There is a state-wide program, Illinois Works Jobs Program, promoting diversity in the construction marketplace. With individuals who have traditionally had a limited presence, a significant employment opportunity will present itself in the construction workforce for the first time. Could we eventually experience an uptick of start-up construction companies from this program? Yes, it is likely.
In December of 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation reinforcing a component of Rebuild Illinois to heightening diversity in construction apprenticeships and building trades. This legislation, titled “Illinois Works,” was designed to secure Illinois-residents would both benefit from capital projects and have every opportunity of pursuing a career in construction or trade work – regardless of zip code or ethnicity.
While the industry is in full shortage, impacting productivity and quality, it is also highly under-represented by women as well as minorities. The Surety Association of America, as well as the surety industry as a whole, has been involved in fostering programs to help start-ups, women, and minority-owned firms set-up for bonding through involvement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and other organizations.
While the construction marketplace has essentially zero unemployment at the moment, the ongoing struggle to attract new, younger professionals continues. Statistics in this regard are magnified in the number of minorities and women entering the industry. Rebuild Illinois can be the very piece to change this historical trend.
Specifics to the Illinois Jobs legislation:
- $25 million investment
- Works through community-based organizations in recruiting new apprentices for construction work
- Apprenticeship participation goal set at 10 percent on public works projects
- Adds reinforcement to the Illinois Works Program to deliver the building and maintaining of a diverse workforce on Rebuild Illinois projects
Where Horton Comes in For You
Start-up construction firms eventually evolving out of this program will need to obtain their ‘first bond,” depending on the work they bid and dedicate themselves to their success. Horton’s surety operations have programs and surety markets that focus on helping these newer firms. Bond kits that offer easy-to-issue pre-executed license and permit bonds offer a great introduction to the surety. Our experience in the surety industry and our knowledge of how to structure a balance sheet and a presentation to the surety marketplace to maximize bond program capacity while minimizing the costs associated with the same is a valuable consultative addition to a newly formed construction enterprise.
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