ComEd, together with 31 construction industry companies, two local utilities, and seven social service agencies, held a special ceremony on April 28 for more than 90 participants who have successfully completed CONSTRUCT, a 9-week job training program that offers participants the information and guidance needed to compete for entry-level jobs in construction and energy-related fields.
The 90 most recent participants were part of the fifth group to go through CONSTRUCT since its inception. The program is designed to address the construction industry’s overall need to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates for construction jobs in Chicago and northern Illinois. Career guidance, life skills training, and practical education about the construction industry are part of the program, as well as increased knowledge of requirements for entering construction-related fields successfully. New this year, the curriculum was updated with courses focused on the growing fields of solar power and energy efficiency, auto cad, and high rise residential construction.
CONSTRUCT offers instruction and access to special sessions where students can hear from and meet company representatives. There is the opportunity to job shadow, and to attend a career fair to learn about a range of potential job opportunities in the industry.
To date, more than 310 students have participated in the CONSTRUCT program including the 90 new participants this year, up 30 percent from 2016. The success and continued growth of this program is due in great measure to the construction industry companies that are looking to hire local, diverse candidates to join their workforce. Participating companies include:
ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, Aldridge Electric, Inc., Burling Builders, Inc., “D” Construction Company, F.H. Paschen S.N.Nielsen, Groundhog Utility Construction, Inc., Hen- kels & McCoy, Inc., Intren, John Burns Construction Company, Lindblad Construction Company of Joliet, Magellan Development, LLC, James McHugh Construction Company, Meade, MJ Electric, MZI Group, Nash Brothers Construction Company, NPL Construction, Osmose Utilities Services, PMI Energy Solutions, LLC, Primera Engineers, Trice Construction Company, The BarTech Group, David Mason & Associates, d’Escoto, Inc., HBK Engineering, Kairos Worldwide, LiveWire Electrical & Construction, Milhouse Engineering & Construction, The Roderick Group, V3 Companies, as well as labor organizations – IBEW Locals 9, 15, 134, 196 & the Chicago Area Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust (LECET) – provide the support.
Having electric utility ComEd, which serves nearly four million customers across northern Illinois, join forces with Nicor Gas and Peoples’ Gas, to continue this life-changing program is a testament to their understanding of and diligence in fulfilling their commitment to communities.
“We are ready and committed to train the next generation of the energy industry, with candidates from our local communities who are technologically skilled, innovative, and diverse,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd. “This program is a win-win for both the students and also the companies who benefit from having such a trained pool of candidates ready and eager to get to work.”
“The CONSTRUCT program brings tremendous benefits to students who want to advance their careers and learn about exciting new technologies in the construction industry and beyond,” said Cynthia Williams, president and CEO of the Austin Peoples Action Center. “With hard work and dedication, it has the potential to change their lives, their family’s lives, as well as the communities as a whole.”
CONSTRUCT is run in parallel at seven sites across the Chicagoland area by ASPIRA of Illinois, Austin Peoples Action Center, Chicago Urban League, National Latino Education Institute, Quad County Urban League, SER Jobs for Progress, and YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago and South Suburbs-Homewood. These agencies help identify and train the program participants using various common eligibility and completion requirements, and are committed to working with each participant to provide job counseling and placement services.
Understanding the need to help knock down barriers to entry for construction-related fields, CONSTRUCT launched in May 2013 out of a partnership between ComEd, Intren and the labor unions. What began with ComEd, 10 companies and three social service agencies has grown to include Nicor Gas, Peoples’ Gas, 31 companies and seven social service agencies.
To complete the program, participants must attend at least 95 percent of all full class days and have taken select tests, among other things. Upon completion of the program, participants can choose any number of career paths, from applying to work with the participating companies and satisfying any applicable union requirements, to applying to ComEd or employers in other sectors.
While completion of the program does not guarantee a job, individuals who complete the program successfully are expected to be qualified, knowledgeable, and ready to compete for construction jobs in Illinois.
Anyone interested in applying should contact the agencies directly.
The agency contact numbers are:
ASPIRA of Illinois–773-252-0970;
Austin Peoples Action Center–773-378-8760; Chicago Urban League– 773-285-5800; National Latino Education Institute–773-247-0707, ext. 223; Quad County Urban League–630-851-2203, ext. 222; SER Jobs for Progress–773-542-9030; and YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago–773-955-3100