ComEd recently celebrated the graduation of 69 residents who completed the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy training program.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the CONSTRUCT program provided skills training to help more than 700 participants from diverse backgrounds successfully complete the program and prepare for careers in the skilled trades.
Launched by ComEd in 2013 with a handful of community and corporate partners, the CONSTRUCT program increases the pool of qualified minority applicants for construction jobs in Illinois by building job readiness and skills life and preparing for the tests required by the industry. Over the past decade, the program has grown to include 40 corporate partners, including workers, construction companies, educational institutions and 10 community workforce partners working to recruit, train and preparing area residents for well-paying construction and related careers.
“Providing clean, reliable and resilient energy to the 9 million people we serve requires a strong and well-trained local workforce,” mentioned Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “Through our continued investments in CONSTRUCT, ComEd is tapping into the strength and diversity of our communities to help us meet our future clean energy needs. I would like to congratulate the latest graduates of the CONSTRUCT program and thank our coalition of partners who are helping various local job seekers get the training they need for family careers.
CONSTRUCT exposes students to innovative solar and energy efficiency technologies to help prepare them to join the future local energy workforce. They gain knowledge and experience that helps them qualify for entry-level jobs with well-paid, decent salaries.
Participants can earn a variety of certifications, including a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and a 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety training certification through City Colleges of Chicago’s Olive Harvey College. CONSTRUCT participants also receive a stipend to supplement expenses during the training.
“The ComEd Construct Infrastructure Academy training program provides residents with access to the most comprehensive preparation, support and connections to launch successful careers in construction and related jobs,” said Sharon Latson-Flemister, project manager for CONSTRUCT at Chicago Women in Trades, one of 10 training agencies. “This program provides a unique opportunity for communities that have traditionally faced industry barriers and helps create transformative career opportunities for women and people of color. We applaud the program’s long-standing commitment to developing and supporting the diversity of Illinois’ well-paid construction workforce.
During the 11-week training program, trainees gain access to the program’s network of partner companies, which positions graduates for full-time employment. More than 70 percent of graduates are placed in jobs. This year’s CONSTRUCT graduates reflect a wide diversity, including 43 ZIP codes from across the region. 95% of this year’s graduates are from minorities and 45% are women.
“We at IBEW Local 9 are proud of the relationship we have with ComEd and couldn’t be happier to be participating in the CONSTRUCT program again this year,” said Bill Niesman Business Manager, IBEW Local 9. “One of the most rewarding and heartwarming parts of our jobs is attending the CONSTRUCT graduation ceremony each year and hearing from the many previous graduates about their success in not only getting a job, but also land careers that have changed their lives and the lives of their families too.”
“Intren is proud to have been one of the founding construction companies to partner with ComEd to launch the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure training program ten years ago,” said Matthew Turk, COO of Intren. “This program has changed the lives of many by expanding access to construction jobs for local residents, with a focus on improving workforce diversity. We are proud to support ComEd’s efforts to prepare a diverse and bright workforce for the future, and look forward to the next 10 years.
CONSTRUCT is one of many education and training programs that ComEd supports for participants before, during, and after high school. Trades training opportunities include the Chicago Builds program at Dunbar High School through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS); as well as ComEd-sponsored training for overhead power line workers (OELW) at Dawson Technical Institute, which has graduated more than 825 residents, with more than a third of graduates hired for ComEd.
“The Will Group is committed to enhancing opportunities for those interested in the construction and electrical industries. Like ComEd, we believe in creating a stronger, more diverse workforce for construction-related jobs in Illinois,” said Stephen Davis, Chairman of The Will Group, an electrical company with a manufacturing facility in North Lawndale. “As a company, we are grateful to the ComEd CONSTRUCT program. Our partnership has provided job training and employment opportunities to several students who are now employees of our company.
Additionally, ComEd offers various STEM education and college scholarship programs to build exposure and broaden diverse participation in careers in the energy industry.
“CONSTRUCT not only gave me insight into the different roles an electrician could perform, but allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of electrical construction, from what it takes to complete a project from start to finish. purpose and coordination with the various actors involved in supplying electricity to communities”, said Daniel Saaverda, a graduate of CONSTRUCT 2022, trained by the National Latino Education Institute. “The CONSTRUCT program propels individuals, like me, into an expanding career field of proud work that teaches practical skills. With this new training under my belt, I look forward to the future.
Recruitment for the CONSTRUCT program takes place in the fall and classes begin in February. CONSTRUCT participants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a valid driver’s license, and be able to pass a background check and an admissions interview. Applications will be available at ComEd.com/CareerTraining.