‘We’re training the trades’: Quincy business Impact Global gets $400,000 Illinois works grant

Impact Global

Robert Young is the construction trainer and Crystal Young is the administrator at Impact Global, which operates out of the Quincy Business and Technology Center, 301 Oak. | David Adam

QUINCY — A Quincy business recently received $400,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as part of the expansion the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program, which creates a talent pipeline of diverse candidates in construction and the building trades.

“We do more of the training to prepare folks who are looking to get a new career or a new skill,” said Crystal Young, administrator at Impact Global. “We’re helping employers employers address their job shortage. We’re training the trades.”

Impact Global, which launched about one year ago, operates out of the Quincy Business and Technology Center, 301 Oak. It was one of 30 recipients to receive part of $13 million in the Illinois Works program’s second year. The program will serve up to 1,400 pre-apprentices, a 40 percent increase from the program’s inaugural year. 

“The Illinois Works program aims to break barriers down for more women and people of color to take advantage of the thousands of jobs created by our state’s nation-leading infrastructure investments, while simultaneously creating a sustainable pipeline of qualified workers for an industry that is booming,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a press release. 

Young says underserved communities, with women as a focus, are the target of the Illinois Works grant. 

“Everybody is saying they can’t get workers, and they can’t maintain workers,” she said. “It’s not so much a shortage of jobs as it is a shortage of skilled people to step into those roles. People can’t really make it at Walmart. They can’t make it at Hardee’s. So we’re trying to create some head of household paid jobs.”

The Illinois Works grant is for construction jobs, but Impact Global also will train people in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. After four to five weeks in the classroom, students will learn tool safety, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines and preparing resumes. Young’s son, Robert Young, is the construction trainer for the pre-apprentice program, which lasts 12 weeks. 

“We’re going to start you off with several different occupations and let you make a choice,” Crystal Young said. “All of those occupations will take them from here to a good career. We’ve been talking about the program for several months, getting out and meeting people. Construction owners are like, ‘Send us people. We need them.’ They’re having a hard time recruiting job-ready folks.”

Impact Global will work with people to provide transportation, childcare and other supportive services. It also offers financial literacy classes to help people learn how to start their own business. 

“They’re going to have a good idea if there’s something they really want to do,” Robert Young said. “It’s giving you a chance to see what it’s like.”

The Illinois Works grant will allow Impact Global to help 40 people. 

“We’re trying to give an option, an alternative to going to a four-year school, spending a whole lot of time and possibly not coming out with a high-paying job,” Robert Young said.

Impact Global also provides pre-apprenticeship opportunities in cybersecurity, the maritime trades on the Mississippi River and in the healthcare industry.

“If a Quincy Medical Group or a Blessing Hospital needed us to help with training, we would work with them to possibly facilitate that, and they could better replicate that experience,” Robert Young said. “As an organization, we recruit the students, get them in here and get them assessed. See where their strong points are, what their interests are. If you want to be construction, and you’re good at math, then let’s talk about that.

During the first program year that concluded in December 2022, Illinois Works awarded nearly $10 million in funding to 22 organizations, supporting 1,024 participants across the state – most coming from diverse backgrounds.  

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