Nicor Gas announces $500,000 commitment to grow award-winning job-readiness program

Nicor Gas is announcing a commitment of $500,000 over five years to the Quad County Urban League to support their partnership with the company's award-winning Career Academy. The program is a free, six-week job-readiness program designed to prepare participants for entry-level work in the utility industry, focusing on natural gas.

Nicor Gas with the Quad County Urban League recently welcomed the seventh cohort of students to the program to address the growing need for a qualified, skilled and diverse pool of candidates within Nicor Gas and its construction partners, including but not limited to IBEW Local 19, NPL Construction Co., INTREN,

KS Energy Services and Pipe Strong.

As a partner in the Nicor Gas Career Academy, the Quad County Urban League is committed to providing industry-specific and on-site experiences and works with partners to provide industry credentials and certificates.

"We are incredibly proud of the students who have successfully participated in the Nicor Gas Career Academy in partnership with the Quad County Urban League and look forward to seeing them thrive as they take their next step in the utility industry," said Wendell Dallas, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. "For the past four years, this program has helped the company fulfill our commitment to the 650 communities we are proud to serve daily with clean, safe and reliable natural gas now and into the future."

Nicor Gas and IBEW Local 19, in partnership with NPL Construction Co. and the Quad County Urban League, launched the Nicor Gas Career Academy in 2018. To date, more than 120 students have graduated from the program's curriculum focused on natural gas operations training that integrates core math concepts, safety, technology, employability skills, and personal and professional development. Participants also job shadow the Nicor Gas Call Center to understand the customer experience.

"Our partnership with Nicor Gas reflects an investment in the Quad County service area," said Theodia Gillespie, president and CEO of the Quad County Urban League. "Economic empowerment is vital to sustaining communities and when our residents have the kind of career opportunities created by this program, we all benefit."

More than 2,000 Nicor Gas employees work in a variety of technical, administrative, and professional roles, including those who design, construct, operate and maintain the company's more than 34,000 miles of underground pipeline. Based on age and years of service, 35% of Nicor Gas' workforce is projected to retire over the next 10 years.

Recruiting and training diverse cohorts is a primary focus of the Nicor Gas Career Academy, which received a 2021 Impact Award from the Center for Energy Workforce Development in the category of "Community Partner" for its partnership with Quad County Urban League. The CEWD's Impact Award recognizes a company for developing unique connections within the local community - with educators, minority facing organizations, workforce systems or other groups - that have yielded demonstrated results in fueling the talent pipeline.

More than 50% of the program participants have secured full-time roles with Nicor Gas or one of the partner companies. To learn more about the Nicor Gas Career Academy, visit

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