The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the federal funding source for Career Link's resources and services. The WIOA program is designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system. Its goal is to help American youth and people with significant barriers to employment get high-quality jobs and careers as well as funding for training. WIOA also assists employers with hiring and keeping skilled workers. 

Who can apply?

Job seekers and students living in one of the many Central Illinois counties we serve may apply for a WIOA grant at the Career Link office in the county where they live.

Who might be eligible for WIOA training grants?

 If you are an applicant under the age of 25, please see additional ways someone can be determined eligible on our Youth page. If you are over the age of 25 and can answer yes to one of these three questions, contact Career Link for assistance.

  • Are you a member of a low-income household?  For example, do you or someone in your household receive public assistance such as SNAP, TANF, or SSI?

  • Are you unemployed through no fault of your own, eligible, receiving, or exhausted your unemployment benefits?

  • Have you been affected by a business closure or layoff?

  • Have you depended on the income of a spouse and lost access to that income?

Can I get a WIOA grant and collect unemployment?

Under the WIOA program, if you are receiving unemployment benefits, you can continue to receive them while you are taking classes. Although unemployment benefits are typically exhausted after 26 weeks, it is possible to work part-time, attend training, and stretch unemployment benefits up to a full year.

What types of training can I get?

Eligible and selected students can receive training in dozens of training programs at local area schools. Keep in mind that all training must lead to full-time employment. Training lists change as funds are targeted to occupations with the best wages and the best opportunities for local work. We train many people for careers in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, health care, transportation, and more. Most of the people we help attend a community college in programs that lead to a certificate or a two-year degree that leads to employment. 

Do you want to explore your options? A Career Link career planner can help you find the right job for you. Are you a prospective student? Explore the training programs available to you!

Do WIOA grants have to be paid back?

WIOA grants do not need to be paid back. If you are eligible to receive a free grant from WIOA, our staff believes you can accomplish your approved training goals. They also think you're capable of securing a full-time job at the end of your training. The grant is like free money but comes with the expectation that you will complete your training and go to work. Career Link receives funding to give out WIOA grants because of previous recipient success. Keep in mind that once you accept a WIOA grant, you agree to allow Career Link to monitor your job success for a full year after you complete your training.