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$30 Million Funding to Help Train Workforce for Future Energy Jobs

$30 Million Funding to Help Train Workforce for Future Energy Jobs

CHICAGO (July 31, 2017) – A combination of six business associations and social have been named as recipients of funding for the development and administration of future energy jobs training as a part of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA).  Chicago Urban League, Austin People’s Action Center, ASPIRA, HACIA, Chatham Business Association and the National Latino Education Institute (NLEI) will develop training programs related to solar and energy efficiency as a part of the FEJA’s goal to prepare a workforce ready for the future energy industry.

ComEd, the Clean Jobs Coalition, and the grantee groups came together at Austin People’s Action Center today to mark ComEd’s filing of the FEJA Jobs Training plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Passed by the Illinois Legislature in 2016, and effective June 1, 2016, FEJA allocates $10 million every four years in 2017, 2021, and 2025—a total of $30 million– for solar pipeline training programs, craft apprenticeships and multicultural training for individuals from diverse and/or underserved backgrounds.

“Today’s filing with the ICC marks a critical milestone in bringing this Jobs Training program to life,” said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd President and CEO.  “This training program is one of several of the Future Energy Jobs Act’s elements that help set a course for Illinois’ energy future — the gateway to clean energy and $4B in anticipated energy efficiency savings already have been set in motion and now we launch training for new economy jobs.”

Stakeholders and training organizations were engaged to help develop a collaborative plan. ComEd will continue working with these partners to design programs that will involve a breadth of organizations from various communities, and which ensure accountability and shared expectations.

The six grantees of the multicultural jobs program are:

  • Chicago Urban League: $1,000,000 to a community-based civil rights and human services not-for-profit organization that provides economic development, human capital, and education program services.
  • National Latino Education Institute (NLEI) $500,000 to a not-for-profit organization that is also an education institution that offers training programs approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and United States Department of Education with the goal of providing workforce initiatives leading to economic independence.
  • ASPIRA $500,000 to a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing the educational and leadership capacity of minority youth through the operation of schools, youth leadership clubs and youth development centers
  • HACIA $1,000,000 to a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing equal access to opportunities in the construction industry that offer training programs that include Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10 and 30 certifications, Environmental Protection Agency Renovation, Repair and Painting Certification and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Green Associate Exam preparation courses.
  • Chatham Business Association $500,000 to a non-profit organization that has a proven record of successfully implementing utility industry training programs, with expertise in creating programs that strengthen the economics of communities including technical training workshops and economic development through community and financial partners
  • APAC $500,000 to a nonprofit organization that provides family services, housing education, job and career education opportunities that has successfully partnered with the utility on electric industry job training.

Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition spokesman Pastor Booker Vance of Faith in Place said, “We stand in support of ComEd’s filing of a Jobs Training Plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission; a key joint initiative of the Future Energy Jobs Act that not only provides training but set forth the career pathway to create job opportunities for returning citizens, Foster Care Alumni and minorities and women contractors.”

“Today, ComEd has taken its commitment to building a skilled, diverse workforce to an entirely new level,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “Because of this generous contribution, the League is empowered to make an even greater impact in the communities we serve. We’ll increase the delivery of critical job training programs so that our clients will secure employment to improve the quality of their lives and that of their families.”

“This program will dramatically change the lives of National Latino Education Institute (NLEI) graduates, by preparing and positioning them in the market to find excellent jobs in the new energy economy,” said NLEI Executive Director Elba Aranda-Suh. “A partnership like this, which brings good jobs to the people who need them and highly-trained applicants to the employers who need them, is the kind of innovative approach that is going to propel Illinois forward, and NLEI is ready to lead the way in this field of job training.”

“Aspira is excited to join forces with ComEd and other organizations to prepare a diversified, well educated workforce. FEJA will help create a brighter future for underrepresented, talented youth by offering training and career opportunities in the emerging solar industry,” said Dr. Wanda Figueroa-Peralta, President & CEO, Aspira. “It will also help our state to serve as a national model for responsible economic development, innovation and collaboration.”

“We are thrilled that HACIA has been selected to participate in the Future Energy Job Act Training Program,” said Jorge Perez, Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA). “We have a strong legacy of providing training for Hispanic and minority contractors that gives them capacity building skills, certifications and knowledge they need to grow their businesses. The FEJA Act will provide a new market place with tremendous potential for contractors to enter and grow their business.”

“ComEd and Chatham Business Association piloted a workforce training program pairing employment opportunity for local residents with energy efficiency consumer education, resulting in significant energy savings for an entire community,” said Melinda Kelly, Chairman, Chatham Business Association.  “We are proud to be a partner in a program that is creating innovative model programs that will ensure jobs with economic value show up in our communities.”

“Austin Peoples Action Center is dedicated to changing lives in our neighborhoods. As an organization and as a greater community we need to look around and see what we can change to make people’s lives better,” said Cynthia Williams, President and CEO, Austin People’s Action Center.  “This program is what this community has been waiting on: the opportunity to participate in Solar training pipeline and other recognized programs for crafts, trades, and skills in the electric industry, with a fresh air of possibilities for the disadvantaged and minority members of our communities.”

“The FEJA program will provide many new employment opportunities for citizens across the State of Illinois,” said Donald Finn, Business Manager, IBEW 134.  “Solar technology is changing on a daily basis; therefore solar training is critical for the Illinois solar program to be successful. IBEW is very happy to be part of this training program.”