ComEd Building Stronger, Diverse Workforce

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Since its launch in 2013, ComEd’s CONSTRUCT Program has been building a stronger, more diverse workforce for the construction industry by training qualified minority candidates for construction-related jobs in Illinois. CONSTRUCT Program is designed to address the need of minority candidates by strengthening job readiness and life skills, and preparing for industry-required testing that is often a prerequisite for employment. The program includes job shadowing to give candidates an up-close look at the various career paths available. This year, ComEd commemorated a new roster of graduates during its annual ComEd CONSTRUCT Program graduation. Over a hundred graduates acquired necessary skills to compete for entry-level jobs in construction and energy-related fields. Two of the program’s recent graduates were siblings Claudia and Joshua Lozano, who both participated in the program through ASPIRA Inc. of Illinois and shared their insight of the benefits of ComEd’s CONSTRUCT Program.

Lawndale Bilingual News: How were you introduced to ComEd’s Construct Program?

Claudia: I was looking to change careers and had begun to look at a women’s trade program, but then one day I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post about CONSTRUCT on the Avondale Community page. After comparing the two programs, I just had to join the CONSTRUCT program.

Joshua: My sister was the one who found out about the program and told me it would be a really good program. So we went through it together.

What motivated you to take the next step and enroll in the program?

Claudia: I had actually been let go in 2018 due to medical reasons and, and having a lot of restrictions moving forward, I was looking to change careers. When I found the program, I saw it as a great opportunity for a hands-on career. I like to fix things and learn with my hands, and CONSTRUCT gave me that opportunity.

Joshua: I am actually straight out of high school and knew I wanted to go into the trade industry. So, I really saw it as an opportunity to start my career.

Talk to me about your experience. What did you enjoy most about CONSTRUCT?

Claudia: The CONSTRUCT Program really took me out of my comfort zone, especially with networking. I’m an introvert, but the program gave me confidence. We learned about the interview process and got to meet a lot of people from a lot of different companies.

Joshua: I really enjoyed the class best. We became a second family and would motivate each other to work hard and to study to pass our exams. I also really enjoyed the day we learned how pipes were installed from People’s Gas. It was a really great, eye-opening experience.

How do you think CONSTRUCT helped to prepare you for entering the construction and energy-related fields?

Claudia: The program really helped prepare you for the industry with all the hands-on learning at the ComEd and People’s Gas training centers. We got to job shadow and learn about specific positions firsthand. They just did an overall great job, and this year’s program actually had the highest percentage of participants pass their exams compared to previous years.

Joshua: We left the program with qualifications to help us start careers in this industry. Coming straight out of high school, I have no work history, but this program helped me become more qualified and put me higher up on the list for recruiters.

What would you like others to know about the CONSTRUCT program?

Claudia: If someone is willing to invest in themselves – whether they are just out of high school or looking for a career change – this program is great. They give you so many resources, and they help you no matter your situation. Through ASPIRA, we actually participated in the first night school class for the CONSTRUCT program, which really helped because we were able to take care of our grandpa during the day. I actually was recently hired by People’s Gas and am starting on Monday!

Joshua: The CONSTRUCT program is just a great thing to be a part of. You learn so much about the industry and all the other companies in Chicago. You also get to learn a lot about the opportunities that this industry has to offer. It really is the best thing for 18 or 19 year olds that don’t want to go to college, but are still interested in a career.

Comments are closed.