NAPERVILLE, Ill.–Dec.16, 2021 – The Nicor Gas Career Academy has graduated more than 120 students from its job-readiness program. The six-week free career development program is designed to prepare participants for entry-level work in the utility industry, with a focus on natural gas.
“We are immensely proud of those who have participated in the Nicor Gas Career Academy and look forward to seeing them thrive within the energy industry,” said John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “This unique program helps Nicor Gas fulfill our commitment to the communities we serve to safely and reliably deliver fuel now and well into the future.”
Nicor Gas, together with IBEW Local 19, the Quad County Urban League and NPL Construction Co., launched the program in 2018 to ensure the natural gas workforce is ready to build the future of energy. The program has grown to include INTREN, KS Energy Services and Pipe Strong. The sixth cohort of the Nicor Gas Career Academy just graduated 24 participants, marking its 100th milestone participant.
“It’s an honor to represent this cohort when I know where I came from... I never would have thought I would lead a group of people anywhere,” said Chris Kimbrough, who was selected as one of two participant speakers during the cohort’s virtual graduation ceremony. “We’re all connected through our experience and this program has helped prepare us for our personal lives and careers.”
The Nicor Gas Career Academy curriculum focuses on natural gas operations training, but also integrates core math concepts, safety, technology and employability skills, as well as personal and professional development. Participants receive 120 hours of professional-and employee-facilitated academy sessions that include classroom learning and field shadowing experiences in the Nicor Gas call center to understand the customer experience and with the resource management team to learn how field work is assigned and dispatched across the company’s 17,000-square-mile territory.
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. 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, which will begin recruiting for its 7th cohort in the spring, visit nicorgas.com/careeracademy.
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit nicorgas.com.
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at southerncompanygas.com.
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