Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Secures $850K in Funding for IAM Local 701’s Apprenticeship Facility 

Mar 15, 2024 | Politics & Legislative News


 CHICAGO, March 15, 2024 – Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) has successfully secured $850,000 in funding for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Mechanics Union Local 701 apprenticeship facility in Aurora, Ill., as part of the recent bipartisan government funding package.

The allocation will support the development and expansion of the Local 701 apprenticeship facility in Aurora. Opened in July 2023, the new facility opened with its inaugural cohort comprising 94 automotive and diesel mechanic apprentices.

Due to the hard work of the IAM Local 701 staff, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi secured funding for the training facility. Staff and members attended community meetings, office visits, and congressional events to advocate for additional funding for the facility. This funding was granted because of IAM Local 701’s outstanding track record in creating highly skilled technicians and their commitment to advancing technicians’ education.

“This program is a tremendous success, and we appreciate Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s belief in this program,” said Mark Grasseschi, IAM Directing Business Representative and Chairman of the Local 701 Training Fund. “This facility empowers our students with vital trades education, securing debt-free graduation and union employment. By meeting industry needs, we’re fostering highly skilled technicians. With this funding, we can further expand our facilities and elevate our training to another level.”

IAM Local 701’s apprenticeship program uniquely integrates hands-on experience with theoretical learning, dedicating one day per week to training while working full-time under IAM-represented employers. This approach equips apprentices with essential skills and allows them to earn a livelihood, access health insurance, and contribute to a pension plan.

IAM Local 701 actively engages with federal, state, and local legislators to secure additional grant opportunities to support students’ education. Notably, the organization recently secured a significant grant of one million dollars from the state of Illinois, thanks to the efforts of Illinois State Sen. Karina Villa. 

The roots of IAM Local 701’s apprenticeship program trace back to the 1990s when its founder, Sam Cicinelli, current IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President, initiated efforts to garner support from the Local 701 members before bargaining contributions from the represented employers with whom Local 701 holds contracts with. Over the years, the program has evolved, culminating in partnerships with approximately 496 shops, including 200 auto dealerships. These partnerships span various sectors, including automotive, trucking, forklift, auto/body repair, trailer, marine, heavy equipment, and public transit.  

“Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s advocacy and support for IAM Mechanics’ Local 701 underscore a commitment to investing in workforce development initiatives that empower individuals and strengthen communities,” said Cicinelli. “I want to thank our IAM Political and Legislative Department for their hard work and dedication to ensure this funding was included in the budget. This funding will help create highly-skilled technicians and help fill the high-demand jobs in the auto, trucking and other highly-skilled industries we represent.”  

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airlines, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries.

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