ComEd Job Training Programs Graduate Nearly 80 Area Residents

Community, corporate and workforce partners joined ComEd today for a graduation ceremony to celebrate 78 new graduates of two ComEd job training programs, the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy and Craft Academy. These programs are designed to prepare local residents for entry-level trades roles to create a skilled and diverse pipeline of talent to support the clean energy transition in Illinois.

ComEd’s collaboration with local workforce and community agencies to offer career and skills training programs is an essential component of building a diverse and skilled talent pipeline needed for the future. A recent study finds that as many as 150,000 jobs are expected to be created in Illinois by 2050 to support the state’s clean energy transition.

“ComEd will need skilled workers to help us to continue building a grid of the future that meets our customers’ evolving energy needs,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “Through our strong coalition of partners, we’re proud to offer workforce development programs that will help people within our region’s diverse communities gain roles in maintaining and modernizing northern Illinois’ power infrastructure.”

Both CONSTRUCT and Craft Academy programs increase the pool of qualified female and minority candidates for energy and construction jobs in Illinois by strengthening job readiness and life skills in addition to preparing for industry-required testing. Today’s graduates represent diverse backgrounds and come from across ComEd’s northern Illinois footprint; more than 90% of the graduates are people of color and 15 percent are women.

CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy:

Celebrating its 12th year preparing local residents for careers in the skilled trades, this year’s 69 CONSTRUCT participants join the more than 800 diverse program graduates, 70 percent of whom have landed jobs after graduation.

During the 11-week program, participants earn industry certifications including a Class A CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 10-hour safety training, prepare for the industry-required CAST (Construction and Skilled Trades) exam, and have the unique opportunity to shadow and learn from industry partners in construction and the utilities. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a stipend.

“I’ve been a carpenter for four years but joining CONSTRUCT has made me realize the great variety of career opportunities that lie in the utilities, and how these are only bound to grow due to the clean energy transition,” said Surezz Hunter, 2024 CONSTRUCT graduate. “The kind of support we received throughout the program to ensure we’re ready to land stable jobs is really special. I look forward to expanding my skills in the trades and making my family proud.”

Through a coalition of nearly 40 educational institutions, sponsoring companies, organized labor, and workforce community agencies, ComEd recruits, trains and helps match local residents to family-sustaining roles in construction and the trades.

“Central States SER, Jobs for Progress Inc. is proud to work with ComEd in removing barriers and providing the tools and support needed for individuals to enter roles in the growing energy field,” said Hugo Avila, co-director of Central States SER/SERCO, Inc.. “The opportunity for community members to build their skills for careers that offer economic mobility is life-changing, and we couldn’t be happier to be playing a part in supporting CONSTRUCT.”

"We are proud to work together with ComEd in expanding career opportunities for more community members while building a stronger, more diverse workforce for the construction field,” said Stephanie Hickman, President and CEO of Trice Construction Company. “Through our partnership with ComEd and CONSTRUCT, we have had the privilege of welcoming talented individuals into our team, each bringing their unique skills, perspectives, and experiences to the table that will have a lasting impact on our communities."

Craft Academy:

One of ComEd’s newest training programs, the Craft Academy, expanded this year from three weeks to five weeks to better prepare entry-level candidates for roles in the utilities and construction fields that require pole climbing and other physical attributes. Through class instruction and physical aptitude training, this year’s 9 participants were prepared to enter apprenticeship programs or entry-level field positions, including Construction Worker and Overhead Helper.

Since 2022, ComEd has hired more than 400 entry-level workers through the continuous expansion of training opportunities such as CONSTRUCT and Craft Academy. By creating new industry pathways via introductory career training, focusing on certifications and industry knowledge, ComEd is preparing to meet future talent needs. Last year alone these programs, combined with STEM offerings, helped reach 3,500 residents. To learn more on how to enroll in ComEd job training programs, please visit www.ComEd.com/CleanEnergyJobs, or contact WorkforceDevelopment@ComEd.com.

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 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, Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and YouTube.