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For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
2021 CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy graduation goes virtual
CHICAGO (April 27, 2021) – For the ninth consecutive year, more than 90 students have graduated from the ComEd CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy, an 11-week job training program that increases the number of diverse, skilled candidates for construction and related jobs in Chicagoland and northern Illinois.
Created in 2013, CONSTRUCT increases the pool of qualified minority candidates for construction jobs in Illinois by strengthening job readiness and life skills and preparing for industry-required testing. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CONSTRUCT shifted from an in-person to a hybrid model with much of the program's training completed through virtual platforms.
"While the past year has challenged our communities, ComEd successfully graduated 92 local students from this year's CONSTRUCT program," said Diana Sharpe, vice president of economic and workforce development with ComEd. "CONSTRUCT brings together utilities, labor unions, non-profit organizations, construction companies, and other industry-related organizations to train and provide construction and related job opportunities for diverse candidates. ComEd congratulates the graduates for persevering to achieve their goal."
Since 2013, nearly 600 students have completed the program with 70 percent of them securing employment shortly after graduating – many of them women, African Americans, and Latinos who historically have faced barriers to entering these industries.
ComEd works with 10 non-profit training affiliates and more than 40 corporate partners to recruit, train, and hire candidates. A new agency for 2021 was Instituto del Progreso Latino, a community-based organization that has been nationally recognized for its workforce development and career pathway programs. The CONSTRUCT program also welcomed a new sponsoring company, Mortenson Construction, a family-owned construction company.
"ComEd's workforce development program has done a great job focusing on growth and sustainability in the economy while addressing economic inequities in their service territories," said Andy Stapleton vice president and general manager for Mortenson Construction's Chicago Operating Group. "We've spent the past year participating in human resource panels to equip graduates with the necessary interview skills needed to obtain entry level employment while also engaging in CONSTRUCT's kick-off and participant orientation. CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy is a well-run program and Mortenson is glad to be a part of it."
CONSTRUCT exposes students to innovative solar and energy efficiency technologies to help prepare them to join the local future energy workforce. They also had the opportunity to earn their Class A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 10-hour safety training certification. Program graduates are better prepared to enter into related fields with the knowledge and training that qualify them for entry-level jobs with good-paying, livable wages.
"For many of us, graduating from this program meant more than getting a job," said Zion Bracey, Austin Peoples Action Center participant and 2021 CONSTRUCT graduate. "Taking on the challenge of completing the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy program was an opportunity that allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. This program is a testament to ComEd's promise of building a better future."
Candidates for the 2021 CONSTRUCT program should be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a valid driver's license, and able to pass a background check and admission interview. Applications will be available at ComEd.com/CareerTraining.
CONSTRUCT also added new programming in 2021, including: Introduction in estimating, Intro into project management and a capstone project where agencies showcased students' experience.
For more information or questions about the CONSTRUCT program, contact WorkforceDevelopment@ComEd.com.
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