The Illinois Tollway Earned Credit Program

The Illinois Tollway Earned Credit Program (ECP) is a rewards initiative that allows contractors and subcontractors to earn bid credits toward future Tollway construction bids when they hire from a pool of qualified, pre-screened job candidates, including underemployed African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, women, eligible offenders and exonerated individuals, veterans and other Workforce Investment Act eligible individuals.



There are more than 20 construction contractors and subcontractors who hold active Illinois Tollway ECP certificates and hired and employed more than 200 ECP workers – most of whom now have union status.

The ECP is part of an effort to diversify and expand the pool of firms and individuals doing business with the Illinois Tollway.

Ensuring Qualified Candidates

The Illinois Tollway created the Earned Credit Program Advisory Council, which includes prime contractors and subcontractors, union representatives and training partners. Their mission is to promote the ECP program, refer candidates for hiring by contractors, identify candidate training needs and foster union partnerships.

Members of the Earned Credit Program Advisory Council:

  • Acura Inc. (DBE)
  • Black Contractors United
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Chicago Women in Trades
  • Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council
  • Christy Webber Landscapes (WBE)
  • Dawson Technical Institute
  • Federation on Women Contractors
  • F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielson
  • GFS Signage
  • Hispanic American Construction Industry Association
  • IFI Group
  • Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Employment Security
  • Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Lorig Construction
  • Moraine Valley Community College
  • Operating Engineers - Local 150
  • Plote Construction
  • Prairie State College
  • Quad County Urban League
  • Salute the Armed Forces
  • Senate Transportation Vice-Chair
  • South Suburban College
  • St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries Inc.
  • William Charles Construction
  • Women Construction Owners & Executives
  • Youthbuild Lake County

Be Part of the Earned Credit Program

Bid credits can afford contractors and subcontractors a bidding advantage in a highly competitive industry. A bidder can apply its ECP bid credits to lower the bid amount and increase the chances of winning the contract as the low bidder. Many contractors and subcontractors are already earning bid credits to apply to their next Tollway construction bid. Don't let them beat your bid when you could have the lowest bid using your own earned credits - start earning bid credits today! Multi-million dollar contracts have been won or lost on the basis of ECP bid credits submitted.

Retain the ECP worker and continue to earn bid credits on wages paid by your firm on any project in the State of Illinois. The ECP worker can continue to earn bid credits for your firm for up to five years. Since ECP bid credits do not expire, credits can be applied to future bids on Tollway construction projects.

How the Earned Credit Program Works

For Construction Contractors

Find Out if You're Eligible

Any union contractor or subcontractor who has had a previous Tollway construction contract, a current Tollway construction contract or who is seeking to bid on a future Tollway construction contract is eligible to participate in the ECP.

Hire ECP Workers Now

Contractors and subcontractors can contact the Tollway to request applicants from a pool of candidates with construction experience who are pre-qualified by the Illinois Department of Employment Security and meet state and union requirements. A list of qualified referrals will be provided by the Tollway for your consideration.

Sponsor the New ECP Workers Into a Union

If the newly hired ECP worker is not a current union member, contractors or subcontractors can sponsor the new worker into the appropriate construction trade union and receive a $5,000 bonus bid credit when the ECP worker has accumulated 160 hours or more of work.

Retain the ECP Worker and Continue to Accumulate Bid Credits

Put the new apprentice to work on a construction project anywhere in the State of Illinois and start earning bid credits at the following rates, which can be applied to future bids on Tollway construction projects.

  • Operating engineers and structural steel ironworkers: 50 cents for every dollar earned.
  • All other skilled union trades and fabricators: 40 cents for every dollar earned.
  • Union laborers: 30 cents for every dollar earned.

Market Your Firm to a Bidding Contractor

Subcontractor-earned credits can be added to a prime contractor's bid in order to increase the chances of winning the contract as the low bidder.

For Job Seekers

How To Become a Pre-Screened ECP Job Candidate

ECP Training Partners operate construction pre-apprenticeship training programs and pre-screen job candidates to meet specific physical, drug-free and other requirements. In addition, ECP Training Partners provide job training and readiness skills including resume preparation, interviewing techniques, confirmation of a high school diploma or equivalent and information about specific construction trade union requirements.

Contact a Tollway ECP Training Partner

The ECP Training Partner will provide the Tollway with resumes of pre-screened qualified job applicants, Illinois Department of Employment Security eligibility approval and Tollway candidate referral forms. The Tollway then forwards ECP job candidate resumes to contractors and subcontractors who have current job opportunities and have requested ECP candidate referrals. Contractors and subcontractors conduct the interviews and make the hiring decisions.

Bid Credit Schedule

Please be advised that requests submitted for ECP bid credits will be processed on the following schedule:

  • Monthly requests issued within one week.
  • Quarterly requests issued within two weeks.
  • Annual requests issued within three weeks based on volume.

This schedule ensures timely processing and provides contractors with up-to-date bid certificate information. All requests for ECP certificates must be made using Form 006 and be accompanied by appropriate union benefit reports.

For More Information

Contact ECP
ECP Special Provisions