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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, joined ComEd president and CEO Anne Pramaggiore, Speaker Michael Madigan, State Senator Antonio Munoz, Representative Edward Acevado, IBEW Local 15 President Dean Apple and community leaders to break ground on ComEd’s new, state-of-the-art Chicago Training Center at 3535 S. Iron Street in Bridgeport. The new Training Center will help train workers on new smartgrid technologies as part of a $2.6 billion investment by ComEd authorized by the Illinois General Assembly to modernize the Chicago region’s electricity infrastructure.
“Today’s announcement goes beyond breaking ground on a new Training Center for ComEd, it is a partnership between the City of Chicago, our businesses and our residents – one that will ensure ComEd has access to a trained workforce today, and that students in Chicago Public Schools can capitalize on the career opportunities of tomorrow,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Building a world-class workforce with the skills to compete in the high-growth fields of the future is critical to the continued growth of Chicago’s economy.”
The facility, which will employ 40 full-time staff, is specially designed as an education and training center for ComEd’s workforce and will feature 51,000 square feet of classroom and indoor training space, a 138,000-square-foot outside training yard and a 200-seat auditorium. The facility also will include substation and manhole training areas, indoor pole yard, a meter training area, lead splicing bays for underground cable and manhole training areas. The Chicago Training Center will also serve as an auxiliary storm center to help expand ComEd’s resource coordination during significant weather events.
“In 2013, we opened ComEd’s first training center in Rockford with a commitment to open a second, bigger facility in Chicago and bring new opportunity and jobs to the area,” said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd’s president and CEO. “The Chicago Training Center will provide our employees with the skills to work on advanced smart grid technology while furthering ComEd’s commitment to safety, innovation, and operational excellence.”
The City of Chicago partnered with ComEd to develop an after school vocational training program in the facility. The program, the first of its kind for ComEd, will provide Chicago Public Schools (CPS) juniors and seniors with training to become utility workers of the future. As part of the new program, ComEd will provide access to trainers, mentors and classroom speakers, assist with curriculum development and support CPS students as they explore postsecondary career options. Upon completion of the program, students will be qualified for ComEd internships and have the relevant experience to put them on the track to receive jobs in a number of careers.
As the program progresses, CPS and ComEd will coordinate with City College of Chicago to explore new ways for CPS students to capitalize on the advanced training opportunities available at Dawson Technical Institute.
The Chicago Training Center is scheduled to open late in 2015, and ComEd expects more than 4,000 employees will receive training at the facility annually. The company also estimates that more than 6,000 members of the public will visit the facility each year for educational tours through the public education center where groups can tour the facility, learn more about ComEd and how energy is delivered.
“Illinois is proud of its skilled electrical workers and the contributions they are making to build a modernized electrical grid,” said Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. “The education ComEd can provide at its new Chicago Training Center will give workers advanced skills and put them among the best trained in the industry.”
“This is an exciting day as ComEd implements another benefit of the Smart Grid law,” said Senate President John Cullerton. “ComEd’s Chicago Training Center will support job growth and help to prepare the next generation of skilled utility workers.”
The Chicago Training Center, and its sister facility in Rockford, were made possible as part of the historic Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, passed by the Illinois General Assembly, to ensure that ComEd would have an industry-leading workforce to implement its $2.6 billion investment in smart grid and smart meter technology that will transform the delivery of power to homes and businesses.
“The ComEd Chicago Training Center is a great example of the economic development the Smart Grid law is creating,” said House GOP Leader Jim Durkin. “As was done in Rockford, this center will help create great jobs in the entire for the entire region.”
“Smart grid technology is creating a more reliable electrical grid for Illinois residents,” said GOP Senate Leader Christine Radogno. “ComEd is following up on the successful opening of its Rockford training center with an even larger facility in the Chicagoland area to ensure its workers are prepared to build and maintain this advanced system that offers a variety of customer benefits.”
“Not only will this facility enable us to train the next generation of utility workers, it will contribute to the economic development of the south side,” said Terence R. Donnelly, Executive Vice-President and COO, ComEd. “From the construction work to career development along with the thousands of people the facility will attract, the ComEd Chicago Training Center will have a positive economic influence on the area.”
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Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 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 and YouTube.