February , 2019

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$3.5 Million “Training to Placement” Program Offers Veterans Real-World Skills, Paid Internship


CHICAGO, IL – A $3.5 million multi-partner and union-backed “training to placement” Gas Utility Workers Training Program for military veterans graduated its first group of 21 students this morning.  The students, who earned their Gas Utility Worker Advanced Certification, were recognized in a ceremony at Dawson Technical Institute in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Dawson Technical Institute is a satellite site of Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

The training program, run by City Colleges of Chicago, Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) – Local 18007 and Peoples Gas, is designed to develop highly skilled, on-the-job trained workers for entry to the Illinois natural gas industry. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is a funding partner of the program.

“The Gas Utility Workers Program is an example of how City Colleges of Chicago is working to help students realize an immediate benefit from their education and training,” said Dr. Joyce C. Ester, President of Kennedy-King College. “This program provides a clear path to the practical skills needed in today’s natural gas job market.”

The Gas Utility Workers Program is being administered by the UWUA’s Power 4 America Training Trust Fund, which connects workers with the highest quality training available to meet the needs of industry and the global marketplace. The program is also affiliated with the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP).  UMAP is a national training-to-placement model that assists those who have honorably served their country in transitioning their military occupational skills into gainful career opportunities in the gas sector.

“The public-private partnership that UMAP has developed is critical to the future of America’s communities and our veterans and military families. The skills learned while deployed in the military at taxpayers’ expense will be enhanced by the UMAP program,” said Richard Passarelli, Utility Workers Union of America UMAP Chairman. “The support of the program will bring a return on investment to the taxpayers and to our veterans and military families. It will allow those who have honorably served the opportunity to sustain a lifelong career with benefits.”

A total of 67 students are enrolled in the program, which is divided into three cohorts. Cohort I, composed of the 21 students that were recognized today, is the first to complete six months of credit-based classroom training, where they earned 52 college credits toward an A.A. Degree. Classroom training addresses safe construction and operation of natural gas distribution systems and provides required industry certifications. Cohorts 2 and 3 will complete their classroom training in November 2012 and December 2012, respectively.

With classroom training complete, students will complete an application process and transition immediately into a one-month, on-the-job, temporary paid internship with Peoples Gas, which is designed to provide real-world application of the skills learned in the classroom.

“Congratulations to the students on completing their course at City Colleges and earning their Gas Utility Worker Advanced Certification, said Will Evans, president Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.  Peoples Gas is pleased to offer to continue their training in the field, alongside our experienced technical experts.  The combination of classroom and on-the-job training will ensure these graduates are highly qualified candidates for the natural gas industry.”

Training facilities at Dawson Technical Institute recently underwent renovation with support and equipment donations from Peoples Gas, the program’s instructors and local companies, including Corrigan Company and Reeder Heating. One of the Practical Training Labs – the Metering Room – features 56 natural gas meters which use compressed air to simulate natural gas. The Metering Room is designed to help students understand how to work both outside and inside confined spaces. Another lab houses water heaters, furnaces, dryers and stoves, all of which offer students the rare opportunity to work with live gas and gain valuable job-related experience even as they are training.

“One of the best parts of the training program is the chance to work with the tools, instruments and machines that utility workers use on the job every day,” said Chicago student Ray Rau, a 25-year-old Army veteran who served for two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.  “This experience will help me to be more prepared, comfortable and successful once I’m actually working in the industry.”

In addition to earning their Gas Utility Worker Advanced Certification, students will also receive a year-long membership in the American Legion courtesy of Women for Wounded Warriors.  American Legion houses 106,000 members in Illinois and more than 2.3 million veterans nationally dedicated to helping veterans and their families.  

About City Colleges of Chicago

The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation, with 5,800 faculty and staff serving 120,000 students annually at seven campuses and six satellite sites city-wide. The City Colleges of Chicago is in the midst of a Reinvention, a collaborative effort to review and revise CCC programs and practices to ensure students leave CCC college-ready, career-ready and prepared to pursue their goals.

The City Colleges of Chicago includes seven colleges: Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S. Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College. The system also oversees the Washburne Culinary Institute, the French Pastry School, two restaurants, five Child Development Centers, the Center for Distance Learning, the Workforce Institute, the public broadcast station WYCC-TV Channel 20 and radio station WKKC-FM 89.3. For more information about City Colleges of Chicago, call (773) COLLEGE or visit www.ccc.edu.

About Peoples Gas

Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), is a regulated natural gas delivery company that serves approximately 826,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. For more information about Peoples Gas, visit the company’s website: www.peoplesgasdelivery.com.

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