Urban weatherization initiative aims to provide job training, improve homes

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(Photo courtesy of the New Communities program)

State Sen. Annazette R. Collins, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and representatives of U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis joined state and local elected officials and community partners March 2 to announce a program to improve energy efficiency in homes and provide job training grants.

“The Urban Weatherization Initiative is the best program around, which creates job training opportunities and provides a vital service to communities across the state,” said Collins in a press release.
“This is the future – going green. Gov. Quinn should be applauded for his creativity and passion to create jobs,” she said.
Nearly $3.4 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding was awarded to 10 organizations statewide to train nearly 700 weatherization specialists across the state as part of the second phase of the Urban Weatherization Initiative.
This is the nation’s first state-funded weatherization program and one of the largest job creation initiatives to date for urban communities in Illinois, according to the release.

“I am pleased to announce that the North Lawndale Employment Network is a grantee.  They are a flagship, top-notch organization providing the best job training services available,” Collins said in the release.

Trainees will receive the skills they need to become weatherization specialists, including repairing/replacing inefficient heating or cooling units and also water filters, addressing air infiltration issues, and installing pipe and duct insulation.

The North Lawndale Employment Network will be recruiting trainees through April, according to Ron Tonn, the organization’s chief program officer.

He said they have contracted with three groups – Fathers Who Care, Etiquette Foundation and Utilivate – to help with training and possibly hire or assist program graduates with job placement.

Tonn said applicants interested in the eight-week training program should have a high school diploma and completed up to 10th grade math; it’s also helpful if they have a background in construction or home renovation.

The North Lawndale Employment Network has divided the training program into two phases and will recruit about 56 trainees combined. A date has not yet been announced for home repairs to begin, but Tonn said he expects it will be in the middle of the summer.

Those interested in applying for the training program should contact Felicia Griffin at the North Lawndale Employment Network, 773-265-7945.

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