On Monday, economic power engines – ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas have joined forces with 30 construction industry companies and six social service agencies to help increase job opportunities for minorities in local neighborhoods throughout Illinois. CONSTRUCT partners held a special ceremony to announce the 2016 class of 64 participants who will go through the 11-week job training program that provides information and guidance needed to compete for entry-level jobs in construction-related fields.
“ComEd is committed to driving economic development in Illinois by creating jobs and offering training opportunities in our communities,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd. “Construct is designed to help ComEd develop its workforce of the future by drawing from the diverse talent in the neighborhoods we serve. This first-of-its- kind program brings utilities, labor, and community organizations together in an effort to expand and diversify the construction trades.”
To date, 150 students have participated in the CONSTRUCT program and nearly 80 percent of them have been offered employment. The success and continued growth of this program is due in great measure to the construction industry companies that are looking for good people to join their growing industry.
Partnering with Intren and the labor unions, ComEd launched the CONSTRUCT in 2013. It began with 10 companies and three social service agencies and now it has grown to include the three major utility companies in northern Illinois, 30 construction companies and six social service agencies.
CONSTRUCT is intended to address the construction industry’s overall need to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates for construction jobs in Illinois. Through the program, participants receive career guidance, life skills training, and practical education about the construction industry, as well as increased knowledge of requirements for entering construction-related fields successfully. Students also have access to special sessions to hear from and meet company representatives. There is the opportunity to job shadow, and to attend career awareness fair to learn about a range of potential job opportunities in the industry.
“As our industry continues to evolve, partnerships like CONSTRUCT will make a real difference in developing a pipeline of talent and cultivating the next generation of our energy workforce,” said Melvin D. Williams, president of Nicor Gas. “We look forward to our continued participation in CONSTRUCT, and working with our partners to help fuel the workforce of the future.”
“CONSTRUCT produces skilled, diverse graduates ready to enter the workforce. Peoples Gas is excited to join our peer utilities and partners to expand the program and create new opportunities in the communities we serve,” said Charles Matthews, president of Peoples Gas.
Participating companies include:
Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, Aldridge Electric, Inc., Asplundh, Burling Builders, Inc., Cathodic Protection Management, Inc., F.J. Paschen, S.N.Nielsen, Groundhog Utility Construction, Inc., Henkels & McCoy, Inc., Intren, Lindblad Construction Company of Joliet, Meade, MJ Electric, MZI Group, Nash Brothers Construction Company, NPL Construction, Osmose Utilities Services, PMI Energy Solutions, LLC, Primera Engineers, Trice Construction Company, The Will Group, The BarTech Group, David Mason & Associates, d’Escoto, Inc., HBK Engineering, Kairos Consulting, Millhouse Engineering & Construction, , The Roderick Group, USIC, V3 Companies, as well as labor organizations – IBEW Locals 9, 15, 19, 134, 196 – provide the support.
CONSTRUCT is run in parallel at six sites across the Chicagoland area by ASPIRA of Illinois, Austin Peoples Action Center, Chicago Urban League, National Latino Education Institute, Quad County Urban League and YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. These agencies will 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.