Illinois Works bid credit program open to boost construction jobs and equity

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

Applications are now open for the Illinois Works Bid Credit Program, marking a significant stride in bolstering equity and opportunity within the construction sector in Illinois.

The Illinois Works Bid Credit Program forms a pivotal component of the broader Illinois Works (ILW) Jobs Program, aimed at fostering inclusivity and amplifying job prospects for individuals from historically marginalized communities.

“We’re opening doors and breaking down barriers for our Illinois Works pre-apprenticeship graduates,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement. “With this new incentive, my administration is encouraging eligible contractors to hire apprenticeship graduates from historically disinvested communities in good-paying jobs in the construction trades.”

Learn more about the Bid Credit Program at an upcoming information webinar:

Advantages of the Bid Credit Program for Contractors

April 17, 2024 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Register
May 8, 2024 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Register

Designed for contractors engaged in or aspiring to undertake State of Illinois-funded capital projects, the program offers participants the chance to accrue bid credits by employing and retaining graduates of the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program.

Contractors can amass bid credits by hiring ILW Pre-apprenticeship Program graduates enrolled in a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program (DOL RAP) and deploying them on both state-funded capital projects and other construction endeavors. Subsequently, contractors can utilize these bid credits to vie for future state-funded public works projects.

“The Illinois Works bid credit program is a great example of what is possible when we invest in our state’s workforce,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “This program will not only provide opportunities for contractors across Illinois, but it will ensure ILW Pre-apprenticeship graduates have the opportunity to obtain long term employment and good paying jobs across the state.”

The program enables contractors to accumulate bid credits for up to six years per ILW Pre-apprenticeship Program graduate hired and retained, contingent upon their chosen trade. This framework enhances contractors’ competitiveness in securing future bids for state capital projects and facilitates the pooling of bid credits among contractors to bolster bid submissions.

Incorporating the Illinois Works Bid Credit Program into their operations grants contractors access to a diverse pool of skilled and certified ILW Pre-apprenticeship Program graduates, fostering compliance with state apprenticeship requisites, including the 10% apprenticeship goal outlined in the Illinois Works Apprenticeship Initiative.

The launch of the Illinois Works Bid Credit Program represents a pivotal juncture in the evolution of the Illinois Works Jobs Program, heralding a renewed commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the proliferation of apprenticeships within state-funded capital projects. Enacted in 2019, the Illinois Works Jobs Program Act aims to cultivate a talent pipeline of diverse candidates, aligning with the overarching vision of the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

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