Villa obtains $500,000 for St. Augustine College pre-apprenticeship programs

AURORA – Thanks to a $500,000 investment acquired by State Senator Karina Villa, construction and building trades apprenticeships will be expanded in the 25th Senate District.

“The expansion of the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship programs will bring more opportunities to Aurora residents and boost the number of jobs in the area,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Growing job opportunities in the building trades will not only help individuals, but will help to build and strengthen our communities.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded $13 million in grants to 30 recipients, including St. Augustine College – Aurora, to expand the talent pipeline of diverse candidates in construction and the building trades. Through the program, St. Augustine students with diverse backgrounds will have greater access and opportunities to excel in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

Illinois Works has a total budget of $13 million for the second year to help expand access to the program across the state and serve up to 1,400 people. The Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program launched with the goal of increasing diversity and access to apprenticeship programs. Comprehensive pre-apprenticeship programs help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the construction trades and secure long-term employment.

“Finding work in today’s day and age can be difficult, and apprenticeships provide another avenue for people to pursue and advance their careers,” Villa said. “This program will provide a pathway for so many to get the support and job training they need to be successful.”

The program is designed to increase access to good-paying jobs in the trades for historically underrepresented populations. Participants of the program attend tuition-free and receive a stipend and other supportive, barrier reduction services to help enter the construction and building trades. Upon completion of the program, pre-apprentices receive industry-aligned certifications that will prepare and qualify them to continue to a registered apprenticeship program in one of the trades.

Information on the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program can be found here.