Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has signed new legislation to create the Illinois Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (iGROW) Tech Act, which will establish a new program that allows students majoring in technology fields to receive tuition grants.
“The talent, creativity, and innovative capabilities of tech leaders in this state has propelled Illinois to the forefront of international tech success,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Our best asset is our top-tier workforce, and that’s why we’re taking steps every day to push the bar higher and deliver new opportunities for every student. I’m proud to sign this legislation that will train and recruit the next generation of tech leaders and continue growing Illinois’ thriving tech sector.”
The governor’s office said in a press release that the iGROW program will be administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and will be open to students enrolled in associate or bachelor’s degree programs at public or private colleges and universities. Students in IT fields can receive a grant amount up to the total cost of attendance.
“The future of our state depends on how well we prepare our students for opportunities in the field of technology. That is why the Illinois Graduate and Retain Our Workforce Tech Act (iGROW) is a fundamental piece that will create a path to impactful and sustainable jobs,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “As we look at the workforce of tomorrow, we are confident that Illinois students will have the skills to succeed.”
The program, initiated by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, is intended to help increase, foster, and retain Illinois’ tech workforce. Pritzker’s office noted that the Illinois Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes an appropriation to ISAC of $2 million to pay for iGROW. The program is set to begin for the 2024-2025 academic year.
“We live and work in a world of rapidly expanding technological opportunity, and very often students are the first to see the new horizons ahead,” said State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr. “The iGrow Tech Scholarship program is about training and recruiting our talented and motivated young people for these high-tech, high-paying jobs. By preparing students today with the skills that will be in the highest demand tomorrow, we’re putting our young people and our state on the cutting edge of the 21st century economy.”