2020 marked a record year for job placements within the clean energy industry in Illinois, according to a report released by US utility ComEd.
The report, filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission, explored the impact of ComEd’s workforce training programmes. Using funding secured from the Future Energy Jobs Act, ComEd managed to ensure that 94% of trainees or 684 skilled personnel graduated and secured employment in 2020.
The 684 graduates came out of the 728 participants that included 459 people of color and 129 women; 359 live in environmental justice communities where residents are exposed to potential environmental and health risks; 64 trainees were formerly involved with the justice system and nine are foster alumni.
This is a huge milestone for the training programmes considering millions of jobs were lost both within the US energy sector and the larger economy as a whole due to the negative impacts of the pandemic in 2020. The 2020 numbers are the highest since 2017 when the training programmes were launched, according to a statement.
In 2019, up to 72% (433) of trained personnel secured employment.
Joe Dominguez, the CEO of ComEd, said: “Trainers and participants demonstrated remarkable dedication to stay on course and achieve their goals last year despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.”
Commenting on the reason why the numbers were high in 2020, the CEO said: “Social service agencies, industry, and community groups are opening doors to new clean energy jobs for members of underrepresented groups. The programme has established high standards and is delivering on its promises.”
The training programmes are scheduled to run through 2029 and are supported by three $10 million funding periods. The funding enables ComEd to partner with social service agencies that conduct the training under the utility’s Solar Pipeline, the Craft Apprenticeship led by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Renewable Energy Fund, and the Multicultural Job Training programme.
The 2020 graduates are employed as solar panel installers and technicians, energy brokers, site surveyors and training instructors.