Peoples Gas supports many organizations in the communities we serve. Here are just a few examples.
Commitment to Community Day
The 22nd annual Peoples Gas Commitment to Community Day focused on making much-needed repairs to Maria Shelter, a facility that provides food, shelter and programs to promote health and self-sufficiency for more than 200 women and children.
In addition to repairing the shelter, Peoples Gas employees organized a bedding drive before the event and donated more than 160 sets of new bedding for women and children staying at Maria Shelter. Then, on Saturday, April 27, volunteer teams tackled a variety of projects at the shelter, including painting walls and doors, cleaning the kitchen, assembling furniture and adding shelving, installing TVs, replacing damaged ceiling tiles and braving the spring snow to rake and landscape the grounds, among other tasks. Earlier in the week, several contractors donated electric and plumbing repairs and repaved the parking lot.
Volunteer work started months before event day, and employees put in extra time doing construction and making plumbing and electrical repairs. Major improvements to Maria Shelter would not have been possible without the employees who spent additional hours in the weeks before Commitment to Community Day to coordinate and complete those renovations.
In total, 199 employees, family members, friends and community partners rallied to support the cause.
Special Olympics Chicago
A team of 121 Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas employees, family and friends raised more than $75,000 for Special Olympics Chicago at the 2018 Chicago Polar Plunge on March 4. Peoples Gas is a proud sponsor of the Polar Plunge, an annual event at North Avenue Beach that supports year-round programs for more than 7,500 athletes involved in Special Olympics in the Chicago area.
Angel Tree program
Peoples Gas employees give generously of their time and their wallets. In the spirit of the holiday season, employees purchase and wrap holiday gifts for children and adults in need.
Among the many gifts purchased this year were Paw Patrol pajamas and a stuffed animal for 4-year-old James, a Barbie doll with rainbow hair and puzzles for 6-year-old Dominque, new Transformers for an 8-year-old, a new journal and pens for a 17-year old, a new bike for a child, and a comforter set for a mother and daughter. Employees also donated hundreds of dollars in gift cards for groceries and drug stores.
This year's partner agencies were:
Midnight Circus in the Parks
Peoples Gas is a proud sponsor of the Midnight Circus in the Parks tour. The tour showcases the Midnight Circus' whimsical assortment of acrobats, aerialists, clowns, dancers, contortionists and other acts at various parks in Chicago. Proceeds from the performances fund local park improvements.
Peoples Energy Training Center
On June 27, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas President and CEO Charles Matthews, Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Illinois Senator Martin Sandoval and other community leaders in celebrating the grand opening of Peoples Energy Training Center in the Little Village neighborhood. The state-of-the-art facility will provide annual training to more than 1,600 utility workers and fire officials across the region, while also supporting much-needed vocational programming to prepare Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students for future jobs in the natural gas and energy field. The new facility will be home to the Peoples Gas Utility Training program, a vocational training partnership with CPS. The program kicks off this summer and will prepare students from Dunbar Vocational, Fenger, Little Village, Lawndale and other area high schools for potential jobs as "Gas-Track" workers following graduation.
The Peoples Gas Utility Training program includes:
- A six-week summer internship for two cohorts of 15 to 20 juniors and/or seniors to experience the natural gas industry.
- Roughly five field trips to the training center and other experiential opportunities.
- After-school training courses for seniors to prepare for natural gas industry job opportunities.
The new 100,000-square-foot training center, located at 4228 W. 35th Place, features indoor and outdoor training areas, including a fully functioning natural gas delivery system with 20 structures for training in system maintenance, natural gas leak investigation, excavation and directional drilling. The campus also includes an area for fire prevention training with the Chicago Fire Department and an area for commercial driver's license training.
Construction of the facility was led by Ujamaa Construction Inc., a Chicago-based, minority-owned general contractor. Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas also worked with two regional engineering firms to design the center.
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. CONSTRUCT's nearly 50 other partners include construction labor unions, social service agencies and construction and engineering companies. Over the course of an 11-week program, CONSTRUCT participants receive career guidance, life skills training and practical education. Students can choose from two educational tracks: construction/skills trades or office/customer service. 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
- Quad County Urban League
- SER Jobs for Progressbr
- St. Sabina Employment Resource Center
- YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
312-372-6600 (Chicago) or 312-439-6229 (south suburbs)
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 2017-2018.
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.