Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas Officially Celebrates Grand Opening in Little Village

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

Underneath a clear sky and fortunate weather, Little Village officially welcomed the new state-of-the-art Peoples Energy Training Center to its growing business sector. The 100,000 square-foot training center, located at 4228 W. 35th Place, is replete with indoor/outdoor simulation, state-of-the-art classrooms, vocational programming, and field work. To help kick off the grand opening, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas President and CEO Charles Matthews, Alderman Ricardo Munoz, Illinois Senator Martin Sandoval and several business leaders across Chicago. “Today we are opening more than a training center; we are opening the doors to future job opportunities for our youth,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Training is a critical component that will ensure our workforce, both current and future, have the skills they need to compete for stable, well-paying jobs in the growing field of energy.”

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

The new facility is designed to train more than 1,600 utility workers and fire officials across the region, while mentoring Chicago Public School students. One of the features includes, the Peoples Gas Utility Training program, a vocational job training partnership with CPS. The program will prepare high schools for potential jobs as “Gas-Track” Workers following graduation. The Peoples Gas utility Training Program launched in 2016 as a way to provide training and mentorship for students to obtain well-paying and stable jobs. “Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas have made a major investment in our vibrant Little Village community, one that will create jobs and provide educational and economic opportunities for our local businesses and primarily Mexican residents,” said Alderman Ricardo Muñoz (22nd Ward).

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

The Peoples Gas Utility Training program includes:

  • A six week summer internship for two cohorts of 15 to 20 juniors and/or seniors to experience the Natural Gas industry;
  • Roughly five field trips to the training center and other experiential opportunities; and
  • After school training courses for seniors to prepare for natural gas industry job opportunities.

Indoor Features:

  • Five classrooms and five practical training areas.
  • Computer simulation lab.
  • Seventy-five meeting room available to local community groups.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Outdoor Features:

  • Mock “Gas City” with a simulated natural gas delivery system pressurized by compressed air –the largest mock natural gas city training site in Illinois, providing the real-world training for natural gas workers available.
  • Commercial driver’s license training area.
  • Structures for training in system maintenance and natural gas leak investigation.

“I’m excited the new $20 million Peoples Energy Training Center is coming to the Little Village community, the 11th district of where I represent the people on the southwest side of Chicago,” said Senator Sandoval. “Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas along with the Illinois General Assembly have come together in partnership to invest in training the future workforce of the energy industry.” Construction of the facility was led by Ujamaa Construction Inc., a Chicago-based, minority-owned general contractor. Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas also worked with two regional engineering firms to design the center.

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