First nine graduates emerge from ComEd Craft Academy job training program

Published on August 24, 2022 by Chris Galford

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A new job training program launched earlier this month by ComEd celebrated its first graduates this week, all nine of which are headed for overhead electrical line work.

The ComEd Craft Academy program was set up to prepare students for roles in the skilled trades, providing expanded training opportunities to align with the Illinois clean energy transition and ComEd’s plans to hire another 500 entry-level craft positions over the next three years. In that regard, ComEd is training students in skill sets desired for its frontline jobs, such as overhead helpers, line workers, and construction positions.

The three-week program includes CAST Exam preparation; the basics of pole climbing; field lessons taught by ComEd experts; and STAR method interview coaching preparation. Successful participants receive an $800 stipend for their time and become eligible for scholarships.

“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,” Diana Sharpe, interim vice president of workforce development for ComEd, said. “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.”

For its part, ComEd intends to begin accepting applications for new jobs later this month. In the meantime, ComEd also worked with a local nonprofit and workforce training agency, the Instituto del Progreso Latino, to recruit locals for its training program, primarily from the Black and Latinx communities.

“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,” Karina Ayala-Bermejo, CEO of the Instituto del Progreso Latino, said. “Together, we are strengthening the pipeline into successful careers within ComEd that in turn are strengthening our communities.”

While jobs at ComEd specifically are set to grow in the coming years, the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) also recently estimated that 2,000 new utility jobs are likely to be created throughout the Midwest over the next three years.