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CONSTRUCTing a Path to a Promising Career
Job Training Program Has Grads Excited About Their Future
Brandon Taylor isn’t looking for a job; he’s looking for a career.
“I’m looking for a career to better myself,” he says. “I’m ready to take care of business.”
Brandon is one of 95 recent graduates of the CONSTRUCT program’s spring class, the largest since the program started in 2013. He and his classmates completed nine weeks of job training designed to prepare students to compete for entry-level jobs in construction and energy-related fields.
The CONSTRUCT program began five years ago. The brainchild of a ComEd employee and contractor, today the program has graduated more than 300 students with an 80 percent success rate at job placement. As the program has grown, so has the curriculum. At the start, the program offered training for construction jobs; today it offers training for solar and energy efficiency jobs and more.
“This year, with the December 2016 passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act in mind, we added a three-day Solar Concepts Workshop and a session on how to identify where energy efficiency can be implemented in homes and businesses,” says Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of governmental and external affairs at ComEd.
“These courses were added because we, along with our partners, believe CONSTRUCT should continue to evolve and grow with the construction industry and the growing interest in renewable energy sources,” he says.
The Future Energy Jobs Act sets Illinois on the path to become a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency and is poised to create thousands of clean jobs.
Through CONSTRUCT, ComEd brings together 31 construction industry companies, 10 engineering companies, seven social service agencies, and three local energy companies to help increase job opportunities for minorities in neighborhoods throughout Chicago and northern Illinois.
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.