ComEd and HIRE 360 Honor First Class of Take Charge

HIRE360 Executive Director Jay Rowell, Take Charge Graduate Monyea Drake and
ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones. PHOTO BY TIA CAROL JONES.
HIRE360 Executive Director Jay Rowell, Take Charge Graduate Monyea Drake and ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones. PHOTO BY TIA CAROL JONES.

 ComEd and HIRE 360 Honor First Class of Take Charge

By Tia Carol Jones

Illinois has a goal to have 1 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2030. In order to keep up with the demand for electric vehicles, ComEd partnered with HIRE360 to create a program to prepare people to support the electric vehicle industry in Illinois.


Take Charge is ComEd’s Electric Vehicle Pre-Apprenticeship Program that was meant to prepare participants for careers that supported Illinois electric vehicle industry. On Monday, Nov. 6th, seventeen participants graduated from the Take Charge Pre-Apprenticeship Program. It was the first graduating class for the eight-week program, which is one of the first of its kind. These graduates will now be able to be part of the clean energy workforce in Illinois.


Laticia Holbert, Workforce Development for ComEd, said reaching the goal of 1 million electric vehicles on Illinois roads by 2050 will take the work of the State, utility companies, car makers and will require a workforce that can support this goal.


Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd, said that society is transitioning from an energy system powered by fossil fuels to one where electricity plays a leading role, on the way to achieving Net Zero.


“To achieve this, we will need more EVs, more EV chargers, more EV infrastructure, and of course, more workers in the electrical trades,” Quiniones said.


Illinois has already seen electric vehicle growth, it has increased the number of electric vehicles from 12,000 in 2019, to more than 80,000 currently. It has been part of ComEd’s mission to create opportunities and advance the energy workforce.


It is the hope of Quiniones and the other partners that there will be more classes of the Take Charge Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Quiniones acknowledged International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 and Local 15. He said those unions have played a valuable role in driving the electric vehicles revolution in Illinois.


“Partnerships with ComEd and HIRE360 are essential to ensuring talent is there to meet the demand for a growing number of green energy jobs here in Illinois,” Gene Kent, Executive Director, IBEW-NECA Technical Institute, said in a press release.


 “Providing candidates with hands-on experience and connecting them with industry leaders is invaluable to their professional development. They are excellent candidates for apprenticeship as they pursue the unionized electrical industry.”

United States Congresswoman Delia Ramirez represents the 3rd Congressional District. She congratulated the graduates and told them they now have the knowledge and skills necessary to support the region to strengthen its electric vehicle infrastructure.


Jay Rowell, Executive Director of HIRE360, said ComEd understands what HIRE360 is trying to achieve to increase opportunities in construction trades for underrepresented populations. He added, there is an urgent need to put people in electric vehicle jobs in the future.


“Illinois’ clean energy and transportation job sectors grew by almost 5 percent in 2021, with EV manufacturing jobs leading the way on that. Initiatives like this training program are critical to continued growth and success of that industry in Illinois,” Rowell said.


Yasriyyah Green is a graduate of the Take Charge Program. She was intrigued when HIRE360 reached out to her about a program centered on electric vehicles. The opportunity offered her a chance to take her career in a whole new direction. Now Green is equipped with professional expertise and certifications. She described the program as a beacon of hope.


“I can help shape a more sustainable, more promising future for the planet and for myself,” Green said, adding that during a panel discussion she learned and was inspired by the mantra, “be a more powerful version of yourself every day.”


For more information about the Take Charge Pre-Apprenticeship Program, visit https://hire360chicago.com/comed.

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