ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – If you are looking for a new career path, here is your sign.

State Rep. Maurice A. West II (D-67), announced $400,000 in grant funding for the Education Design Development and Research Foundation Rockford on Friday.

The funds are part of the $9.6 million in statewide grants Governor Pritzker and DCEO announced this week under the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program and will focus on diversifying the workforce of well-paying jobs in the construction industry and building trades.

“The trades offer people in our city an opportunity to develop skills and engage in a well-paying, lifelong career,” said West. “I am excited that these funds will not only help create a pipeline of talented workers that will keep our trades strong but will also work to break down barriers and provide services to ensure our trades workers are more representative of our community.”

According to a 2020 report from the Illinois Department of Labor, only 4% of Illinois apprentices are women and only 29% are people of color. This lack of diversity remains a crucial reason to invest in equity and inclusion programs that create a qualified talent in construction and the trades.

For more information about EDDR Foundation Rockford, their current programs, and future offerings, please reach out by phone at (312) 852-7331 or email

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January 14, 2022 at 06:10PM