There are many little-known grants from the Department of Commerce Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for workforce programs and training with open applications right now and funding is still available for several. However, within the next month, several of those grants will reach their deadlines.

Digital Equity Capacity Kickstarter Grant Program

For this grant, the DCEO is seeking nonprofit organizations, local governments, public libraries, and school districts that will promote low-cost broadband programs, provide training on digital literacy, provide access to computers, or advance a community’s broadband access vision and goals. A total amount of $1 million is available, and awards may range from $30,000 to $300,000, with matching funds encouraged but not required. In order to be considered, entities must be pre-qualified, and you can find more information about it online. The application can be completed and submitted online, but the deadline is August 1 at 5 p.m. CST.

Energy Transition Navigators Program

In this program, selected Navigator Teams will connect individuals to the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) workforce and contractor programs and provide outreach and recruitment. Applicants should be nonprofit organizations with a history of serving low-wage or low-skilled workers or individuals from economically disadvantaged communities, and one team will be selected per each of the 13 regional hubs. A total of $6 million is available, with awards ranging from $250,000 to $600,000. The DCEO does request that applicants submit a notice of intent to apply online by July 27 at 5 p.m. and applicants must also be pre-qualified, but applications are not due until August 15 at 5 p.m. and can also be submitted online.

Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program

The DCEO will select nonprofits, including public colleges or universities, that will recruit, prescreen, and provide pre-apprenticeship skills training to help underrepresented populations successfully transition into full apprenticeship programs in construction and building trades. To fill current gaps in the program, the DCEO is especially looking for sites in Sangamon, Peoria, McLean, DeKalb, Kankakee, LaSalle, Rock Island, Whiteside, Marion, Lawrence, and Jackson counties as well as suburban Chicagoland. In total, $10 million will be offered with grants between $55,000 and $550,000. Like the other programs, pre-qualification is required and a notice of interest to apply should be submitted online. Applications will be open until August 30 at 5 p.m. and are also available to submit online.

A list of all open DCEO grants can be found on its website.

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