Developing Diverse Talent at INTREN
In 2012, Illinois’ utility construction workload drastically increased due to the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which was supported by grass roots groups, contractors and politicians to rebuild the antiquated infrastructure. Not only did Illinois not have adequate workforce, but the existing labor pool demographics did not reflect the communities in which the work was done.
INTREN Executive Vice President Matthew Turk helped develop a minority training program concept that would prepare local minorities for entry level jobs within the construction field. INTREN Founder Loretta Rosenmayer wholeheartedly supported the concept and met with ComEd to discuss the concept and further develop the program.
Together, they reached out to unions, social agencies and the contractor community, who came together to support the program. Utilities, contractors and the unions created a common, standardized curriculum. Community social agencies provided participant recruiting, screening and training. Participating companies and unions would offer job shadowing and a career day.
In 2013, the program successfully launched with 10 companies, three social service agencies and one utility.
Now in its 7th year, CONSTRUCT’s 9-week program has grown to include three utilities, five local unions, 41 companies, and seven social agencies.
CONSTRUCT now offers up to 130 diverse students annually job readiness and life skills training, information and guidance necessary to compete for good paying, entry-level jobs in construction-related fields. The curriculum has also added an additional track for Project Management, Planning and Administration.
INTREN has been a leader in the CONSTRUCT program in both time and financial support since the beginning, as well as hiring many graduates. We are now presenting the CONSTRUCT concept to utility companies across the country.
We are still recovering from the influence of our history, our experiences, our stories and our education. We have been taught in various ways, both consciously and unconsciously, that there are significant differences in values and value-propositions depending, in large part, on your race and gender. My life’s work is about unity and equality and bringing down the barriers that divide us.