The Put Illinois to Work program will end in mid-January.
The program provides government-subsidized $10 per hour jobs at no cost to employers.
Some critics questioned the cost of a program that doesn't guarantee permanent jobs. But Illinois Department of Human Services spokesman Tom Green said Put Illinois to Work has been a success.
"The intent of the program was to provide low-income individuals who traditionally face barriers to employment an opportunity to gain meaningful work experience," Green said. "So, there were 26,000 Illinoisans who have earned wages, while developing critical, marketable job skills, getting on-the-job training."
Green said about 2,500 workers have been hired into or promised full-time, unsubsidized jobs.
He said the program was initially funded with about $200 million in federal stimulus money. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn twice extended the program using state funds after federal funding expired September 30.