counseling, work-readiness skills and supervised work experience.  This program presents an opportunity to connect youth to the skills that are needed to enter and advance in the workforce.  
Eligible applicants must have the administrative and fiscal capacity to administer the program according to the Department’s requirements and have the capability to be the “EMPLOYER OF RECORD” including the administration of a payroll system for the employed youth.   Priority will be given to projects that will target activity during the Summer of 2014 (starting June 1, 2014).  Eligible applicants include:
  • Community-based organizations throughout Illinois that have received state grant funds and successfully administered a summer youth employment program.
  • Community-based organizations that have not received state grant funds (for summer youth programs) that can demonstrate the capacity to run a summer youth employment program in the following counties: Adams, Alexander, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kankakee, Macon, Marion, Massac, Peoria, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Sangamon, St. Clair, Union, Vermilion, Williamson, Winnebago.
Eligible youth that can participate in the program must be the age of 16 to 24 and be served under one of the following programs or meet the income requirement:
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Workforce Investment Act
  • Food Stamp / SNAP Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or
  • Family income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
  • Court-involved or at-risk youth
  • Youth with disabilities
Department of Commerce applications for funding are due by April 25, 2014.  Funding is subject to appropriation in the Department Fiscal Year 2015 budget.  Please note that the 2014 Summer Youth Program with be coordinated with multiple state agencies.  Organizations will not be awarded contracts and/or grants from multiple agencies to administer the summer program.  Organizations that have administered the program in previous years are encouraged to apply to that same state agency.  The participating agencies include:
Additional information regarding this program is posted on-line at Questions regarding this program should be directed to Department of Commerce Grant Manager Tammy Stone at or 217.557.5549.

Job Training And Economic Development

The Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) Grant Program assists low-wage, low-skilled workers to advance in their careers, and helps unemployed, disadvantaged people learn skills necessary to secure employment. The program provides grants to not-for-profit community-based organizations (CBOs), which work with small local businesses to develop curricula, train eligible workers, and provide ongoing support. CBOs can establish a partnership with a local business to provide training to its low-wage workers, thereby expanding their skills and advancing their career opportunities. In addition, CBOs can work with local economic development organizations and employers to identify local industries experiencing problems recruiting skilled entry-level workers, training economically disadvantaged individuals (including welfare recipients) in the needed skills and placing them in employment with these companies.

Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) Grant Opportunity

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is announcing the release of the Fiscal Year 2015 Request for Application (RFA) for the Job Training and Economic Development Grant Program. The period of performance will be from June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2017. The approved budget will cover expenses for the same period of time.  Proposals must be received by the Department no later than the end of the day on January 28, 2015. Following are the links to the Grant Application Instructions and Application Submission Format.

General Information

The Job Training Economic Development Grant Program (JTED) was created in 1998 with the following program goals:

  1. Foster local economic development by linking the needs of the low wage/low skilled employed worker with the work force needs of local industry,
  2. Foster local economic development by linking the needs of the disadvantaged individual including welfare recipients with the work force needs of local industry.

Community-based providers (CBO) are to work in partnership with local businesses to provide training to those persons enrolled in the program to meet the skill need of local industry.  Community-based providers act as a connection between local employers in need of a better trained workforce and their low wage/low skill workers.  Partnerships between community-based providers and local employers are established that provide a mechanism for information exchange and training programs.

Community-based providers establish partnerships with economic development organizations to identify local industries having difficulty recruiting skilled entry level workers.  The goal of the program is to develop training programs that link the work force needs of local industries with the job training and placements needs of disadvantaged persons in the community.  Partnerships are formed with local employers to design and deliver training programs for disadvantaged persons.  Successful completers of the training are placed into employment with participating employers.

With these goals established, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will award grants in two categories:

  • Category 1 — Industry Linked Training for Low Wage/Low Skilled Workers
  • Category 2 — Industry Linked Training for Disadvantaged Persons



To be eligible for a JTED grant under either category:

  • Category 1 — Industry Linked Training for Low Wage/Low Skilled Workers
  • Category 2 — Industry Linked Training for Disadvantaged Persons

The respondent to this RFP must be a not-for-profit organization with a local board of directors that directly provides job training services.  The not-for-profit organization must have a history of serving low wage/low skilled workers and/or disadvantaged persons.  Such organizations are referred to as “Community-based Providers” in the Act.  Eligible applicants include current entities operating JTED grants.

For more information on the JTED program, please email:
Tammy Stone


JTED Success Stories

Robert Pays it Forward for GWTP Trainees
When Shipping and Receiving Training Program graduate Robert McKinney speaks to current training classes, participants pay attention because he’s been in their shoes.
Just over three years ago, Robert was serving the last of a 14-year prison sentence. Upon his release, Robert held a series of jobs without financial or career stability. “I got out just as the economy collapsed,” recalls Robert, “it was difficult for everyone to find good work, let alone someone with a record.”
An ad in a job magazine for Greater West Town Project’s Shipping and Receiving Training Program piqued Robert’s attention, and he applied to the program.   Funding made available from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Job Training and Economic Development Program enabled Robert to enroll in training.  Even with no prior experience in shipping and receiving, Robert quickly advanced in class. “I had been through several job training programs before coming to Greater West Town,” said Robert. “None of them prepared me for a career like they did.”
Within weeks of completing over 380 hours of accredited training, Robert graduated and found a stock handling and warehousing position with a local company. “Learning to present my skills and demonstrate my character in an interview was critical,” reflects Robert. “I was able to be upfront and honest about my background, while also making sure that they saw I was more than what was on my resume.”
Within months of his hire, Robert’s skills were evident, as was his desire to learn and grow with the company. “Greater West Town really impressed the need to keep busy, to be professional, and to be a valuable asset for the company. I cross-trained whenever possible, which helped me advance in my role.”
Less than a year with the company, Robert was hired into a logistics position that had been unfilled for over two years. “They had a hard time finding the right fit,” notes Robert, “the skills I gained at GWTP were just what they needed.” He now makes over $19 an hour with full benefits including health, vision, and profit sharing plans.
A year and a half after his graduation, Robert often returns to GWTP to speak with training classes. He stresses the need to pay attention in class and be diligent with the training, treating it like a job. “The small things make a big difference,” instructs Robert, “it’s important that [trainees] really listen and do their best. If they do, GWTP provides all the keys they need to succeed.”



JTED Training Spotlight: Kyle Karsten

Kyle Karsten started at C. Cretors, a company that makes industrial popcorn machines, as a drill press operator.  As an entry-level operator, Kyle had no formal training and relied on more experienced employees to set up the machine between jobs.  After seeing a flyer posted at C. Cretors for the Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining program at JARC, Kyle asked if he could attend and the company sent him to the class using funding provided by JTED.
The training at JARC sparked Kyle’s interest in machining and the company signed him up for a second class, CNC Lathe.  In the Lathe class, Kyle worked closely with JARC’s instructor to prepare for the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) CNC certification.  NIMS are a nationally-recognized industry credential that requires programing and machining a complex part.  Kyle passed the NIMS CNC Milling test, and signed up for another CNC course at JARC where he passed the CNC Lathe test. 

Two years after starting training through JTED Kyle is now an Assistant Lead and supervises CNC machinists at C. Cretors.  He operates every machine at the company and handles their most complex machining jobs.  He is also a more efficient machinist, saving C. Cretors time and money by reducing run times and material scrap rates.  The value that Kyle’s new skills bring to the company has resulted in significant wage increases and a promotion at C. Cretors.  This year Kyle has started teaching CNC Machining classes at JARC and has inspired other machinists to attend training classes.