First class of overhead line worker apprentices graduate from new Libertyville Training Center

The first class of apprentices from ComEd's new Libertyville Training Center is moving on to 36 weeks of on-the-job training as part of their 2.5-year path to becoming full-fledged overhead line workers.

The Libertyville class was among 85 trainees to graduate from the first of three progression schools. They were honored last week at four training centers, including Chicago, Joliet and Rockford, in what the company said was its largest overhead graduating class to date.

The new Libertyville Training Center at ComEd's north suburban headquarters was completed in March. The first class 21 of overhead line worker apprentices recently graduated. Courtesy of ComEd

ComEd says it is expanding apprenticeship training to prepare for expected growth in the clean energy sector and to strengthen the power grid to withstand increasingly severe weather events.

The $4.5 million Libertyville Training Center is the seventh in the region and the first in the northern suburbs to offer entry-level trades training to build a skilled, diverse workforce to meet future demands in a system that serves more than 9 million customers and spans more than 11,000 square miles, according to the company.

ComEd's north suburban headquarters houses general operations, field crews and other activities on nearly 25 acres in at 1500 Franklin Boulevard in Libertyville.

Construction of a 64,000-square-foot training center began last September and was completed in March. The outdoor space built on a largely unused parking lot includes climbing areas on a series of 40-, 45- and 65-foot tall wooden poles and practice electrical equipment.

ComEd chooses Libertyville for site of new regional training center

“We are thrilled to join the village of Libertyville and industry partners in opening our newest training center, and we will continue to expand training that will allow more community members to take advantage of family-sustaining careers and to play a key role in building the grid of the future,” Valerie Colletti, senior vice president of distribution, said at the July 3 unveiling.

Entry-level roles, including overhead helpers, start at $29 per hour on average, with an opportunity for increases through the apprenticeship.

Chris Riser, president of IBEW Local 15, said more training is essential to develop a pool of skilled workers to maintain and strengthen the power grid. Expanding union apprenticeship opportunities will provide more opportunities for local residents to join “rewarding careers” that play a role in a cleaner energy future, he added.

A study commissioned by Com Ed released in early 2023 indicated 150,000 jobs could be created by the clean-energy transition in Illinois by 2050.

That's creating more and better-paying education and job opportunities to help local economies in Lake County and grow the size and diversity of the local labor pool, said Kevin Considine, president and CEO of Lake County Partners, the county's economic development arm.

“I look forward to seeing the impact of ComEd's investments here in our community, attracting new talent and putting Libertyville at the center of training the future energy workforce,” Mayor Donna Johnson said.

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