IWIB Newsletter
2022 Vol 4 Issue 1

Table of Contents:

  1. Spring Quarterly Meeting
  2. Evaluation Toolkit
  3. WIOA Summit
  4. Untapped Talent Second Chance Hiring
  5. IWIS Brings It All Together
  6. IWIB CIC Updates
  7. TDL Task Force Release Findings
  8. Apprenticeship Website Takes Center Stage
  9. IWIB Apprenticeship Illinois Committee Meeting Summary
  10. IWIB 2022 Meeting Dates

Editor's Note

Mike Conley, IWIB Newsletter Editor

As we cautiously emerge from COVID-19 protocols and mitigation measures, we find that far from being a blip in time, the pandemic may have completely changed the way Americans view work. Combined with changing attitudes about work-life balance among current and future generations of working-age populations, this global shutdown of public activity has caused existential shifts in workforce development strategies and the power dynamics of the employer-job seeker relationship. The critical labor shortage—at last count, some five million more jobs than unemployed people, about 1.8 jobs each—demands a fundamental change in how employers craft their recruitment and retention strategies. Add to that the advanced skills that are needed for many of those jobs, and the ratio becomes even more one-sided. Gone are the days when businesses and employers had the luxury of choosing from a deep and grateful talent pool. The need for high-quality training has never been greater, and the workforce system’s commitment to providing services to typically underrepresented populations has never been more crucial.

While plowing this new and potentially fertile ground, it is more critical than ever that we commit ourselves to measuring our progress, evaluating previously untested strategies, and remaining open to new methodologies, even as they test our own hidebound attitudes and philosophies. Let’s resolve to keep probing for answers to relieve the talent shortage that threatens to suffocate our shared economic recovery. Let’s live up to our name, and let innovation be our guide.

--Mike Conley, Editor

IWIB Newsletter

Spring Quarterly Meeting



The IWIB held its Spring Quarterly Meeting on March 17. Chairman John Rico opened the meeting by thanking member Margi Schiemann who has completed her term on the Board. Margi is just one of several members who will be rolling off the Board in the coming months, making it more important than ever for current members to nominate candidates for membership. Members should forward those names to Chairman John Rico. 

Director Sylvia Garcia shares recent activity at DCEO  

The IRS reported nearly 200,000 new business startups in Illinois during 2021, a record-setting increase of 69% that gave the state one of the highest numbers in the Midwest. Ten million dollars is headed to Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship to build a career pipeline that will help open pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities to underserved communities – especially in the constructing and building trades. Director Garcia also announced two NOFOs: RISE – help for towns and regions determining how to use COVID recovery funds, followed up with implementation grants, and Connect Illinois – $300M to roll out broadband. Implementation continues for the Climate and Equitable Jobs and REV Illinois Acts. 

WIOA core partner reports 

ICCB gave attendees a look at the various components of “Your Path. Your Future.”, the Illinois Adult Education outreach campaign. The goal of the campaign is to create a statewide brand and integrate that brand into existing Adult Education networks. They also shared the ICCB Campaign Scorecard, which showed they exceeded all targets. IDES reported applying for a $6.8M USDOL Equity Grant that will focus on increasing equitable access to unemployment insurance (UI). The Tiger Team grant ($5.263M) also supports equitable access to UI, providing funds for IDES to work with a federal team to identify challenges within Illinois’ UI system and implement recommendations. IDES completed their report by inviting members to attend a March 30 EDSI presentation on the National Governors Association Veterans Project.  

DCEO shared three success stories involving helping Afghan refugees get training and employment, a young single mother and her path to working in healthcare, and a laid-off older worker who was able to secure a job paying 50% more than his previous position after receiving help to market his skills. Apprenticeship Illinois saw a big increase in apprentices, growing from 484 to 1,054. DCEO reported that virtual job fairs were successful, with 56% of the business who participated indicating they would do so again. IDHS gave an update on some training they’re doing to help with outreach to underserved communities, targeting nursing homes/specialized mental health rehab facilities and those living with HIV who are transgender. Illinois Vocational Rehab was named one of the top-rated in the country for measurable skills gains – 62% in aggregate for local offices. 

Governor’s Illinois Workforce Equity and Access Commission work nearing completion 

The Commission has only two meetings left prior to preparing their final report. The next meetings have been rescheduled due to conflicts and will now be held on April 21 and May 19. Commission members Chairman Rico, Elba Aranda-Suh, and Victor Dickson encouraged members to attend the open meetings. Find out how to attend the meetings and learn more about their work at https://cwea.illinois.gov/. 

Unified State Plan Modifications submitted to USDOL 

The Unified State Plan Modifications have been submitted to the Federal Department of Labor in advance of the March 15 deadline. Themes addressed in the updated document included: ensuring equity and an accessible workforce system, increasing investment of state funds in the workforce system, leveraging new federal funds, and adaptability of the Workforce System and delivery. A presentation on the process and timeline for creating the 2024 WIOA Unified State Plan will be given at the WIOA Summit.  

Evaluation Toolkit seeks your feedback 

The Continuous Improvement Committee demonstrated the recently completed online Evaluation Toolkit and invited members to review, explore and provide feedback on the Evaluation Toolkit. You can find the toolkit at https://ilworkforceacademy.com/sample-page/evaluation-toolkit/. 

And finally… 

Plans are underway for the summer Quarterly Meeting, scheduled to be held on June 16. Currently, plans are to hold this meeting IN PERSON! Chairman John Rico invited members to contact him with ideas for venues.

Evaluation Toolkit

Evaluation Toolkit Goes Live!

Months ago, the Evaluation Workgroup of the Continuous Improvement Committee was charged with creating an evaluation framework for the WIOA system. The framework needed to include evaluation elements of policies, programs, and processes created or overseen by the IWIB to be used by the WIOA system. Using the 2020 U.S. Department of Labor Evaluation Toolkit “Key Elements for State Workforce Agencies”, as a framework, the Evaluation workgroup infused an equity lens throughout the toolkit and customized it to meet Illinois’ requirements. By deciding early on to make the Evaluation Toolkit a website, functional components such as videos, logic models, and active forms were able to be included.  

The Toolkit was recently piloted by the Apprenticeship Navigator Grant Program. They determined that the checklist found on the website was an effective tool for the evaluator to assess the components of the evaluation plan and even prompted the evaluator to review sections of the Framework to ensure proper guidance was followed. 

A demonstration of the Evaluation Toolkit will be presented at the 2022 WIOA Summit. Following that presentation, ongoing updates and edits based on feedback from the pilots will be made and professional development will be included. The toolkit will be under continuous review to determine its effectiveness. 


The Evaluation Workgroup would like your feedback on the toolkit. To provide feedback: 

  1. Visit the toolkit website here.​ 
  2. Click on ’Evaluation Framework Feedback Form’​ 
  3. Complete the form to provide feedback. 


2022 WIOA Summit

Economic Recovery and the Future of Work 

WIOA Summit 21.JPG

After one cancellation (2020) and one all online summit (2021), the 2022 WIOA Summit was presented in a hybrid format, allowing attendance either in person or online via the Whova app. Nearly 400 people attended the 1 1/2 day event, with an almost 50-50 split between virtual and in-person attendees. Steps such as social distancing, "handshake comfort level stickers", and readily available masks helped to create a safe environment for in-person attendees, while online attendees had the convenience of being able to attend remotely from the "COVID-safe" location of their choice!

Following the opening session featuring a video welcome from Governor JB Pritzker and in person greetings from DCEO, DHS, IDES, IWIB, and ICCB leadership, attendees received an update on the Illinois Governor's Commission on Workforce Equity and Access. The Commission, tasked with creating a vision for an equitable, accessible, and effective future-state workforce system, launched late last year and is slated to present a final report to the Illinois General Assembly later this spring. Following the opening sessions, attendees had over 25 breakout sessions to choose from, with topics all geared toward helping Illinois' workforce and employers bounce back from impacts of COVID.

Still need to complete the evaluation? If you attended the Summit, either in person or online, and haven't completed the evaluation - please take a moment to tell us what you thought. We'd love to hear from you! Complete the 2022 WIOA Summit Evaluation.

Couldn't make it to all the sessions you wanted to? Beginning May 23rd, you can view all of the 2022 WIOA Summit presentations and resources.

"Untapped Talent" Second Chance Hiring

Jeff Korzenik

Chief Investment Strategist for a major bank, economic researcher, and author of “Untapped Talent” Jeff Korzenik presented “Second Chance Hiring” at the IWIB winter quarterly meeting. In his presentation, Jeff explained the reasons for the shrinking labor force and why employers should look to untapped labor pools, specifically previously incarcerated individuals, as a source for candidates. Research shows that returning citizens are more likely to remain with the employers who hired them and are engaged, high performers. Jeff explains that a combination of a process connecting this population with the selection process and providing support to new employees who need to fill knowledge and skills gaps is the key to success for both employee and employer.

You can view the 17-minute presentation here. Learn more about Jeff Korzenik’s work at https://www.jeffkorzenik.com 

IWIS Brings it all Together

Illinois Workforce Integration System (IWIS)

Illinois workNet stores and processes a vast amount of information for the Illinois Workforce System. Recently, a development team from Southern Illinois University worked in collaboration with the DCEO Office of Employment and Training to develop the Illinois Workforce Integration System (IWIS) to integrate the many functions of workNet to help meet the requirements of the Department of Labor workforce program initiatives. With integrated service components that range from intake and referral to outcomes and assessments, the IWIS functions as a ‘virtual office.’ Once a participant creates an account, all their information can be accessed from a single location. 

IWIS launched its pilot in August 2021 with Apprenticeship Illinois System 1.0 (case management and DOL/WIPS Reporting). Business Outreach tracking capabilities were added with IWIS Apprenticeship 2.0 in February of 2022. The next IWIS iteration will add extended reporting and transparency capabilities. IWIS provides the Apprenticeship Illinois System with grantee tools and information, online application and initial assessment, eligibility and enrollment, case management tools, communication and case note tools, participant dashboard, business intelligence tools, engagement and transparency tools and program dashboards and reporting. 

While IWIS is currently used only for Apprenticeship Illinois and Youth Career Pathways, it can be used for any program in the workforce system. Pilot participants report that IWIS is intuitive and very user-friendly.  

If you’d like more information about IWIS, email info@illinoisworknet.com or check out IWIS for yourself by going here, clicking on the “Go to IWIS” link in the middle of the page, and logging into your workNet account.  

IWIB CIC Updates

Continuous Improvement Committee (CIC)

The IWIB Continuous Improvement Committee (CIC) has been receiving updates regarding how the American Job Centers (AJCs) throughout the State are navigating re-opening after pandemic shutdowns. Annamarie Dorr presented the most recent re-opening status to the CIC at the February 2022 CIC meeting. Currently, all LWIAs are open for service, with some open by appointment only.

The CIC was excited to hear an update regarding a readiness assessment conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor on best practices, technical assistance needs, and capacity in the American Job Centers. The report suggested that all 24 Illinois AJCs were prepared for reopening. LWIAs 7, 10, and DCEO were highlighted in the report and were recognized for promising practices including:

The report also mentioned two needs, including flexibility around services for at-risk youth and flexibility around shifting from a COVID virtual world to an in-person environment. The State requested additional technical assistance in both areas. 

There is also a reopening workgroup composed of members of the Illinois Workforce Partnership and regional managers. The collaborative work happening to support job-seeking customers is impressive, and we are excited that many promising practices were recognized.

Latest TDL Task Force Releases Findings

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL)

The Illinois Workforce Innovation Board’s (IWIB) Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) task force reconvened a little more than a year ago and in late August 2021 released its report of findings and recommendations for invigorating this critical workforce sector in Illinois.

 Studying TDL and seeking workforce solutions is a common practice in Illinois that goes back at least as far as 2006, when Industry Visibility and Image, Career Awareness, Truck Driver Retention, Workplace Skills Preparation, and the Capacity and Alignment of Education and Training Programs were identified as the five primary challenges to a more cohesive sector strategy. While all of those issues have been addressed in one way or another in the ensuing years, the health of the TDL sector remains a critical issue for Illinois in particular. Our state’s midwestern location and the prevalence of rail, air, waterway, and ground transportation hubs make TDL an existential employment sector for us, and many of the issues that were identified in 2006 remain, at varying levels of urgency.

Only two states in the nation feature more miles of interstate highway than Illinois, which boasts three coast-to-coast interstates and a number of other major east-west or north-south routes. Illinois is also home to the largest rail hub in the country, located in Chicago, along with major rail centers also located in Galesburg and East St. Louis. The state is rapidly becoming a center of activity for intermodal shipping facilities, including a state-of-the-art new facility in Rochelle and planned expansion in the Chicago area. O’Hare and Midway are the jewels in the air travel and shipping crown for Illinois but there are extensive cargo hubs in Rockford and Peoria as well. Waterways link Illinois from the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Gulf of Mexico from the Port of Chicago, the third-largest intermodal port in the world, to a dozen others located along Illinois rivers. Illinois boasts Foreign Trade Zones at Chicago, Peoria, the St. Louis region, Rockford, the Quad Cities, and Lawrenceville.

 In total, Illinois is a state with many natural advantages for TDL, which makes up a healthy 12 percent of total employment in the state, mostly in transportation and warehousing or wholesale trade. As with so many industries during the critical labor shortage the U.S. is experiencing, the lack of a sufficient talent pipeline continues to cast a large shadow over the vitality of the TDL sector here.

Some of the state’s efforts to boost the number of truck drivers in the state have produced fruit. The number of active Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) in the state has grown by over four percent since 2016, but even this increase of nearly 20,000 drivers has not kept pace with the growing demand.

This is a common refrain not only for truck drivers but across the sector. Progress is being made, but not quickly enough to meet a need that has only accelerated as a result of COVID-19 factors.

The TDL task force recommends measures to increase outreach and awareness among workforce leaders across the state, and in career exploration activities for K-12 students and others. Talent Pipeline Management strategies, strengthened capacity and alignment between industry and training programs, and cooperative solutions are seen as important functions in meeting the sector demand, along with a familiar culprit: a lack of soft skills and general workplace competencies that plaques nearly every occupational sector. Industry leaders must be willing to set aside proprietary tendencies and work together to grow the size of the overall talent supply.

There are no easy solutions to the labor gap in the TDL industry in Illinois and across the country, but mitigation efforts, data tracking and collection, and the prioritization of historically effective strategies are critical to the state’s overall workforce outlook and economic future.

Apprenticeship Website Takes Center Stage

Apprenticeship Illinois Website Updates

Apprenticeship Illinois takes center stage with its booming new website launched in 2021. Potential apprentices & employers can find amazing resources and information regarding the successes of apprenticeship programs around the state. The Apprenticeship Illinois Marketing Workgroup has achieved high praise for its boosting of website traffic including 1,632 hits to the website homepage, 712 hits to the apprenticeships webpage, 151 hits to the information center webpage, 128 hits to the employer's webpage, 93 hits to the IL initiatives webpage, 73 hits to the contact webpage, 21 hits to the IWIB Apprenticeship Committee webpage, 20 hits to the NAW 2021 webpage, and 18 hits to the Professional Development webpage as of March 2022. The current website traffic continues to increase providing value for businesses and employers, job seekers and employees, and economic development interests across Illinois. Apprenticeship Illinois commits the workforce system to being agents of change in the workforce and the new Apprenticeship website allows the workforce system to invest in the development of productive aspirational workers and close the skills gap.

Apprenticeship Illinois Committee Reports on Busy Quarter

IWIB Apprenticeship Illinois Committee Meeting Summary

The Apprenticeship Illinois Committee held its quarterly meeting via Zoom on March 17. In addition to regular business, attendees received an update from the Business Engagement Committee (BEC). The BEC shares many goals with the Apprenticeship Illinois Committee and has created two workgroups to help achieve those goals. The Industry Partnerships Workgroup is piloting a state-wide network of industry-specific champions that would layer over existing regional and sectional strategies. The Communications Workgroup (soon to be known as the Business Access Workgroup) has crafted a message that will effectively communicate the benefits of the Illinois Workforce Development System to Illinois employers. That message is currently being shared among IWIB committees for feedback. 

Lee Reese and Sheree Speakman shared information on income sharing as a tool for funding apprenticeship education (braided funding) and gave examples of successful income sharing efforts in other states. Braided funding could be a strategy for Illinois, by rolling WIOA youth and adult funding into monies that already exists for specific sectors. The sectors chosen for a closer look are healthcare, IT, manufacturing, education, supply chain, and TDL. 

Kim Kuchenbrod reported on Talent Pipeline Management (TPM), announcing that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed a public/private partnership to investigate how postsecondary training is funded. She also shared information about two new TPM trainings at the federal and state levels and indicated more training for navigators and intermediaries is in the works.  

DCEO, ICCB, IDES, and IDHS-DRS all gave their quarterly reports – along with the Marketing, Pre-Apprenticeship, and Youth Apprenticeship Workgroups. Chairman Mike Conley announced that the Apprenticeship Expansion grants are proceeding, many Illinois Works’ awardees have started their programs, and plans are underway to re-convene the Systems and Supports Workgroup. 

The next quarterly meeting of the Apprenticeship Illinois Committee will be held on June 16, 2022. 

IWIB 2022 Meeting Dates

(dates, times, and format subject to change)

Board Meetings (quarterly) 

Thursday, June 16, 1-3 pm TBD

Thursday, September 15, 1-3 pm TBD

Thursday, December 8, 1-3 pm TBD


All committee meetings are held via Zoom unless otherwise indicated 

Executive Committee (monthly) 

Monday, June 6, 10-11 am 

Monday, July 11, 10-11 am 

Monday, August 1, 10-11 am 

Tuesday, September 6, 10-11 am 

Monday, October 3, 10-11 am 

Monday, November 7, 10-11 am 

Monday, December 5, 10-11 am 


Apprenticeship Committee (quarterly) 

Thursday, June 16, 9-11 am 

Thursday, September 15, 9-11 am 

Thursday, December 8, 9-11 am 



Business Engagement  

Wednesday, February 23, 1-3 pm 


Continuous Improvement Committee (Monthly) 

Wednesday, May 18, 1-2:30 pm 

Wednesday, June 15, 1-2:30 pm 

Wednesday, July 20, 1-2:30 pm 

Wednesday, August 17, 1-2:30 pm 

September – TBD 

Wednesday, October 19, 1-2:30 pm 

November – TBD 

December – TBD 


Career Pathways Targeted Populations Committee (Quarterly) 

Thursday, June 30, 10–11:30 am 

Thursday, September 29, 10–11:30 am 

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