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Discover Our Educational Partnerships

nicor career academy

The Nicor Gas Career Academy is a six-week job-readiness program designed to prepare participants for entry level work in the utility industry, with a focus on natural gas.

Qualifications include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Score at least a 12th-grade level in math and reading on the Tests of Adult Basic Education
  • Pass an extensive criminal background check and drug test
  • In person group-style interview
  • Valid driver's license

Download the application at qcul.org/careeracademy. Applications are being accepted through September 20. 

With an aging workforce and increased job creation through accelerated infrastructure programs, the energy industry is facing a workforce crisis. There is an immediate need for diverse, qualified candidates with the knowledge, skills and ability to adapt and grow within the industry.

To address this issue, utilities in northern Illinois, along with their engineering and construction contractors, labor union partners and local nonprofits, developed a program called CONSTRUCT.

Launched in 2013, CONSTRUCT is a 9-week program that offers individuals who are 18 years of age or older the training, information and guidance needed to compete for good-paying, entry-level jobs in construction-related fields. 

To date, about 400 students have participated in the program, and nearly 70 percent have been offered employment.

“As our industry continues to evolve, partnerships like CONSTRUCT will make a real difference in developing a pipeline of talent and cultivating the next generation of our energy workforce,” said Melvin D. Williams, president of Nicor Gas. “We look forward to our continued participation in CONSTRUCT, and working with our partners to help fuel the workforce of the future.”

Contact one of these social service agencies for more information:

  • Aspira Inc. of Illinois – 773.342.1539
  • Austin Peoples Action Center (APAC) – 773.921.2121
  • Chicago Urban League – 773.285.5800
  • National Latino Education Institute – 773.247.0707, ext. 257
  • Quad County Urban League – 630.851.2203
  • South Suburban YWCA - 708.754.0486
  • Central States Ser – Jobs for Progress – 708.222.3100
  • St. Sabina Catholic Charities Social Services Center – 773.846.3018
construction workers ng   construct graduate

Energizing Student Potential (ESP) Program

energizing student potential logo

Energizing Student Potential (ESP) is a Midwest energy company-based partnership program to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. The program is facilitated by the National Energy Education Development Program. 

ESP provides standardized curriculum and engaging new content to highlight the energy sector. Participating schools can receive:  
•    A $500 grant to support your STEM Challenge project
•    $3,000 worth of hands-on kits and curriculum
•    Access to educational energy audits, field trips and classroom visits
•    Two-day professional development for a team of 2 teachers per school, plus much more!

Learn More 

energizing student potential

Illinois Energy Workforce Consortium

get into energy IL

The IEWC is a collaboration of industry employers, cooperatives, educators and government partners from across the state who have partnered to develop a pipeline of qualified candidates for energy industry jobs in Illinois. 

The goal of the IEWC is to serve as a resource for educators and students alike – sharing information, data and real-world examples of the types of careers that are available in Illinois’ energy industry. The IEWC also sponsors Careers in Energy Week. When you show us how your class used our energy materials, you can win one of three $250 classroom grants. All you need to do is email a photo and brief description (3-4 sentences) of how you used these materials with students to Illinois@consortia.getintoenergy.com with the subject line “Class Grant Entry.” Or, let’s get social! Use the hashtag #classgrant along with a photo and brief description on Facebook or Twitter. It’s that simple! The deadline to submit entries is January 2019.