Building a diverse workforce to power a clean future for northern IllinoisSeptember 14, 2022
To meet the state’s ambitious clean energy goals, ComEd has a bold new hiring plan to add 500 entry-level employees to its workforce over the next three years. Job training programs are key to ensuring a pipeline of skilled workers. That’s why ComEd has launched its newest offering –the Craft Academy – to help job seekers gain the skills needed to obtain family-sustaining careers in energy and infrastructure.
“I am so glad I learned about this training program that will allow me an opportunity to provide a better life for me and my family,” said Antuan Wilburn, a Craft Academy graduate from Lombard, Ill. “My training in the Craft Academy will provide me the tools and experience I need to further my aspirations for a career in the energy industry.”
In August of 2022, Antuan and his classmates graduated from the Craft Academy after completing an intensive three-week program which exposed them to a range of topics to prepare them for entry-level “craft” work, which includes roles in skilled trades and on ComEd’s frontline energy crews.
The Craft Academy is the newest in a suite of industry-aligned career training programs supported by ComEd. ComEd is proud to partner with local workforce agencies to prepare more diverse and skilled talent for futures in the trades and energy sector.
“At ComEd, we are taking steps to expand access to job training programs today that will ensure more of our communities are prepared for the future of energy tomorrow,” said Laticia Holbert, Manager of Workforce Development. “New programs launched in the past year will help ensure more residents from the communities ComEd serves are able to tap into job readiness, training and supports needed to help them unlock not just a job, but a family sustaining career, with options in the fields of electrical, construction, administrative, and more.”
No matter your stage in life, ComEd has a job training program for you:
PROGRAMS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
- Launching in fall 2022, Powering our Future is a pilot program for students to explore careers in STEM and the trades at four Chicago Catholic High Schools. The program combines in-classroom and hands-on technical experience to help students explore career options and build skills to work in skilled trades.
- Chicago Public Schools’ Chicago BUILDs is a vocational trades program for Chicago Public Schools juniors and seniors that provides technical skills training in a variety of fields, including energy. ComEd sponsors this two-year off-campus program, led in part by local workforce agencies and labor union sponsors, for students aspiring to the skilled trades to explore careers and gain hands-on experience.
- Youth Ambassadors is an annual summer program delivered in partnership with After School Matters to expose Chicago teens to futures in STEM and clean energy. During the program, approximately 100 youth work alongside ComEd professionals each summer to learn about clean energy technologies, including solar.
- Tools of the Trade is a summer program for teens aged 17-19 that provides training on tools used in construction, introduces students to the types of jobs in the trades, and serves as a gateway to the field for aspiring energy workers.
PROGRAMS FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES
- CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy is an 11-week program that prepares local, diverse job seekers for entry-level roles in the utility and construction sectors. The program covers construction, math and engineering basics needed to prepare for jobs in the trades.
- CONSTRUCT Business Operations Academy is a six-week program designed to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates for entry-level administrative and project coordinator roles in the utility, construction, and related industries. Participants learn about business operations and project management; develop professional skills needed to succeed in an office environment; complete a capstone project with industry-specific case studies; and receive job placement and support services.
- Dawson Tech’s Overhead Electrical Lineworker Program prepares job seekers for entry-level craft roles in the electrical industry, including learning the art of climbing utility poles and developing the physical endurance needed to excel in overhead energy roles. Upon completion, students receive an Advanced Certificate from City Colleges of Chicago and job placement support. This training is for those who may have participated in other ComEd job training programs and are moving forward to apply for craft roles with the company.
- Craft Academy is the newest and most advanced ComEd-supported training, consisting of a three-week accelerated program designed to help those applying for entry-level craft roles in distribution or transmission operations. Participants learn advanced pole climbing and develop skills needed to demonstrate the requisite physical and math proficiency.
To ensure job readiness on day one, many entry-level positions require candidates to qualify on standard industry exams that assess math and physical acuity. To help job seekers meet job requirements for distribution and transmission craft roles, ComEd offers several resources, including:
- Practice Construction and Skilled Trades (CAST) tests
- Climb clinics in Rockford and Chicago to help learn the physical requirements of overhead work
- Workshops at its three training centers (Joliet, Rockford and Chicago) to help prepare for the interview process with the STAR interview approach