​Apprenticeship Expansion Program Notice of Funding Opportunity


The purpose of this NOFO is to identify qualified organizations to support apprenticeship expansion through the role of an Intermediary and/or a Regional Apprenticeship Navigator. The US Department of Labor (USDOL) Apprenticeship USA grants have helped build a strong infrastructure to support the expansion of apprenticeships in Illinois.  According to DOL, the state has increased the number of registered apprenticeships from 13,754 in Federal Fiscal Year 2016 to 15,186 in Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Although a solid foundation is in place, Illinois recognizes that resources will be required to meet the goal of expanding registered apprenticeships by 25% by 2020.  To achieve this goal, Illinois will leverage multiple initiatives to further integrate apprenticeship opportunities across workforce, education and economic development partners throughout the State.  

Grant Applications will be accepted through September 17, 2018.  Submit the proposal via e-mail to grantapplications@illinoisworknet.com, noting NOFO 82-580 within the Subject Line.  Applications will be considered based on the criteria outlined in this NOFO and the availability of funds.  

Program Goals

​The purpose of this NOFO is to request proposals from eligible organizations capable of implementing the priorities of Illinois’ Unified Workforce Plan and the Apprenticeship Committee.  Illinois recognizes that apprenticeships is a proven work-based learning strategy to help individuals connect to a career pathway for many different occupations, yet few organizations have the knowledge and/or resources to build their own program.  For Illinois to expand registered apprenticeship programs, the State must foster regional partnerships supported by intermediaries and navigators.  This NOFO will fund the following activities:

1) Apprenticeship Intermediaries that support demonstration projects including the recruitment, program administration and/or sponsorship of pre-apprenticeship and/or registered apprenticeship programs, 
Intermediaries administer the apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programs, coordinates with employers to hire apprentices, facilitates the provision of classroom or on-line instruction, and ensures fulfillment of other components of the Illinois Apprenticeship Plus Framework. Some examples of successful intermediaries might include, but are not limited to, Industry Associations, Local Chambers of Commerce, Community-based organizations, Local Workforce Partners, and Educational institutions including secondary, two- and four-year post-secondary institutions, and technical schools AND/OR

2) Regional Navigators to support business outreach with employers and workforce professionals to expand the use of apprenticeship as a work-based learning strategy. 
Regional Apprenticeship Navigators build capacity by developing and strengthening the knowledge, skills, abilities, processes, and resources that businesses, educational institutions, local workforce areas, and community partners need to create new or expand existing apprenticeship programs. This NOFO will fund Apprenticeship Navigators to implement a targeted approach to business engagement within Illinois’ 10 economic development regions.

Eligible Costs

​It is expected that 4-7 grants of $50,000 to $500,000 will awarded under this NOFO. The goal is to fund 2-3 projects in northern Illinois, 1-2 projects in central Illinois, and 1-2 projects in southern Illinois. Funding awards will correspond with the project’s anticipated outcomes and deliverables.   The Department of Commerce may elect to award larger amounts based on strength of application or performance during the grant period.  The Department of Commerce expects to award $1-3 Million in Apprenticeship Expansion grants.

Eligible Applicants

​The Department of Commerce places special emphasis on partnerships and sustainability within the Governor’s Economic Development Regions (EDRs) throughout the State of Illinois. Applicants should document how the project will impact workforce, education and economic development and be replicated throughout the State (if applicable). Proposals will be accepted from Organizations with the administrative capacity and a history of successfully implementing innovative pilots and other priority projects are eligible to apply for funding.

NOFO Materials

Apprenticeship Expansion NOFO (PDF)
Attachment I - Project Management Plan (DOC)
Attachment II - Program Activities and Outcomes (PDF)
2018 WIOA Budget Template for Apprenticeship Expansion Program (Excel)
2018 Apprenticeship Expansion Program  Application (PDF)


​Apprenticeship Business Engagement Guide (PDF)
Speak Language of Business (PDF)
Illinois Apprenticeship Plus Framework (PDF)
Apprenticeship Business Engagement Strategies in Action (PDF)
WRAP Career Pathways Dictionary (PDF)


Informational Sessions

Upcoming Sessions

NOFO Webinar Kickoff 
Date/Time: August 8, 2018, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon (CDT)
Conference Number: 866-803-3878

Bidders’ Conferences/Workshops 
All six (6) workshops will have two sessions:
  • Apprenticeship Grant Opportunity
  • Workforce Grants 101
  • Apprenticeship Expansion Grant Notice of Funding Opportunity Agenda (DOC)
  • Apprenticeship Notice of Funding Opportunity Announcement (DOC)
  • 2018 Illinois Apprenticeship Expansion Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF)
  • What is Apprenticeship? Flyer (PDF)
Click on the registration links to learn more.