On Monday, the 29th of February, a press conference was held to launch CONSTRUCT 2016 at the National Latino Education Institute (NLEI). On hand to help kick off the 4th year of the CONSTRUCT program were Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO, ComEd; Charles Matthews, President, Peoples Gas; Melvin Williams, President, Nicor Gas; Moderator Elba Aranda-Suh, Executive Director, National Latino Education Institute; Commissioner Sherina Maye Edwards, Illinois Commerce Commission; Jacqueline Y. Collins, State Senator, 16th District; William ‘Will’ Davis, State Representative, 30th District; and Loretta Rosenmayer, Founder and CEO, INTREN.
Joining the distinguished leaders were representatives from each the 30 construction industry companies that are participating in the program this year - ComEd, Nicor Gas, Aldridge, Asplundh, Burling Builders, Cathodic Protection Management, Inc., Choctaw-Kaul, David Mason & Associates, Groundhog Utility Construction Inc., HBK Engineering, Henkels & McCoy, INTREN, Inc., Lindblad Construction Company of Joliet, LiveWire, Meade, Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc., MJ Electric, MZI Group, Nash Brothers Construction Company, Osmose Utilities Services, PMI Energy Solutions, LLC, Trice Construction Company, The Roderick Group, The Will Group as well as labor organizations - IBEW Locals 9, 15, 134, 196 and the Laborers’ District Council; as well as the 6 participating community agencies are ASPIRA of Illinois, Austin Peoples Action Center, Chicago Urban League, National Latino Education Institute, Quad County Urban League and the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.
With these impressive attendees it was clear to the student participants that the CONSTRUCT Program is strongly supported by top leaders and members of the Energy Industry. As the speakers took the podium it became clear that this program is both powerful and focused. “Some of the students came in with apprehension” said Loretta Rosenmayer, “but left with hope and excitement showing on their faces. We know there may be sacrifices that these students will have to make to be successful in this program, but we want them to know that everyone involved in the CONSTRUCT program wants them to succeed, that the program was created to offer them an opportunity they did not have before and that we welcome them to the construction industry.”
CONSTRUCT is powered by an alliance of companies, social services, and labor unions that are committed to removing barriers to help students. CONSTRUCT has the support of 16 construction companies, 11 engineering construction and management / locating companies and 6 participating agencies. One of the great accomplishments this year is having three of Illinois’ largest utilities giving their full support - Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and ComEd.
With a desire to help the communities in which the utility companies serve, Cornell Burnett, Director of Government & Legislative Affairs, ComEd and our very own Matthew Turk, Executive Vice President, with the full support of INTREN and ComEd launched the CONSTRUCT Program in May, 2013. CONSTRUCT is an 11 week program that offers more than sixty students each year the training, information and guidance needed to compete for a good paying entry level job in construction related fields. To date, about 150 students have participated in the program and nearly 80% have been offered jobs. In the past three years INTREN has hired 10 CONSTRUCT students.