On Nov. 30, 2023, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced $500,000 she secured through a Fiscal Year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) Request will be sent by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to Illinois’s Revolution Workshop to help support its 12-week pre-apprenticeship construction job training program.
This federal funding will help grow Revolution Workshop’s programs that offer skills training for good-paying jobs for Illinoisans and build economic equity in historically underserved communities.
“Our state and our nation are stronger when we invest in our communities and families—and that’s one of the things Congressionally Directed Spending allows us to do,” said Duckworth. “I’m so proud I was able to secure this critical support for Revolution Workshop, and I’m dedicated to ensuring Illinois continues to build upon our career training efforts. Investing in workforce development—and in working families—is key to uplifting our state and building a better future.”
“It is critically important that we support multiple authentic pathways to economic mobility, especially for communities in our country that have been historically excluded from opportunities,” said Revolution Workshop Founder and Executive Director Manny Rodriguez. “Having leaders like Senator Duckworth that understand and value the impact of the work that Revolution Workshop and others throughout the State of Illinois are doing is vital in our effort to provide equitable access to family thriving careers.”
With sites in Chicago’s Roseland and East Garfield Park neighborhoods, and soon in East St. Louis, Revolution Workshop aims to reduce economic, educational and career inequities by providing Illinoisians in marginalized communities with construction skills training and job placement through its Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training Program.
Through its partnerships with developers, contractors, unions, community colleges and other community-based organizations, Revolution Workshop works to eliminate barriers to entry in order to diversify the talent pipeline in the construction industry while decreasing the talent shortage.
With this funding, Revolution Workshop will also work on the development and implementation of a new pre-apprenticeship pathway to introduce Illinoisans to more careers in the construction sector such as engineering, architecture and construction management.
The CDS process does not represent new spending, rather it enables Members of Congress to allocate existing funding for specific local projects by units of government, nonprofit organizations and other organizations that meet strict eligibility requirements.
In FY22, Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) secured $211 million through Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) for Illinois and another $182 million for Illinois in FY23. A map detailing where funding has gone throughout Illinois can be found here.