Peoples Gas supports many organizations in the communities we serve. Here are just a few examples.
Peoples Gas has partnered with ComEd and Nicor Gas to support CONSTRUCT, a program that prepares participants for careers in the construction industry. CONSTRUCT was created to address the construction industry's need to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates. Other partners include construction labor unions, six social service agencies and 30 construction and engineering companies. Over the course of an 11-week program, CONSTRUCT participants receive career guidance, life skills training and practical education. Students also participate in job shadowing to understand careers in construction and prepare for tests required of job applicants. To learn how to apply, call one of the partner agencies:
- ASPIRA Inc. of Illinois
- Austin Peoples Action Center (APAC)
- Chicago Urban League
- National Latino Education institute (NLEI)
773-247-0707, ext. 257
- YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
Chicago Public Schools
Peoples Gas supports the students, parents and teachers of the Chicago Public Schools through a variety of activities. Our engineers lead science clubs at 16 middle schools and are judges — along with other company employees — at the annual CPS Student Science Fair. Our Super Savers Energy Efficiency Education Program teaches kids how to save energy. We offer opportunities for our employees to volunteer at work as tutors for CPS students. And we support many area nonprofits providing services in the schools, from counseling to environmental education. Learn about some of those organizations and their initiatives in the CPS calendar for 2015-2016.
Commitment to Community Day
Peoples Gas' 19th Annual Commitment to Community Day is an extension of Rebuilding Together's Annual National Rebuilding Day, where volunteers across the country repair and restore houses and nonprofit facilities, refurbishing entire communities. This year, we joined forces with Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc. on the city's south side. With over 75 volunteers, our team helped refurbish the facility by working on indoor and outdoor activities including gardening, landscaping, painting and carpentry. The landscaping was improved by picking up trash, raking leaves and pulling up undergrowth in preparation for planting flowers. Mulch was evenly applied over the topsoil in the back and front of the facility. The inside of the building had walls erected; electrical outlets installed; a sink installed; door frame repair along with major carpentry work. All interior walls were painted giving the facility an entire new look.
Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc., one of the 10 largest human services organizations in Chicago, serves more than 12,000 people each year at 38 program sites. Its services include tutoring, mentoring and college placement for disadvantaged youth, foster care, residential, youth and family counseling. We were happy to improve the space for its patrons and staff.
Peoples Gas recently joined with ComEd and Nicor to create the Super Savers Program. It's a FREE education program to teach 5th-grade students ways to save energy and water. Students and their families learn how to save by installing energy-saving products. The products can help lower utility bills.
The program offers teacher education materials, lesson plans and activities for inside and outside the classroom. Each student also gets a guide workbook and Super Savers kit. Approximately 5,000 students in the Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas service areas participated in the program during the 2014-2015 school year.
Team H.E.A.T. (Home Energy Assistance Together)
Each fall, Peoples Gas employee volunteers weatherize homes of low and fixed income customers. The volunteers provide energy saving resources and tips that help customers reduce and better manage their bills. The company focuses on a different neighborhood throughout the city of Chicago each year before winter's chill seeps through the cracks of residents' homes.
Team H.E.A.T. volunteers install weather stripping around doors, caulk air leaks in the home and secure plastic sheeting around windows. Homeowners are also provided with energy efficiency and safety packages. This helps to educate residents that energy efficiency lowers their utility costs and helps the environment.
This year three of our executives, Michelle Rindt, vice president — customer service, Andy Hesselbach, vice president — construction and Lori Flores Rolfson — vice president, operations and maintenance, joined in on weatherizing customers' homes. Together, all the volunteers made a difference in the homes of those who are in need.
Energizing Student Potential Program (ESP)
The Energizing Student Potential Program (ESP) is an original partnership of six energy companies: the Exelon Foundation, ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas and BP America. These companies serve northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. ESP involves and inspires the future scientists and engineers of Illinois. In partnership with the National Energy Education Development project, ESP brings together standards-based classes for use in the classroom or afterschool programs for 5-8 graders.
ESP is available to both public and private schools. The program will help schools meet Next Generation Science Standards goals. It will also provide all the tools for students and teachers to learn, explore energy, and teach their local communities about energy.
The program will add 40 schools each year. In total, there will be 120 participating schools in year three. More than 6,000 students are expected to be involved in the program in the first year alone. An advisory committee of experts from the Adler Planetarium, Chicago Public Schools, Discovery Center Museum, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Morton Arboretum, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium and other organizations will help shape and guide the program.
Training Veterans for Natural Gas Careers
We are upgrading our natural gas system. Over the next 20 years, we will replace more than 40 percent of our system. We need skilled workers to complete the project. Military veterans are a good fit for natural gas careers. They have the skills, experience and work ethic to succeed.
The Gas Sector Utility Workers Training Program began in April 2012. The program helps veterans develop the technical skills needed to work in Illinois' natural gas industry. It is a $3.5 million multi-partner and union-backed training-to-placement program. The seven month program includes classroom instruction and in-the-field training.
Highlights from the program:
- Peoples Gas developed the program through collaboration with the City Colleges of Chicago, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) — Local 18007, the UWUA Power for America Training Trust Fund.
- The program is also affiliated with the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP). UMAP is a national training-to-placement model that assists veterans in transitioning their military occupational skills into career opportunities in the gas sector.
- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is a funding partner of the program.
- Graduates earn their Gas Utility Worker Advanced Certification at Dawson Technical Institute, a satellite site of Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.
For information on how to participate in this program, visit www.power4america.org.