ComEd Generating Jobs Through Intern Program

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Gage Park resident Luis Mendoza attributes his productive summer of learning to ComEd’s Tools of the Trade, an annual summer internship program in partnership with After School Matters that provides local teen students with opportunities to learn more about the energy industry through hands-on job training and career experience. “I was introduced to the Tools of the Trade program thanks to my mother who found the information and suggested I participate this summer. So I applied and I’m happy I did because I learned a lot and met great, knowledgeable people,” said Mendoza.

This summer was the third year of Tools of the Trade, a paid program for 16-18 year olds interested in gaining real-world skills and learning about careers in energy management. It functions similarly to an apprenticeship program, allowing students to obtain hands-on experience and meet industry leaders from ComEd, while working in the new, state of the art Chicago ComEd Training Center.

“Each day there was something new. The curriculum created for the Tools of the Trade program really makes you think about energy in a different way and what goes into supplying the city with it.” For students like Mendoza, Tools of the Trade also provides another benefit for those unclear about pursuing a four-year degree. ComEd with the help of After School Matters addresses the skilled trade shortage and hones in on students interested in pursuing a career in trade by creating a curriculum that is hands-on and interactive.
“The goal of Tools of the Trade program is to introduce students to a career path in energy, in trade. We equip students with the tools to be successful, we pair them up with ComEd mentors who take them under their wing in an environment that fosters curiosity and where they are learning about energy in fun, unique way,” said Vice President of External Affairs and Large Customer Services at ComEd Melissa Washington. “It is gratifying to see students gain hands-on knowledge and assist them in a future trade career.” As part of the program, After School Matters oversees the recruiting and placement of all students and instructors, as well as the program guidelines. ComEd supplies the curriculum, location, guest speakers, and financial portion.

Over the past few years, participating teens have given extremely positive feedback about their experience. Past intern Raul Nunez participated in the program last summer, said that he not only enjoyed learning hands-on skills that will assist him in a future trade career, but he also gained valuable soft skills like confidence and curiosity. The ComEd Tools of the Trade program ran from June 25th through August 9th culminating in a closing ceremony for participating students.

Tools of the Trade is just one of several programs run by ComEd to help prepare young Illinoisans for good-paying, entry-level jobs. For example, the company also created a nine-week training program called CONSTRUCT that is designed to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates for construction jobs in Illinois. CONSTRUCT offers participants the information and guidance needed to strengthen their job readiness and life skills and prepare for industry-required testing that is often a prerequisite for employment. Through job shadowing, candidates are given an up-close look at the various career options available in construction-related fields. Since its start in 2012, ComEd’s summer internship program has provided workforce training to more than 1,000 students. For more information about ComEd careers and Afterschool Matters, please visit the following websites

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