Rockford plays a larger role than ever before in ComEd's quest for better service.
Starting next year the company's employees will be trained right here in our city.
Over the next decade Commonwealth Edison has a lot planned in terms of restructuring and rejuvenating how efficiently they operate.
However today was all about Rockford and how important our region will be in the bigger picture.
"This is a time of great change and significant investment at ComEd," said the president and CEO of ComEd.
That investment means 10 years, $2.6 billion in improvements and initiatives. It didn't take long after ground was broken, that ground was being moved in the first steps towards constructing the new training facility.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey supports the project and the co-dependent nature of ComEd to the communities it serves.
"We have a mutual interest in our shared prosperity. Frankly, if the City of Rockford and the communities around Rockford aren't growing, that means ComEd isn't growing," said Mayor Morrissey.
The facility will include a vast space designated for hands-on training in and out of the classroom.
Workers will be trained above and below ground to simulate the heights of utility poles and the depth of a man hole.
"We're going to have all that. It will be state of the art and we'll run about 300 hundred workers a year through this training facility," said Anne Pramaggiore.
ComEd CEO and President Anne Pramaggiore says a goal of 2,000 jobs is set for the next three to four years of their larger effort to renew the region's electricity infrastructure.
"Construction jobs, they will be ComEd hires adding to our workforce. Also contractors that work for us, we're using local labor here to build this training center. Those are some of the jobs that have been created."
The Rockford facility is slated to be ready by December. Another facility will be built in Chicago. That'll happen in 2014.