ComEd partnership with local workforce agencies has helped train nearly 2,400 residents since 2017, supporting equitable clean energy expansion in Illinois
ComEd today announced that more than 681 Illinois residents completed clean energy training programs in 2021 to prepare them for jobs in the growing fields of solar and renewable energy. Last year’s program saw continued gains, with an overall 89 percent graduation rate and 83 percent job placement rate, with participation from diverse residents across the state of Illinois. ComEd reported the training outcomes to the Illinois Commerce Commission on July 1, 2022, as part of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA).
Since launching the training program with 11 local agencies in 2017, ComEd has supported 2,393 participants in completing industry aligned jobs training, including a more than 80 percent job placement during the life of the program. The year over year success of the FEJA training programs are helping provide talent needed for clean energy expansion in Illinois, which calls for growth of new renewable energy technologies, including solar.
“ComEd is working to prepare our communities for the transition to a clean energy economy, which will bring new investment, air quality improvements and jobs to our communities,” said Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “Access to comprehensive training and education programs is essential for creating a talent pipeline to meet current demand and to expand solar and new clean energy technologies for the future. This will help ensure that more residents, who reflect the diversity of our communities, benefit from family-sustaining jobs created by clean energy growth right here in Illinois.”
Agency partners reported strong participation outcomes from the 2021 program, including 1,540 certifications received and 421 job placements following graduation. The program continued to demonstrate high levels of diverse participation, including 60 percent minority; 53 percent from environmental justice communities; 18 percent women; and 17 percent returning citizens. Last year’s participants represent 31 counties in Illinois.
Trainees graduated from one of three programs: the Solar Training Pipeline, the Craft Apprenticeship led by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Renewable Energy Fund, or the Multicultural Job Training program. To help close the gap in workforce equity, all programs prioritize recruitment and training efforts for populations which are either at-risk or underrepresented in the industry. Graduates received training to prepare for roles in the energy industry, including solar installer, journeyman, and laborer.
The Solar Training Pipeline Program prepares job seekers for roles in the solar industry and prepares contractors to bid on solar projects. Training includes a solar bootcamp and is implemented by Elevate Energy, Illinois Central College, OAI, Inc. and the Safer Foundation. The 2021 Solar Training Pipeline program had 73 trainees, 85 percent of them minority residents, and saw an 89 percent graduation rate.
The Craft Apprenticeship Training Program provides a pathway to roles in electric industry trades, introduction to solar, and "train-the-trainer" programs delivered by IBEW locals at high schools across Illinois. The 2021 program featured an expansion of training programs to new CPS high schools, including Dunbar and Simeon. All 410 trainees in the IBEW program graduated, and 99 percent secured employment.
"One of the ways the Chicago Urban League works to advance economic equity is by preparing people from underserved communities for in-demand jobs. Over the past few years, we've had dozens of trainees complete our solar panel installation training and go on to successful careers that have changed not only their lives and the lives of their families, but their outlook on the future," said Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. "ComEd has been an essential partner in our work, and we look forward to continuing to work together to prepare Black Chicagoans to participate in the fast-growing renewable energy sector."
The Multicultural Training Program upskills trainees from diverse and underserved communities, with training delivered by the Chicago Urban League, National Latino Education Institute (NLEI), ASPIRA of Illinois and Austin Peoples Action Center. The program is also supported by multicultural industry organizations, including the Chatham Business Association and the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA). There were 220 participants in the Multicultural Training Program in 2021, with a 72 percent graduation rate.
“HACIA is committed to creating pathways of opportunity for diverse businesses and underrepresented groups in the emerging clean energy sector,” said Jacqueline Gomez, Executive Director of HACIA. “Our cohort based training, funding by FEJA and in partnership with ComEd, has allowed us to do just that, positioning small and diverse businesses to grow and take on new projects. We hope to continue this important work in the near future.”
The FEJA training programs are administered with a $30 million investment by ComEd. To date, $10 million has been invested in training programs in 2017-2021, and another $20 million is set for release by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which will be administering FEJA training grants in future cycles.
To support the steady growth of a diverse talent pipeline, ComEd is invested in a wide array of training, education and job readiness programs that help residents of all ages and backgrounds prepare for a future in energy. These programs include the award-winning CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy, Chicago Builds, a CPS high school trades program, and various training programs offered in collaboration with local education institutions. Overall, ComEd’s workforce training programs in 2021 reached over 1,400 residents.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 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.
ComEd Media Relations