More Than 700 Diverse Residents Have completed ComEd CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy over the past decade
ComEd today hosted members of the community, corporate leaders and workforce partners at a graduation ceremony for the newest cohort to complete the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy. Today, 69 local residents graduated from the training program, which prepares skilled, diverse talent for growing jobs in the utilities and construction fields.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the CONSTRUCT program has provided skills training to help over 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 candidates for construction jobs in Illinois by strengthening job readiness and life skills and preparing for industry-required testing. Over the past decade, the program has expanded to include 40 corporate partners, including labor, construction companies, educational institutions and 10 workforce community partners working to recruit, train and prepare area residents for well-paying construction and related careers.
“Delivering clean, reliable and resilient power for the 9 million people we serve requires a strong and well-trained local workforce,” said Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “Through our continued investments in CONSTRUCT, ComEd taps into the strength and diversity of our communities to help us meet our clean energy demands of the future. I want to congratulate the latest graduates of the CONSTRUCT program and thank our coalition of partners who are helping diverse, local job-seekers receive the training they need for family-sustaining careers.”
CONSTRUCT exposes students to innovative solar and energy efficiency technologies to help prepare them to join the local future energy workforce. They gain knowledge and experience that helps qualify them for entry-level jobs with good-paying, livable wages. Participants can earn various certifications, including a Class A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 10-hour safety training certification via City Colleges of Chicago’s Olive Harvey College. CONSTRUCT participants also receive a stipend to supplement expenses during training.
“The ComEd Construct Infrastructure Academy training program offers residents 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 offers a unique opportunity to communities that have traditionally faced barriers to the industry and helps lead to transformative career opportunities for women and people of color. We applaud the program’s long-standing commitment to building and supporting the diversity of Illinois's well-paid construction workforce.”
During the 11-week training program, trainees access the program’s network of corporate partners, which positions graduates for full-time employment. Over 70 percent of graduates are placed into jobs. This year’s CONSTRUCT graduates reflect broad diversity, including 43 zip codes from across the region. 95 percent of this year’s graduates are minority, and 45 percent are women.
“We at IBEW Local 9 are proud of the relationship we have with ComEd and couldn’t be happier to be involved 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 each year, and hearing the many previous grads speak about their success in not only obtaining a job, but landing careers that have changed their lives and the lives of their families as well.”
"Intren is proud that we were one of the founding construction companies to partner with ComEd to launch the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure training program a decade 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 diversity in the workforce. We are proud to support ComEd’s efforts to prepare a diverse and bright workforce for the future, and we look forward to the next 10 years.”
CONSTRUCT is one of several education and training programs ComEd supports for participants before, during and after high school. Training opportunities for the trades include the Chicago Builds program at Dunbar High School through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS); as well as the ComEd sponsored Overhead Electrical Line Worker (OELW) Training at Dawson Technical Institute, which has graduated over 825 residents, with over a third of graduates hired to ComEd.
“The Will Group is committed to enhancing opportunities for individuals interested in the construction and electrical industries. Like ComEd, we believe in building a stronger and 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 for 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 provides various STEM education and college scholarship programs to boost exposure and to expand diverse participation in the energy industry careers.
“CONSTRUCT not only gave me insight to the various roles an electrician could pursue, but allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of electrical construction, what it takes to deliver a project from start to finish, and how to coordinate with the various players involved in powering electricity in 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 prideful work that teaches practical skills. With this new training under my belt, I look forward to the future.”
Recruitment for the CONSTRUCT program occurs in the fall, and classes begin in February. CONSTRUCT participants must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a valid driver's license, and able to pass a background check and admission interview. Applications will be available at ComEd.com/CareerTraining.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
ComEd Media Relations