Call for Applications: Trades Schools Program Grant (Illinois)

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is inviting eligible applicants to apply for the Trades School Grant Program to provide access and strengthen pathways to careers in the “trades” for young adults, particularly those in underserved communities marked by high youth unemployment, low graduation rates, or other relevant indicators.

Donor Name: Illinois Community College Board (ICCB)

State: Illinois

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 04/14/2023

Size of the Grant: $5,000,000.00

Grant Period: 1 year


The objectives of this grant are intended to increase awareness and access to sustainable wage employment in the trades for youth. Each grant proposal must address how the grantee will implement each objective.

  • Objective 1: Career exploration
    • Provide career exploration for youth (as low as middle school) as it relates to the trades.
  • Objective 2: Seamless pathways/credential attainment
    • Provide seamless education and training pathways to employment in the trades. These pathways may include providing CTE dual credit coursework to allow for students to earn a credential prior to or shortly after graduating high school; seamless transitions into the college using CTE Program of Study pathways and Model Programs of Study Guides, as well as career pathway endorsements. Development and implementation of stackable credentials as well as essential employability skills are also encouraged.
  • Objective 3: Work-based learning
    • Provide paid, work-based learning opportunities, such as pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and internship, to students participating in select training programs, as appropriate. Work-based learning not only provides students with hands-on training and application, but also provides them with applicable career-related employability skills.

Priority Activities 

  • Engage in partnerships
  • Develop and implement career activities
  • Implement and integrate equity-driven, evidenced-based practices

Funding Information

  • ICCB will provide $5,000,000.00 in grant funding opportunities to be administered to support Trade School Programs.

Project Period

  • June 1, 2023-June 30, 2024

Target Population

The intent of the grant is to prepare in-school youth for opportunities in trades programs. Primarily, programs should serve students enrolled in high school (including alternative high schools), particularly those in their junior and senior years, but may also create partnerships and pathways with middle schools for career awareness and exploration activities for middle school-age students. Additionally, grantees can work with out-of-school youth up to age 24, but the primary focus should remain in-school youth who will be transitioning to additional training and employment in the trades following graduation.

Allowable Activities 

The expectation is that applicants will propose activities that will align with statewide priorities around career pathway opportunities and activities that promote equity and diversity. Grantees should utilize existing frameworks and resources, where applicable. Other allowable activities to be carried out by grantees include:

  • Developing or Aligning Curriculum: Furthering the alignment of coursework by contextualizing and integrating basic skills or academic and career and technical education offerings.
  • Creating non-credit, short-term training programs that support minority students’ transition into trades programs.
  • Creating a program of study, inclusive of dual credit, for an in-demand industry sector, from high school to post secondary education.
  • Developing models that promote service integration with partner programs.
  • Developing a student support center model that will enhance services to underrepresented populations.
  • Developing support services models that include wrap-around services for basic needs including but not limited to housing, financial literacy, and other services thatwillreducebarrierstoeducationalsuccessforallstudentsincludingthosewho are homeless and those individuals with disabilities.
  • Other activities of statewide significance that expands career pathways and is aligned with labor market information as identified by local or regional needs.

Eligible Applicants

Community colleges in the State of Illinois are invited to submit proposals under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Community colleges must have demonstrated partnerships with the following as a part of this program: local high school(s), employers, and community-based organizations or labor organizations. Other internal and external partnerships are encouraged and can be detailed in the grant narrative.

For more information, visit Trades Schools Program Grant.