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ComEd Celebrates First Graduating Class of New Job Training Program

The new Craft Academy program launched in August to prepare job seekers to meet the challenges of overhead electrical line work

CHICAGO (Aug. 19, 2022) — ComEd today announced the first-ever cohort of the ComEd Craft Academy program has graduated, with nine participants demonstrating the knowledge and physical competencies required to enter the craft workforce, comprised of roles in the skilled trades, including entry-level positions such as line workers and construction workers. The Craft Academy launched earlier this year to expand training opportunities for prospective skilled trades workers, a key focus of ComEd's plan to grow its workforce to meet the demands of the clean energy transition underway in Illinois.

"The men and women who work above and below ground and across northern Illinois to maintain our grid are essential to the work we do to deliver power safely, reliably and affordably for nine million people in the area we serve," said Diana Sharpe, Interim Vice President of Workforce Development for ComEd. "Never before has it been a more exciting time to join the energy field, and ComEd is investing in training programs that will help recruit more diverse talent to join our team and to learn new skillsets needed to power our clean energy future."

The launch of the program comes as ComEd has announced a new hiring plan to expand its workforce to help enable the clean energy transition, bringing aboard 500 new entry-level craft positions over the next three years. Graduates of the Craft Academy will develop skillsets that are prioritized in hiring for new frontline jobs at ComEd, including overhead helper positions that ComEd will begin accepting applications for later this month.

ComEd worked with local nonprofit and workforce training agency, Insituto del Progreso Latino, to recruit locally for the inaugural training program, which included primarily Black and Latino participants.

"As a nationally recognized leader in career pathways, Instituto is proud to partner with ComEd and its Craft Academy Program as it connects our community to exciting careers within ComEd," said Karina Ayala-Bermejo, CEO, Instituto del Progreso Latino. "Together, we are strengthening the pipeline into successful careers within ComEd that in turn are strengthening our communities."

During the three-week program, participants were exposed to a range of topics to prepare them for entry-level craft work, which requires knowledge of the skilled trades or construction. Training included: intensive CAST Exam preparation, a requirement for trade and construction jobs; the basics of pole climbing; field lessons taught by ComEd experts; and preparation on STAR method interview coaching. Upon completion, all participants will receive an $800 stipend, in addition to eligibility for scholarships.

"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," said Antuan Wilburn, a Craft Academy graduate from Lombard. "My journey began when I connected with ComEd at a career fair back in June. 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."

The Craft Academy is ComEd's newest workforce training program, and part of an expanding portfolio of programs designed to meet job seekers where they are and to expand pathways to skilled trades roles within the company. Last year alone, ComEd's workforce training and STEM education programs reached over 1,700 people across northern Illinois.

ComEd supports a range of other training programs to prepare residents for jobs in the trades, including the CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy, the Chicago BUILDS program at Dunbar High School, and the Overhead Electrical Line Worker (OELW) program at Dawson Technical Institute, which has graduated over 435 residents with 61 percent of them hired to ComEd. These programs focus on building a diverse and inclusive workforce, with opportunities available across the region, and for a range of ages, from high school to adults opting for a career change.

These programs also provide participants the training needed to compete for growing jobs in the utilities industry, an area expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead to support the clean energy transformation underway in Illinois. The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) estimates that 2,000 new utility jobs will be created in the Midwest in the next three years alone. Careers in utilities also offer job seekers competitive benefits and pay, with entry level craft roles earning nearly $29 an hour plus competitive benefits.

For more information on workforce training programs, please contact WorkforceDevelopment@ComEd.com or visit ComEd's website.

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ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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