To advance the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) objectives of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (Public Act 102-0662 or “CEJA”), and reflecting the Illinois Power Agency’s own commitment to DEI, the Act directed the Agency to establish an Equity Accountability System, which established:
- Minimum Equity Standards
- The Equity Eligible Contractor category within Illinois Shines
- Requirements for competitive procurement processes that advance the equity goals of the Act.
In addition, the Act further establishes several required monitoring, reporting, and facilitation requirements to support the assessment of the Equity Accountability System, and one such requirement is: Training, guidance, and other support for Approved Vendors, Designees, Equity Eligible Contractors, and other stakeholders for meeting the requirements of the Equity Eligible Contractors category within Illinois Shines and the Minimum Equity Standards.
In 2023, the Agency and its Program Administrator for Illinois Shines developed a Mentorship Plan to support minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned or small businesses with the goal to help those new Program participants learn about Program requirements and application procedures. In October 2023 the Program launched the inaugural Illinois Shines Mentorship Pilot, an eight-week program that concluded in December 2023 and included an engaged cohort whose participation will strengthen further mentorship offerings in the Program. This page makes available several resources that have been developed in this area:
- A report summarizing the inaugural Mentorship Program is now available
- Frequently Asked Questions from the Mentorship Program’s eight sessions
- In addition, the Illinois Solar for All and Illinois Shines programs published a joint-program Small and Emerging Business Guide in order to support new businesses that are seeking information on how to get started participating in the Illinois Power Agency’s solar incentive programs.
A project category hub provides additional information and resources for Equity Eligible Contractors, and additional Illinois Shines support can be accessed by contacting Conner Rettig, Equity Eligible Contractor Sector Strategist, at [email protected] or the Program Administrator team at [email protected].