castro insulinELGIN – State Senator Cristina Castro celebrated the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity’s announcement Friday of an all-new, $40 million annual grant program under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that will provide funding to communities undergoing a significant energy transition.

“Passing CEJA was a massive undertaking and the opening of the Energy Transition Community Grant Program is just the beginning,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “CEJA isn't just about lowering emissions, it is also about economic development, workforce training and building a better future for all Illinois communities.”

Under CEJA, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will invest $40 million per year for the Energy Transition Community Grant Program that will help communities transitioning away from coal mines and fossil fuel plants and prepare the state’s workforce for the jobs of the future.

Grants are designed to support localities in addressing the economic and social impacts on the community or region of plant or mine transition. Eligible uses of grant funds include workforce development, financial assistance for unemployed or underemployed residents, support for childcare, affordable housing and other projects outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity here.

“I am proud to have worked over the last few years on an ethical clean energy plan to bring Illinois to the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis,” said Castro. “This investment will help make sure that our fight won’t leave impacted communities behind.”

Based on criteria laid out in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, 22 areas across the state have been identified as eligible to apply for phase one of the Energy Transition Community Grant Program. If a locality believes they may be eligible under CEJA and are not included on the list here, they are encouraged to submit phase one application documents. After localities submit documentation to express interest, they will prepare a detailed application with a budget and specific project plan that includes community input.

Interested communities should review the Notice of Funding Opportunity page on DCEO’s website here. To learn more about future program development and CEJA funding opportunities, sign up to receive updates here.