Empowering Communities

ComEd Job Fair Connects Back of the Yards Residents to Careers in Customer Service

November 30, 2023

On a sunny, summer day along Ashland Avenue, the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council’s (BYNC) newest office served as the gateway to career opportunities at ComEd. On August 24, members of the community walked through the doors of this one-stop shop to apply for open positions in ComEd’s Care Center and the chance for an on-the-spot interview.

Job fair attendees applying to CSR positions at ComEd.

“I was looking for a company that would offer room for growth and learning opportunities,” said Nick Jett, job fair attendee and new customer service representative (CSR) for ComEd. “This event gave me the chance to get my foot in the door and personally meet the team I was hoping to join. This was more than a job fair to me, this was an opportunity for me to provide a stable life for myself and my family.”

In June, Susan Melendez, senior supervisor of customer service at ComEd’s Care Center, reached out to BYNC with a collaboration proposal — a job fair dedicated to connecting the community to resources and providing opportunities to pursue a life-changing career path with ComEd.

“As the company continues to grow and make strides in energy efficiency offerings for customers, ComEd’s Care Center has been on an ongoing search for talent, so where better to search than in our own backyard,” exclaimed Susan. “As a born and raised Chicagoan, it’s been a dream of mine to reach back and share the opportunities that have been offered to me to others in our communities who are looking to land stable, rewarding careers.”

Daniel Warren, job fair attendee.

A recent study, commissioned by ComEd, revealed that Illinois’ clean energy transition will bring as many as 150,000 new jobs to the state by 2050, including roles in customer support. The predominantly Black and brown community of Back of the Yards has an untapped wealth of talent. Many community residents have experience with customer-facing jobs and are bilingual, a valuable asset to ComEd’s increasingly diverse service region.

“Our community members will only call with burning questions or in a time of distress, so having customer support that reflects the community being served will ensure neighborly and culturally competent service,” said Craig Chico, president and CEO of BYNC. “We’re extremely happy to have hosted a company as prestigious as ComEd to offer not just jobs, but career opportunities in our community. The name ‘ComEd’ means something here. It means longevity, a family-sustaining salary, a full-time career, a place to retire from – all of which, in my book, is better than just a living wage.”

After completing the interview process, candidates start their journey to becoming full-fledged CSRs with a 17-day introductory course called 1st Step.  To date, 95 employees have graduated from 1st Step, with 23 more expected to graduate by the end of the year.

“It’s amazing to see how far technology has come in switching to clean energy, and it’s exciting to now be playing a part in this transition,” said Daniel Warren, job fair attendee and new CSR for ComEd. “When people around me, like my friends and family, learn I’ve joined ComEd, their reactions are always extremely positive because they know ComEd is the best in the industry.”

This summer’s CSR job fair was only one element of ComEd’s broader effort to recruit diverse, local talent for the clean energy jobs of the future. Whether the job is in electrical, finance, construction, engineering, customer service or another department, there are endless opportunities for stable and exciting careers at ComEd. For information on current job postings click here, or explore upcoming workforce training programs here.

Recent 1st Step Class, including Nick Jett, right, front row, and Daniel Warren, right, second row from bottom.