Job Training Program Applications

The Career Pathways website is a robust search tool that combines Chicagoland job training, community college  and apprenticeship opportunities with relevant information for applying. Job training programs have a wide variety of application processes. Below is a quick sampling of alternative programs offered by colleges and private programs  and links to their website for applying.

A Sample of Job Training Programs

CCC job training programs offer Basic Certificates (usually one to two semester programs) and Advanced Certificates (usually two to three semester programs).  These are popular certifications that lead directly into a job and/or career field.

Links to Example Programs

  • Quick Facts
    • These programs offer apprenticeship-style learning, where after successful completion of the first semester, students are supported to find jobs at related dealerships so they can earn while they learn.
  • Links to Programs
  • A private EMT-training program which costs $700 total and takes 6 months to complete. 
  • They offer flexible payment plans and provide all other equipment free-of-charge. 
  • At the end of the program Elite supports its students to pass the EMT-b licensing exam, and once licensed they provide immediate opportunities for students to work shifts on their ambulance fleet. 
  • For students who want to “stack” their EMT license by going back to school for their Paramedic’s license, Elite offers a tuition benefit at Malcolm X College if the student agrees to work for Elite as a Paramedic for two years.
  • Check course schedules and locations and sign up here.
  • Locally-based job training provider offering FREE 6-9 month certification programs in Food Lab Tech, Health Information Tech and Advanced Manufacturing. 
  • Post-certification CHICAT supports the student to get their first job in the career field.
  • There is an application on the website and programs start up at least twice-a-year.
  • Primarily serves students of color to complete FREE job training programs through their Workforce Development Center.  
  • The Urban League offers high quality certification programs in advanced manufacturing, supply chain management, hospitality, cyber security, construction and the fast-growing solar energy field. 
  • Post-program the Urban League works with local hiring partners to help students quickly find jobs in their career fields. 
  • Programs start up at least twice-a-year. For more information on General Workforce Development Programs, contact Andrew Wells, Director of Workforce Development, at 
  • Primarily serves students from the Hispanic community, but also welcomes students from other minority groups. 
  • Instituto offers FREE certification programs in nursing, CNC machinery and retail sales. 
  • Programs generally run 4-6 months in length, with training classes occurring 4 days/wk, with daytime or evening class offerings. 
  • Post-program Instituto works with local partners to help students find jobs in their career fields right away.
  • It is recommended that all interested students attend a virtual orientation session to learn more.
  • Based in downtown Chicago, YearUp provides a unique job training model, which offers 6-months of FREE classroom learning in a specific field and then places students into a 6-month internship with a major Chicago company in that field. 
  • Students are paid a stipend throughout the program. 
  • YearUp is currently offering job training in I.T., financial operations, sales & customer support, business operations, and software development. 
  • YearUp positions are highly sought after due to the successful track record of post-program job placement, therefore there is an application and interview process students should take seriously and prepare for. 
  • View this link for the application steps and sign-up for an information session.
  • Job Corps is sponsored by the federal government and recommends that participants live on-campus in their modern living facilities. 
  • The program is entirely free and participants are paid a small stipend. 
  • Job Corps provides regular meals, events, social activities and sports facilities for its students. 
  • Students focus on one of dozens of job training programs including culinary arts, plumbing, cyber security, hospitality, automotive technology and many more. 
  • Each Job Corps center offers different programs, so you may have to go to a facility out-of-town to find the career pathway you want. 
  • At the end of the program, Job Corps works with local hiring partners to help participants land that first job. 
  • Check out the Chicago Job Corps page for the list of programs offered in this city.
  • Ready to apply? Fill out this enrollment interest form.
  • Skills pairs City Colleges of Chicago programs with large, corporate job providers to offer FREE training programs which include both a certification process and a paid job. 
  • Current partners include Walgreens, Freedman Seating, McDonalds, CDW, AT&T, Hyatt hotels, Accretive Health and Rush University Medical Center. 
  • Training programs run for a year or more, but participants are working for the partner company for the majority of their program. 
  • View the webpage link for more information about program offerings, the current schedule (with COVID-19 considerations) and how to apply.

Search for Jobs, Know Your Options

Spotlighted Programs

Programs offered by Chicago Women in Trades includes:

  • Technical Opportunities Program
    • TOP is a Union Construction preparation pre-apprenticeship program.
    • Our FREE 12-week, 180-hour training program will help you learn about all the different Trade options you could pursue as a career; like Carpenters, Electricians, Ironworkers, Pipefitters, Laborers, Plumbers, Painters, Sheet Metal Workers, Bricklayers, and much more!
    • In TOP, you’ll learn hands-on skills, job site safety, physical strengthening, and classroom work to prepare you to successfully take the different Union Apprenticeship aptitude entry exams.
    • We also assist with applying to the Union Trade Apprenticeship program openings of your interest
  • Women in Welding Program
    • Welding is a universal skill that is in high demand. CWIT’s FREE Welding Program prepares women with the skills to build a career in manufacturing, welding & metalworking construction trades.
    • FREE 12-week, 288-hour Training Program

The construction trades are a pathway to good jobs with wages that are on par with occupations that require a Bachelor’s degree but without years of college or the debt.  View this guidebook to learn more about a career pathway in the construction trades, including average salaries of various trades.  This glossary of terms is a useful resource to define terms associated with the construction trades.   Below are some programs to explore:

City Colleges of Chicago programs with union partnerships:

Pre-Apprenticeship Programs:

  • ABC’s Community Builders program, aimed at providing entry-level skills to construction job seekers in 10 Chicago disadvantaged communities, claims 100 students trained with a 60% employment rate with some students still in process.
  • Technology Center of DuPage provides training in welding, HVAC, and carpentry for 24 DuPage County high schools.
  • Chicago Urban League has a long history placing workers in construction trades, particularly with private developers, City of Chicago, and IDOT-supported programs. It currently operates 8-week pre-apprenticeship and referral and job placement programs. It maintains close union relationships.
  • Revolution Workshop is a community-based organization providing pre-apprentice training and entry level skills training in various trades including carpentry, electrician, and plumbing. It features a 10-12 week program, with 87% completion and 90% of completions placed. About 100 students have completed since the program began three years ago. It is located on Chicago’s West Side.
  • Illinois Department of Transportation Highway Construction Careers Training Program provides a three-month training program in 10 Illinois community colleges. The program is free. Dawson Technical Institute enrolled 261, completed 240, and placed 124 in Fall, 2019. South Suburban College enrolled 348, completed 233, and placed 149 in Summer, 2019.
  • ConstructionWorks, operated by Illinois Tollway and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, uses community-based partners to train participants in basics of various construction trades for apprenticeship or employment, and offers contractors bid credits and limited pay reimbursements for hiring participants.

The African American Firefighters and Paramedics League was founded in 1968 by Jim Winbush and Les Outerbridge. It was created to be a catalyst for social justice and upward mobility and has always remained dedicated to the community.  Part of our mission is to prepare and educate youths within our community for a future career within the fire service, while simultaneously giving direction and guidance through example and application.

Why the job is for you:

  • $66-98k starting salary in 4 years
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Health insurance
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Paid holidays
  • Retirement plan
  • Brotherhood


  • Must be 18 years old by 12/31/2021
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Resident of Chicago at the time of hire
  • Pass a background check
  • Drivers license

Coding “bootcamp” programs offer online training in a tech field in a short amount of time.  These generally operate as for-profit businesses, so it’s advised that you do your research to evaluate whether or not a program is a good fit, such as speaking to alumni or current students.  Several programs offer payment options that allow you to defer payment until you secure a job or tuition refund guarantees if you do not secure a job after graduation.  It’s important to take a look at the job placement support and results and any fine print for these programs.  Here are some examples:


  • Full-time and part-time options
  • Courses in software engineering, data science, data analytics, UX/UI design, technical project management, and digital marketing.
  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Tuition refund if not hired within 6 months of graduating

Flatiron School

  • Full-time or flexible (learn at your own pace) programs
  • Programs in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and product design
  • Scholarships available

City Colleges of Chicago

The Basic Nursing Assistants (BNA) program at Malcolm X prepares students to work in the healthcare industry as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Students are introduced to the discipline of nursing and the basic approaches to patient care.

Hearts 2 Heal CNA and CPR Training

The Nursing Assistant and CPR Training Program consists of an 8-12week course with day and evening offerings that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.

The Chicago Apprentice Network is working to bridge the gap by raising awareness of apprenticeship and helping more businesses establish successful apprentice programs to offer more opportunities to more people in Chicagoland.  Since 2017, the Chicago Apprentice Network has grown from three founding companies – Accenture, Aon and Zurich North America – to more than 50 companies across multiple industries.  An apprenticeship is an earn and learn model with:

  • An intent of making the candidate job ready for a specific role
  • A combination of classroom learning and employer-site on the job training
  • A living wage paid to the apprentice
  • An opportunity to convert to full-time employment immediately upon successful completion of the program

Access points for apprenticeship vary. Some opportunities are offered through a community college or other education provider. Some employers accept applications directly, during specific periods or ongoing throughout the year. Other opportunities originate with nonprofits, which refer candidates to businesses offering apprenticeships.   Explore opportunities here.

Relativity Fellows is a program offered by software company Relativity, which tackles challenges in legal tech, data privacy, and security.  Fellows will play an important role in helping create an industry that reflects our communities. In return, participants of the Relativity Fellows program will receive:

  • Guaranteed full-time job upon successful completion
  • 5 months of in-depth learning, mentoring, and support
  • Health care coverage and competitive pay

All Fellows will receive in-depth training on the Relativity product, and some participants, depending on placement role, will pursue Relativity certification.  Learn more about the program here and complete this form if you are interested in becoming a Relativity Fellow!

Digital Scholars is an intensive, five-week-long program (June 27, 2022 – August 2, 2022) for high school students and incoming freshman and current students at UIC or City Colleges.  Applications for Summer 2022 will be accepted beginning October 1st.

The program is intentional about serving CPS and Chicago-area students, first-generation, and students of color. The program is free. Support is also provided for those in need of a device for e-learning.  Apply here.

In order to qualify for the Digital Scholars summer program students must:

  • Submit a completed application, including academic transcripts and one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or activity leader.
  • Have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Demonstrate an interest in Computer Science and related fields (e.g., computer engineering, computer and data science, entrepreneurship, etc.).
  • Express interest in attending the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and apply for admission to UIC for Fall 2023.
  • Eligible for high school sophomores to graduating Seniors.
    • (Graduating seniors must be entering UIC, an Illinois Community College, or City Colleges of Chicago in Fall 2022)
  • Be able to work both independently and in groups.
  • Express interest in a future career in the Chicago Tech community.

Students accepted into the program must attend a mandatory online orientation meeting with a parent or guardian. The orientation will introduce students to the UIC – DPI Digital Scholars program, expectations, offerings and more.

In partnership with P33, DPI launched TechReady Illinois in June 2020 to help Illinois residents affected by COVID-19 gain new digital skills.

To help unemployed, furloughed and underutilized Illinoisans compete for these jobs of the future, TechReady Illinois will provide training courses for the high-demand fields of computer science, data and engineering programs.

Courses are offered in one of four tracks, with opportunities to obtain a certificate upon completion. These include:

  • Data and analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Software development

Participating institutions include the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois System, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and City Colleges of Chicago. To participate, residents complete virtual courses, some conducted by faculty from participating academic institutions. Others are run by non-profit partners, including National Able’s IT Career Lab and i.c.stars. Many of these courses lead to industry-recognized certificates.  Learn more here.

The Comp-U-Dopt IT Pathways Program is a rigorous, immersive learning experience that introduces participants to knowledge and skills in Information Technology and helps them explore careers in IT. The program combines curriculum from Cisco Networking Academy and Comp-U-Dopt to equip students with essential IT technical knowledge and skills, as well as career readiness competencies. Students will receive support from a Cisco-certified trainer to prepare for the CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam, an entry-level computer industry certification.  Learn more about the IT Pathways program here.  To register, click here.

What You Should Know About Job Training Programs

Job training programs are not easy. They usually require students to be on-time (often before 9am) on the job site, in uniform, with any relevant tools and equipment, ready to learn! They are setting you up for success in a career field that is going to eventually make you good money and provide you opportunities for professional growth, so they expect that you are going to take the opportunity very seriously. It is recommended that students applying for job training programs follow these key guidelines:

Do your research before you apply:

  • Set up an appointment with the job training provider (Skills, CHICAT, YearUp, etc.) to learn more about the careers, or 
  • View information about the different opportunities at 

Clear your schedule:

  • In addition to the hours you are going to be at the facility learning and training there is often homework or the opportunity to take on additional practice hours on weekends (especially in the automotive, construction and culinary fields). 
  • We strongly suggest that you protect your time and limit other commitments for the short and intense job training period. 

Determine how you will pay:

  • Students completing job training programs may find they need additional funds.
    • Discuss your situation with mentors or teachers at your job training program.  Teachers often have inside knowledge about local resources for students that can help them get by for the period of time they are in the job training program. 
  • Only if absolutely necessary should a student consider borrowing money to stay in their job training program.  Here is a safe option:
    • Sallie Mae offers the Career Training Smart Option Loan which is designed to fit the needs of students enrolled in a technical school or vocational college. The program offers low interest rates, flexible repayment options and rewards for on time payments. 

While this document provided by the IBEW specifically focuses on construction and electrical apprentices, the advice here can be applied to anyone in a job training program.

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