Workforce Development Grant Establishes Michael T. Carrigan Solidarity Scholarship

Scholarships open to union employees in good standing and union aspirants

A new Michael T. Carrigan Solidarity Scholarship program will provide funding support to Macon County (Ill.) union members in good standing or workers with a path of entry into a union. The new competitive scholarship program was established through an initial $10,000 workforce development grant awarded to the Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly by The Community Foundation of Macon County (CFMC). The scholarship awards must be used for the purpose of gaining meaningful employment, advancing a current career path or joining a union trades school.

The Michael T. Carrigan Solidarity Scholarship is named for a four-term Decatur councilman and union leader who rose to serve as president of the Illinois AFL-CIO from 2007-2019. The new scholarship program will be administered by Macon County union leadership to provide support for improving career prospects in targeted job sectors.

“We are thrilled to be naming this scholarship in honor of Michael T. Carrigan,” said Amy Rueff, Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly treasurer and Illinois AFL-CIO resource director. “Michael’s strong commitment to labor and community, combined with mentorship and training, specifically within the skilled trades, is why this scholarship bears his name. This is just one more step toward helping workers learn more, do more and become more.”

In addition to school tuition, apprentice application fees and general education diploma support, the Michael T. Carrigan Solidarity Scholarship supports the purchase of tools, work boots, clothing and specific items associated with the recipient’s trade.

“Union leaders have firsthand experience in dealing with the problems of workers who face multiple barriers to employment,” said Natalie Beck, CFMC CEO. “We are targeting workforce development funding into successful organizations, such as the Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly, who offer commitments to our community and successful integration into the workplace. A union-led workforce development scholarship is a win-win arrangement that will benefit employers, union members and our community.”

This is CFMC’s second workforce development grant establishing targeted scholarships. Earlier this year, the Foundation established a $10,000 annual scholarship to support students enrolled in the commercial driver’s license (CDL) program at Richland Community College.

Questions about the Michael T. Carrigan Solidarity Scholarship should be directed to Amy Rueff at or Natalie Beck at or 217-429-3000.